The Night-Blooming Cereus

The most popular of the vine-like cactuses are actually several quite distinct plants. They are all commonly known as “night-blooming cereus.” Two genera are confused under this name—Cereus and Phyllocactus. They make long, straggly stems, which may be trained up along the window cases or over trellises.

The stems of Cereus have three to six angles, while Phyllocactus stems are flat, the ends looking like long, fleshy oak leaves. All the cereus and night-blooming phyllocactus have large white flowers. They expand just after sundown, and remain open until the sun shines upon them the following morning, when they collapse.

These plants need a richer soil than ordinary cactus. Give them a fibrous compost, and mix some gravel with it to ensure good drainage.

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