How to Propagate Epiphyllum Oxypetalum

Overview

Epiphyllum oxypetalum is the scientific name for an unusual cactus that is more commonly known by easier-to-pronounce names such as 'night blooming cereus' or 'queen of the night' because the blooms appear in the evening and are wilted by the next day. Although the epiphyllum oxypetalum's flat, sword-shaped leaves may not be anything to write home about, the blooms can sometimes cover the entire plant and are spectacular. This unusual cactus is easy to start from a cutting in early spring, when the Epiphyllum Oxypetalum is coming out of its dormant period.

Step 1

Use a clean knife with a sharp blade, and cut a 4 to 6-inch cutting from a epiphyllum oxypetalum. Make the cut at an angle, which will remind you which end of the cutting should be planted, and which end should be left above the soil.

Step 2

Put the epiphyllum oxypetalum cutting in a warm, dry place until the cut edge forms a callus.This can take up to two weeks, depending on the size of the cut surface. Don't worry if the cutting looks a bit shriveled, because it will re-hydrate once it's planted. Cacti are susceptible to rot, and this important step will minimize the chances of that.

Step 3

Fill a small planting container with commercial cactus potting mixture. Any planting container with drainage holes in the bottom will work.

Step 4

Dampen the potting mixture lightly with a spray bottle, and plant the epiphyllum oxypetalum cutting. Tamp the potting mix around the cutting to remove air bubbles. The cutting can be planted up to half of its length. If the cutting is long, put a stake in the potting mixture and tie the cutting loosely to the stake with soft twine or a strip of soft fabric.

Step 5

Put the epiphyllum oxypetalum cutting in a warm room. Although the cutting will root in cooler temperatures, it will root quickly in temperatures of at least 80 degrees F. The cutting should be in bright light, but don't put it in a window, or anywhere that it will be in hot, direct sunlight.

Step 6

Resist the temptation to water the epiphyllum oxypetalum cutting until the soil is bone dry. This can take a few days, or up to several weeks, depending on the heat in the room, the time of year, the size of the pot and the humidity in the air. Water the plant sparingly, just enough to moisten the soil.

Step 7

Feed the epiphyllum oxypetalum a monthly dose of all-purpose water soluble fertilizer during the growing season. Withhold fertilizer in fall and winter.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean, sharp knife
  • Planting container with drainage hole
  • Cactus potting mixture
  • Spray bottle
  • Stake (optional)
  • Soft twine or strips of fabric (optional)
  • All-purpose water-soluble fertilizer

References

  • GrowingGuides.com: Night-blooming Cereus, Queen of the Night, Dutchman's Pipe Cactus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)
  • Washington and Jefferson College: Epiphyllum oxypetalum Queen of the Night or Night-Blooming Cereus
  • Stokes Tropicals: Epiphyllum oxypetalum 'Night Blooming Cereus'
Keywords: epiphyllum oxypetalum, night blooming cereus, queen of the night

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.