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Friday, September 14, 2012


NIGHT BLOOMING CEREUS

 Seven years ago I joined an online group called the Epi Forum. This is a group of people who like Orchid cactus (Epiphyllum). Through a trade I received a plant called a Night Blooming Cereus. I had heard of this wonderful plant and was happy to get a start. I had read that the buds only bloom for one night and die the next day. It sounded mysterious and fascinating to this plant loving lady! When it came in the mail it was one just one pad so I stuck it in a pot of dirt. And waited.....it didn't die.


 It didn't grow very fast at first but before long it began developing new pads. I had to treat it for some kind of cottony bug things but it snapped out of it and continued to grow. I wondered how soon it would have flowers.


Each year I put it out on the back deck along with all my Orchid cactus. They all thrived in the fresh air and a little sun. New branches grew. After four years the Cereus was beginning to look rather ugly. Well actually it looked very ugly. Some of the stems grew over four feet long, whipped around like a giant rat tail and turned a brownish color. They looked like dead sticks. I was disappointed but determined the thing was going to bloom for me someday so I kept watering and fertilizing, packing it into my little cottage in the fall and back out to the back deck in the late spring, and it's heavy!  Six years and no flowers. I thought about dumping this dud into the compost but something told me to 'hang in there.' See her above at 7 years old taking over the window. Show off!

 One day about a month ago while I was watering I noticed some little red bumps beginning to develop along the sides of a couple of those ugly dead stick like branches. I wondered.... could it be? YES! YES! YES!!!!! She has buds. 14 of them!  I watched them so carefully you would think they were my babies. In a way, they were. Then the nights turned cold as they do here in the Pacific Northwest come fall, and I had to bring all the plants in. Unfortunately the shock made 13 of the little buds drop off. I was so disappointed I gathered them up as they fell and considered a funeral. My heart was so heavy! One bud clung tight to the ugly mama and grew. I really wanted so much to see what it would look like when it bloomed, if it did.

 It seems like it took ages for it to get this size and a few days before I took this picture it looked like it was going to drop off too so I sort of gave up for a few minutes but then I decided to do what I always do when there is nothing else to do, I prayed that the Lord would let it bloom for me, and he did. As you can see by my clock, I took the picture above ad 9:29 pm when I noticed that the petals were beginning to separate. I figured since it had been so slow getting a bud and growing it that it might take a few days or even a week before it bloomed so I watched some TV. Then out of curiosityy I peeked in again and I was sure surprised to see this! God must have shook His finger at that bud because it sure opened fast!
Notice the times and date on the pictures.

September 13, 10:21 PM
 In fact I was so excited I was giddy and forgot to use my macro lens correctly. Thank goodness I still got several pictures of this rare beauty. The blossom was big and had a mildly sweet fragrance.

 September 13 10:21 pm


 September 14 9:17 am
Dying but still beautiful


September 14 5:53pm
Done

I wonder if it will bloom next year and how many flowers it might have, I know that none will ever be a beautiful or special as this first one.

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