Magical Night Update: A Special Bloom Event

A magical night at May Dreams Gardens. The night blooming cereus, Epiphyllum oxypetalum, bloomed, going from a bud to a fully open flower in just a few hours.

7:00 p.m.





8:00 p.m.




8:30 p.m.

9:00 p.m.

9:21 p.m.

9:31 p.m.

9:41 p.m.

9:43 p.m.

10:05 p.m.

10:23 p.m.

Holding it in my hand to show the overall size of the flower.

Some questions and answers about the Queen of the Night, the night-bloomer.

Does it have a scent? Yes, the scent is fairly strong, especially indoors. It is an earthy, sweet, slightly pungent scent. It isn't unpleasant, but it is strong and after awhile it would give me a headache if I stayed in the sunroom with it.

Can you actually see it open? It opens relatively quickly and I suppose if you stood there at the right time, for long enough, you would see some movement. I think you can see a noticeable difference between 9:41 and 9:43 in the pictures above, which should give you an idea of how quickly it does open, once it starts to open.

Where did you get your night blooming cereus? It was my Dad's and after he passed away, I took possession of it. I have now had it for 20 years, and he probably had it for 10 years before that. He grew it from a cutting off a plant owned by a couple who played bridge with my parents. I don't know where they got their plant.

How long does the flower last? Just one night. By morning, the flower will be hanging limp and wilted.

Enjoy, and good night!

Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

Comments

  1. Carol, how exquisite! Thanks so for sharing something so special.

    I love plants with history. I have Trillium that I transplanted 21 years ago from a friend's woods, shortly after my parents had died. I always watch for those first gorgeous blooms. What a sweet beginning of spring! This has special significance to me.

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  2. Woo hoooooo! That is exquisite, Carol! And I love the history behind your plant.

    I took a series of photos a couple of years ago of my passion flower blooming. It does it very quickly, you can almost watch it move.

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  3. Beautiful! And the personal history makes the flowering so much more significant.

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  4. Carol - in trouble again! Next time it blooms, call us and we'll come over and watch with you - what a great educational experience for the niece and nephews! Sophie will be sooo disappointed to have missed this once a year event!

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  5. Wow! what a great flower. It didn't disappoint. Glad you kept an eye on it and chronicled the opening - it happened so quickly. Interesting long style sticking out of the flower.

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  6. Thank you for the play by play! I've never stuck around work to see ours open and only seen the before and wilted afters. I didn't really realize I was missing so much!

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  7. This really is amazing, Carol. It's wonderful that you were able to document it all in photos.

    I wonder what purpose a single night's bloom serves in nature?

    --Robin (Bumblebee)

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  8. Congrats! Isn't nature amazing?
    Such a beauty! Definitely worth the wait.

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  9. I've been reading on Google Reader, waiting patiently for it to open and wa-la! Love it! I have a cute smaller purple blooming cactus but I'm not sure what kind it is other than it blooms at night as well. :)

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  10. How thrilling, Carol. Thanks for letting us be a witness to the magical night at May Dreams Gardens. It's all the more touching to know that this beautiful flower was passed down to you.

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  11. I'm glad you showed the scale by using your hand--I didn't realize it was so big. I've read that people actually had parties to watch them open. You had a virtual party!

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  12. That's just beautiful, Carol. It kind of reminds me of a fancy moonflower, which opens quickly after sunset too. Thanks for sharing the play-by-play.

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  13. Wow, that's incredible. I feel like I just took part in a very private moment. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. As another poster said, thanks also for showing the scale of the photo with your hand. Now I understand why you were so excited to see a bud and so looking forward to seeing it bloom!

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  14. WOW! Thirty years to bloom? I just got a cutting this year. Let's see, that means I'll be 80 when it blooms.

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  15. That's so amazing, Carol -- I love the time-lapse series of photos! It's a gorgeous bloom, even if it's fleeting.

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  16. Wow Carol, that was amazing! I've never seen nor heard of such a flower! It really must have been a magical night, thanks for sharing the photos!

    Best wishes from Germany,
    Anita

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  17. It really opens fast once it gets going. Were you tempted to stay up all night just staring at your special flower or were you relieved that it opened early enough so you could still get a good nights sleep?

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  18. Just lovely! Does it blossom every year for you? Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. That is incredible! Thanks for sharing.

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  20. What an event...and how nice it bloomed in time for you to get some sleep, too. :-)

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  21. I agree with Dell, a plant with a history is a wonderful thing. Most of my houseplants are old and most have stories. It creates a living connection with the past...now that I plan to start saving seeds, I can see that happening more and more in the garden too.

