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How to Care for Epiphyllum Oxypetalum

By Karen Carter ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

 

Things You Will Need

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

Tip

  • Propagate Epiphyllum oxypetalum with stem cuttings. This cactus rarely produces seeds. Allow the cut stem to dry for a week in a cool, dry area. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant in loose soil. Do not water for 2 to 3 weeks, which forces the roots to grow.

Warning

  • 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.

About the Author

 

Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems.