How to Care for Epiphyllum Oxypetalum


Epiphyllum oxypetalum (also known as Dutchman's pipe cactus, queen of the night and night-blooming cereus) is a large epiphytic cactus native to Mexico and Brazil. Epiphyllum oxypetalum reaches 20 feet in height. The dark green branches reach 3 feet long. This cactus lacks true leaves; its leaf-like growth is really flattened stems. Its showy blooms appear in late spring or early summer, and its white flowers are 11 inches long and 5 inches wide. This fragrant, nocturnal bloom opens in the late evening and closes again at sunrise. Epiphyllum oxypetalum is commonly grown as a houseplant.

Step 1

Plant your Epiphyllum oxypetalum in moist, well-draining soil. Mix two parts peat moss, one part sand and one part pine bark.

Step 2

Place your cactus in a site with full sunlight to partial shade exposure. The site should not be an area where temperatures fall below 35 degrees F.

Step 3

Water Epiphyllum oxypetalum daily or whenever the surface is dry. Reduce the amount of water given in the winter. Do not let the soil dry out all the way.

Step 4

Feed every month with a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength. Do not fertilize the Epiphyllum oxypetalum during its inactive period during the winter.

Step 5

Stake or tie the vines to a small lattice. This provides the support the cactus branches need to grow upright.

Step 6

Repot Epiphyllum oxypetalum every two years to keep the cactus healthy. This plant likes crowded roots. Re-pot to replace the soil nutrients, improve water drainage and add air to its roots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Epiphyllum oxypetalum are targets for mealy bugs which look like tiny white puffs of cotton. Wipe the mealy bugs off with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Things You'll Need

  • Epiphyllum oxypetalum
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Pine bark
  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Stake
  • Ties
  • Plant pot


  • University of Oklahoma Department of Botany & Microbiology: Epiphyllum oxypetalum
  • Washington & Jefferson College: Epiphyllum Oxypetalum
  • Aggie Horticulture: Cactaceae---Cactus Family
Keywords: Epiphyllum oxypetalum care, Dutchman's pipe cactus, epiphytic cactus

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.