Epiphyllum oxypetalum Queen of the night

Epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’

Epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ is also commonly known as the Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus. The Epiphyllum oxypetalum is native to South America and primarily Southern Mexico. Its cultivation has spread worldwide especially in tropical climates and can be found in southeast Asia and China.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum is known as the Queen of the Night because it only flowers at night and the blooms wilt and die before dawn. The flower also rarely blooms. The epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ is sometimes confused with Night Blooming Cereus but it isn’t part of the group. Although the Queen of the night flowers at night just like all the other species of the night-blooming cereus, it is not related to them.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ Description

Epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ is an epiphytic cactus that can grow up to 6 meters tall. The cactus produces cylindrical stems with dark green branches that resemble leaves. The stems can either be erect or semi-erect, scandent and are highly branched.

Although the cactus is epiphytic, it only uses other plants for support but not as a nutritional source so it’s not parasitic.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum Care

Epiphyllum oxypetalum care is important for this fast-growing cactus. The Queen of the night does well in bright but indirect light for at least six hours of the day. The cactus doesn’t thrive in direct sunlight.

The Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus also does well in temperatures between 500F to 900F. It can, however, tolerate temperatures below 1000F but above 400F anything lower or higher than this range, the plant should be brought indoors for shelter.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ does well in USDA growing zones 10 and 11.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum care also involves selecting soil that is slightly acidic. The soil mixture can incorporate pine bark, sand, and peat moss in the ratio of 1:1:2. Just like most other cactus soil, the mixture should be well-draining.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ Watering

Epiphyllum oxypetalum watering should be done regularly during summer months. During the fast-growing months between Spring and Fall, you can water the cactus every two weeks. Just like most other cactus deep watering is recommended.

Allow the top inch of the soil to dry in between watering. Water deeply until the water drains from the bottom of the pot.

Reduce the amount of watering during winter months. It’s also important to note that overwatering causes the roots of the cactus to rot.

When the temperatures are higher than optimal, it is recommended to increase humidity using a humidity tray or placing a water container near the plant. The preferred humidity level for the Queen of the Night is 50%.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum Propagation

Epiphyllum oxypetalum propagation is best done using cuttings. The best propagation season is between Spring and Summer. The cuttings should be prepared after the flowering season is over approximately two to three weeks after.

The cuttings should be about 6 inches long from healthy stems. The ends should be allowed to callous and become thickened and hard. Make sure to identify which ends should be buried in the soil when cutting.

Use potting soil mixture and wet it before placing the cutting in the mixture. Place the established cuttings in a location where they will receive bright light but not direct sunlight. Allow the mixture to become dry before watering so as to avoid overwatering.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum Diseases and Pests

Epiphyllum oxypetalum diseases and pests include black lot or fungal leaf spot. The symptoms of the disease include brown and black spots on the leaves. The disease is controlled with fungicides.

The Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus can also be attacked by mealybugs, mites, aphids, and slugs. Some of the pests such as mites and mealybugs can be controlled by applying a strong stream of water. However, it’s advisable to cover the plants base to avoid waterlogging the soil.

Sticky traps can also be used to trap and control gnats. Insecticides are the most effective way of controlling pests and preventing them from damaging the cactus.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ Repotting

Epiphyllum oxypetalum ‘Queen of the Night’ repotting should be done rarely. The cactus should be repotted during Spring when it is experiencing fast growth. It is important to note that repotting will often delay the blooming period.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum Fruit

Epiphyllum oxypetalum fruit is formed when the flowers mature. The flowers are large, white in color and funnel-shaped. The flowers only bloom for one single night and can be tricky to catch when they bloom. The blooms are also heavily fragrant.

The small fruits are about 4 inches long. They are oblong shaped and are purplish-red in color.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum Seeds

Epiphyllum oxypetalum seeds can be used for propagation. Propagation using Epiphyllum oxypetalum seeds should be done during Spring and Summer. However, the seeds have a low rate of germination and are often not the ideal method of propagation.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum not Blooming

Epiphyllum oxypetalum not blooming can be caused by excess nitrogen in the soil. Excess nitrogen causes the stems and leaves to grow excessively while the number of blooms is reduced.

If the soil is depleted it can also cause the Queen of the Night not to bloom. The soil can be replenished by using organic matter or fertilizer. It is advisable to apply the fertilizer in Spring and Fall only once per month. Fertilizer application should be avoided during late Fall and Winter.

Providing the ‘Queen of the Night’ with cool nighttime temperatures during Winter which can be done indoors encourages bud formation.

Avoid placing the Dutchman’s Pipe Cactus in direct sun because the flattened stems get sunburned Sunburned stems produce brown spots and eventually dry up. 

Epiphyllum oxypetalum Medicinal Uses

Epiphyllum oxypetalum medicinal uses include its traditional use in treating bloody phlegm and coughs. It is also used in the treatment of shortness of breath and uterine bleeding. The medicine made from the cactus contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.

Queen of the Night flower medicine is made from the plant’s flowers and stems. The flowers are harvested and air-dried by placing them in well-ventilated rooms. Although the flowers are only available during the flowering months, the stems are harvested throughout the year. The stems don’t require to be dried; they are often used fresh.

The flower is used for the oral application while the stem is used for external application. It’s advisable to do more research before using the Queen of the Night medicine for cough-suppressing or as a sedative for insomnia. Just like with all other forms of medication there is the acceptable dosage as well as side effects.

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  1. This is a wonderful plant, and yes, I was raised believing it was Night Blooming Cereus. You say it is a different plant, and I suspect it is. I know there are many different cacti with very similar flower structure which are sold as Night Blooming Cereus. Believing it to be cactus grandiflorus, I have used ours in a cardiotonic, which was effective but it did contain other medicinal herbs that are helpful for angina so who knows. You yourself put the link on dosage to Cereus, It’s really hard to know how to verify. I’m really glad you wrote this. Who did you rely on for your source?

    1. Hi Susan,

      Gland you found the article useful. The cactus grandiflorus or the night-blooming cactus has similarities to the epiphyllum oxypetalum or Queen of the night which makes some people confuse one for the other. As an example, the two plants only flower at night and also have similar looking blooms.
      As for medicinal uses both of them have been used traditionally in the treatment and management of several illnesses. The night-blooming cereus is more widely known and most of the information on dosages and use is related to this plant. Thank you for pointing out the wrong link, I must have inserted the wrong one when editing. I have since then updated it to the correct one that shows queen of the night epiphyllum oxypetalum medicinal uses.

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