    These are such beautiful flowers. I photographed some for my uncle a few years ago...he has two plants.

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  22. What Kathy said.... it's huge!
    Two years in a row seems to indicate the intervals are decreasing, Carol. I hope you get another opening when the young-uns can be there to witness it.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  23. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with us and for all the pictures!

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  24. Incredible Carol. I've never seen one of these plants in real life but its flowering habit and beauty has certainly captured me. Great photo log.

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  25. All.. Thank you for the nice comments and I am plased how many "virtually enjoyed" this flower blooming.
    OldRoses... this plant bloomed when my dad had it and this is about the 5th time it has bloomed for me. The trick is to keep it pot bound. I'm sure yours will bloom before 30 years!
    Sister with the Homestead... I would have called but thought that like last year when I invited you all to come over and see it, you would say it was too late!
    All... Now that this is blooming, I think as long as I keep it in the pot it is in, it will continue to bloom once each year.

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

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  26. OMG! That is so cool watching the flower open. I have never seen a flower like it before. Thanks for the great photos and the time line.

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  27. That is awesome!!! It kind of reminds me of the plant in the movie 'Little Shop of Horror's'....Feed me Seymore!! ;)

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  28. Yikes! I think my neighbor has this--I will have to ask him if it has bloomed yet.

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  29. Gorgeous, thanks for capturing it in such wonderful intervals so we could scroll through like one of those old flip books. I agree, it reminds me of a moonflower, which unspirals at night and closes up tight with the morning.

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  30. WOW! That is something worth sharing! Thanks!

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  31. An amazing photo shoot! Thanks for sharing. Love your profile photo, Carol ...

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  32. wow. That's an impressive flower. It must do something to attract night-flying insects. Suppose the scent draws them in?

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  33. What a magical event! The flower is quite big and beautiful. Thanks for sharing the lovely pics!

    BTW what a wonderful inheritance from your dad, this plant. That must make it very special to you.

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  34. That is a big bloom, If it lasts just one night It makes up for it.

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  35. Wow...that is positively BEAUTIFUL! I want to collect lots of night-blooming plants, so I really appreciate you sharing this!

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  36. WOW!!!! Unbelievable.. The timer on the photo is priceless on this one..

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  37. Thanks for the photo journey! It's SO COOL to see it open like that. Too bad it only lasts one night.

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  38. What a great thing that you were able to share such a special event with all of us...blogs are wonderful! Your Dad would be proud. (and rightly so!)

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  39. That is one of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. Truly spectacular! Thanks for sharing!

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  40. Wow, wow, and wow! This so reminds me of my mother staying up half the night when we lived in Florida just so she could watch the cereus bloom. Thanks for the memories, and some great photos!

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  41. What a great, great thing for you to do, Carol. I loved charting the progress through the photos. An utter wonder. The first time I ever heard about this plant was in a book called The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman. What an exciting thing. Thank you so much for sharing it!!

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  42. Hiya Carol,

    That is a lovely experience: the anticipation and at the end this spectacular result. Worth throwing a party for.

    Always just the one single flower?

    I am glad you pointed us to this post today.

    joco.

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  43. I have this plant as well and I think it is very special because anyone who has it has a story behind it. Since the plant is rarely bought at the store, anyone who has it got the cuttings from a friend or relative. I got my cutting from my dearest Uncle in California. My cereus bloomed couple of weeks ago and all 10 flower buds opened at the same time. It's breathtaking.

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  44. Hi Carol!
    I really enjoyed going through this post, and just looking at your other posts as well. I found this as a google search in looking for more information on a plant that I got when my grandmother passed away. It is the same type of plant in this post. The poor plant has been neglected for at least 5-7 years and I was very surprised to find that it was still alive. Do you have any tips for taking care of this plant? I hope to bring it back to it's glory and see it bloom again.

    Jamie

    jamielovesmusic@gmail.com

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  45. Oh my! Such a beauty! I think we had ours for almost ten years now-we have several of these plants, one of them bloomed just ONCE, about 2 or 3 years ago. We did not even get to watch it bloom. We did not know the nature of its blooming, and when we checked it out in the morning, it is dead. Last year, we were rewarded again when an unexpected change of weather turned our summers cooler. (Here in the Philippines, it simply thrives but I think they fare better when the weather turns a bit cool) I was not rewarded with one, but three blooms! They are the most wonderful big blooms I ever saw-or smelled. They smell a bit of roses and vanilla with some spice, like ginger. Must be experienced to describe the scent!

    Thank you for maintaining this blog and thank you for sharing your experiences in the garden. I'm not much of a gardener, but I do love plants, and I hope to be successful in gardening as my mother.

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