My husband, Pete, has a fascination with tropical plants. We have a whole room of plants that would seem more at home in a jungle. Unlike most things, Pete and I differ in the kind of plants we like: Pete is the jungle guy with great huge vines and plants with vibrant flowers. I much prefer delicate plants such as ferns, which my cats love to chew on. So the number of plants I can have is limited by the space that I can find that isn’t within the range of my cats. Are the cats interested in Pete’s plants? Of course not!
One of the plants that Pete has had forever is a night blooming cereus (Epiphyllum genus). The plant is sometimes called the Queen of the Night. It grows in southern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona, western Texas and parts of Mexico and his came from Belize. Pete had given one to his mom, Jo, many years ago. I remember when it had its first flower bud, she stayed up all night to wait to see the flowers, which tend to open at night. Jo called that morning to say that when it bloomed, the flower filled her entire house with its scent. So I was excited when Pete brought one home.
Now the plant isn’t all that much to look at, at least in my opinion. When I look at ours, I’m reminded of a Christmas cactus on steroids. Lots of steroids. It has these long branches that don’t just hang down, they sort of stick out. You can see a picture of our “lovely” plant above. But I was willing to put up with the crazy plant because it would have a beautiful flower that filled the whole house with its scent. And apparently, many of our friends wanted – and took – cuttings.
Well, years went by and nothing much happened with the plant except that it got more out of control. And no flower appeared. Ever. But finally, this year, it decided to bloom. We had three buds that we anxiously watched each night to see if they were getting ready to open. When one finally opened, the flower was amazing to see. But although it smelled nice, the scent wasn’t all that strong. Pete said that the plant his mom had was a different species so that would explain why the flower wasn’t as fragrant. But the flowers were so beautiful to look at and very intricate. They sort of reminded me of a passion flower. You can see them to the left and below.
Until next time!