Selenicereus grandiflorus (synonyms are Cereus jalapaensis Vaupel, Cereus paradisiacus Vaupel, Selenicereus pteranthus, Selenicereus callianthus, Cereus roseanus Vaupel and Cereus hallensis Weing. ex Borg) is a type of cactus that grows in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. People often call this species queen of the night, night-blooming cereus, large-flowered cactus, sweet-smelling cactus, or vanilla cactus. These names are also used for other species.
Most of the plants with this name are actually hybrids or other species. People often mix it up with plants in the genus Epiphyllum.
Grandiflorus comes from the Latin word for “big flowers.” In 1753, when Carl von Linné wrote about this cactus, it was the only known species of cactus with the largest flowers. In a strange way, its flowers are not as big as those of some other Selenicereus species. The species was grown at the Royal Gardens at Hampton Court before 1700, according to Hortus Kewensis. There was some question about which plant Linné could see when he wrote his description.
D. R. Hunt (1989) talked about problems with the typification of Selenicereus grandiflorus and suggested that the dozen or more species in the section Selenicereus probably represent no more than three or four species, such as S. grandiflorus, S. pteranthus (Link & Otto) Britton & Rose, and S. hamatus (Scheidweiler) Britton & Rose.
Myron Kimnach (personal communication) said that S. coniflorus should be treated as a synonym or a variety of S. grandiflorus. As Hunt said, there is a lot of work to be done on this group of taxa. Until these questions are answered, it seems best not to call different kinds of S. grandiflorus by their names.
|Water requirements:||Average water needs, water regularly, do not overwater, Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings|
|Sun exposure:||Sun to partial shade|
|Height:||30-40 ft. (9-12 m)|
|Spacing:||12-15 in. (30-38 cm); 15-18 in. (38-45 cm); |
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
|USDA Zone 10a:||to -1.1 °C (30 °F)|
|USDA Zone 10b:||to 1.7 °C (35 °F)|
|USDA Zone 11:||above 4.5 °C (40 °F)|
|Bloom color:||Pale yellow, white/near white, cream/tan|
|Soil pH requirements:||6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic); |
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral);
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
|Propagation methods:||From woody stem cuttings. Allow cut surface to callous over before planting. |
From seed. Direct sow after last frost
|Seed collecting:||Allow fruit to ripen. Clean and dry seeds. Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed. Clean and dry seeds. Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored|
It is native to the Greater Antilles (Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti), Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and a few other places in South and Central America. At 700 meters above sea level, they were climbing up trees and rocks. Extremely variable, especially in Jamaica, where the same plant can have stems with edges that range from slightly wavy to very knobby. A lot of confusion in farming. Many Selenicereus species should be thought of as synonyms for subspecies of this species, since they only differ in degree, not in kind.
An easy-to-grow epiphyte or lithophyte that grows quickly. Needs a compost with a lot of humus and enough water in the summer. In the winter, it shouldn’t be kept below 5 °C (41 °F). Do best when they are grown in full sun. Extra light in early spring will make plants grow leaves. Flowers in late spring or early summer. Blooms only one night a year for a few years.
Stems are thin, clinging or sprawling, branching and sometimes tangled, stiff, up to 10 m long or more, and 15–25 mm thick, ribs are 4–10 mm wide, low, less so on older branches, spaced by wide, round intervals, slightly wavy to strongly knobby, areoles are small and woolly white or grayish white. Internodes are 6–12–20 mm long.
In cultivation in Europe, the woolly buds appear between April and May, and the flowers open June to August, preferably on a warm thundery or at least rainy night. The fragrant flowers are up to 30 centimeters long and reach the same diameter.
There are 5–18 spines that are 4.5–12 mm long and 0.25 mm in diameter at the base. The spines are acicular, elliptic, or circular in cross section and spread out from the base. As the plant gets older, the spines become shorter and less numerous. The epidermis is glaucous green or bluish green. People say that the flowers are 17–22.5 cm long and as wide as 15 inches (38 cm). Smells like vanilla.
The outer petals are yellow to brownish and narrow, the inner ones are white and broader. While the flowers of S. donkelaari open with small, visible jerks, the flowers of S. grandiflorus do so in a continuous, slow movement. This takes about one to two hours.
