Saturday, October 8, 2011

This is cereus ...

About 10 years ago, my friend Janet gave me a leaf cutting of a Night-Blooming Cereus (Hylocereus undatus)and have since nursed that plant through freeze and drought. It never bloomed. Then, just as I was leaving for France, the darn thing set two flower buds. I was sure I would miss the "one night only" show of blossoms.

But, that sweet plant waited for my return, and shared two blooms the night I arrived home from Paris. Thankfully, jet lag woke me at 3:00 a.m., and I rushed out on the patio with flashlight and camera in hand to witness the most beautiful blossoms.

Once fully opened, the exquisitely scented flowers expanded to about 8" across. Amazing!

By 7:00 a.m., the petals began to withdraw at the show's conclusion. How wonderful it was to witness something so special.

For one midsummer's night each year, the stunning blossoms open as night falls, then close forever with the first rays of the morning sun. This member of the desert-loving cactus family will follow the bloom with a red-orange, short-spined elliptical fruit about 3 inches long.

Granted, they're not much to look at when not blooming. Cereus is a vigorous grower with the gangly stems that make it somewhat awkward in the interior landscape. So, I keep mine out in a protected, shaded area with filtered light on the patio. It only comes indoors when temperatures drop to freezing.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic!!!! It's as if Miss Cereus knew your schedule. Thanks for sharing. MAT

Sylvie Vicenza said...

How wonderful to see and read your article. I had this plant 14 years ago and kept it until I moved to Europe 5 years ago. I would give anything to have a cutting. I know that I was not allowed to bring any plant material (and I regret!) ;)

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