How to Grow Selenicereus — Queen of the Night

Half open queen of the night, Selenicereus grandiflorus
Half open queen of the night, Selenicereus grandiflorus

Selenicereus–commonly called Queen of the Night–are climbing cacti know for their large white night blossoms. Selenicereus have vine-like, spineless stems and produce super size flowers 12 inches long and 8 inches wide. The blossoms open after midnight and are usually limp and faded the following morning.

Selenicereus are epiphytes. They have slender sprouts that branch out and air roots that take moisture and nutrients from the air. Selenicereus have short spines, and sometimes no spines at all, and low ribs. The stems grow to 15 feet long.

Selenicereus is sometimes called moon cactus. It is native to tropical Central and South America.

Get to Know Selenicereus

  • Plant type: Cactus, climbing, vinelike
  • Hardiness temperature: 40℉ (4.4℃)
  • Shape and size: Dull green, almost spineless stems produce a vinelike growth to 15 feet long
  • Flowers: Super-sized, white flowers are 12 inches long and 8 inches across; they open at night are fade away by the morning
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Common name: Queen of the night, moon cactus
  • Genus name: Selenicereus
  • Family name: Cactaceae
  • Origin: Tropical Central and South America
Cactus queen of the night. Night-blooming Selenicereus grandiflorus
Cactus queen of the night. Night-blooming Selenicereus grandiflorus

Planting Selenicereus

  • Grow Selenicereus in humus-rich, well-drained soil.
  • A soil that is a mix of peat, loam, sand, perlite and ground charcoal is best.
  • Grow Selenicereus in half shade, not in full sun.

How to Water and Feed Selenicereus

  • Keep Selenicereus well-watered during the summer growing season; keep the soil moist.
  • Selenicereus wants relatively dry soil in the winter.
  • Feeder Selenicereus with a cactus fertilizer during the growing season.

Selenicereus Care

  • Selenicereus needs a strong support to grow on; a trellis or posts or fence.
  • Keep Selenicereus at about 50℉ (10℃) during the winter; this will promote blooming the next summer.
  • Propagate Selenicereus by seed or cuttings.

Selenicereus Species to Grow

  • Selenicerus grandiflorus (queen of the night). Slender sprouted epiphyte; yellow flowers up to 12 inches long and 8 inches wide open for only one night; blossoms are vanillar scented.
  • S. macdonaldae (queen of night). Yellowish white flowers to 12 inches long grow from 5-angled stems.
  • S. pteranthus (princess of the night). Flowers smaller than queen of the night (S. macdonaldiae) with no scent but just as pretty.

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