The Queen of the Night tree has small, unique fruits. The fruit is round and 5–9 cm long and 4.5–7 cm thick. The outside of the fruit is burgundy, but it turns red. The fruit is also covered with hair-like spines, which can be brushed off when the fruit is ready to be picked. The fruit’s white flesh is firm and has small seeds that are crunchy. When picked early, the fruit has a pleasant taste with a tangy aftertaste.
This cactus does not support the temperatures below 5 °C. This epiphyte plant needs a compost containing sufficient humus whose humidity is maintained in summer. It prefers the sun.
In the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the species is listed as Least Concern (LC), i.e., not endangered.
The Flowering Time
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is most popular for its sweet-smelling flowers. Most of the time, the succulent plant doesn’t start to flower until it has been around for four or five years. The plant may only have one or two flowers when it first blooms, but as it grows older, it may produce more flowers.
Pitaya has flowers that are white with a yellowish-green center. The flower has many petals and can grow up to 17 inches across. It smells sweet, strong, and enticing. Most of the time, flowers bloom from late spring to early summer.
The most interesting thing about the Selenicereus Grandiflorus is that its flowers only open at night and stay open all night. As soon as the sun starts to rise in the morning, the flowers on the plant start to die.
What do you need to know
If you want a dragon fruit plant, it’s important to keep in mind a number of things that we’ll talk about below. This is a cactus that, because of where it comes from, can’t handle frost unless it’s very specific and weak.
But this doesn’t have to be a big deal because it does well in pots. In fact, it can be very interesting to plant it in a construction site, on a terrace or patio, or in a pot with holes in the bottom so water can drain. Let’s look at what they need so that your plant grows well every year.
The Selenicereus Grandiflorus is a succulent plant that likes to be warm and has gotten used to living in places with high temperatures. The plant can grow in temperatures as low as 45 F and as high as 105 F. However, the best temperature for this plant is between 50 and 75 F.
The plant can die if the temperature drops below 41 F. When grown in colder places, the potted plant should be brought inside when the weather starts to get cooler.
The succulent plant does well in warm climates with long periods of sunlight. It can handle some shade, but it won’t grow as well as it could.
When a plant gets more sunlight in the spring, it helps the flowers grow. The Queen of the Night grows best in the sun outside, where it gets the most light. When grown in colder areas, the Selenicereus Grandiflorus should be kept in a pot and brought inside during the winter.
This cactus needs light, but unlike some others, it can have its light filtered. In its natural environment, it grows by climbing up trees and/or rocks, so it doesn’t need direct sunlight.
Only if you plan to keep it inside should you get a plant lamp to make sure it grows well. This will keep it from getting etiolate, which means that its stems won’t get longer and weaker.
Pitahaya can grow both on the ground and on other plants. When grown in light, sandy soil, the plant does very well because any extra water can quickly drain away from the roots.
When grown in pots, the Queen of the Night does best in soil that drains well, like cactus soil mix. For gardeners who like to mix their own soil, equal parts of garden soil, light garden sand, and pumice are enough to make a mix that drains well and gives the roots plenty of air.
Gardeners usually repot the Queen of the Night every three to four years.
Flower pot: coarse sand (pumice, akadama, kiryuzuna, or something similar) mixed with a little peat is a great base for flower pots.
The soil in the garden must be light and sandy for it to grow. It’s important that the water drains well, because puddles are not good. It doesn’t mind being on stony ground.
It is best to feed Selenicereus grandiflorus with a cactus fertilizer in the spring and summer, when it is growing.
During its growing season, the Selenicereus Grandiflorus loves to be fed with cactus fertilizers. At this stage, the succulent plant needs a lot of food in order to grow and make flowers and fruit. Mature plants will require more nutrients than juvenile ones.
Selenicereus Grandiflorus does well in its natural environments, where winters are not a problem. When grown in colder places, the plant may go through a short period of dormancy. During this stage, you should water your plants less and stop fertilizing them altogether.
How often you water will depend on many things, like where you live and the weather. But it is always important to let the soil dry out between waterings or the plant could rot. Once the extra water starts to drain, you should stop watering. You should only water again after a few days, when the soil is dry.
Also, every time you go to water, you have to wet the whole land. You’ll know this is true if the water is soaked up as soon as you add it and the extra water comes out of the holes in the pot. If it is planted in the ground, it needs to be added until the soil is well-soaked.
This plant should be watered less in the winter when it is grown indoors in colder climates.
If you want to make more plants, stem cuttings are a great way to do that. This is done in the spring by cutting off a piece, letting the cut heal for about a week, and then planting it in a pot. It will grow its first roots in about 10 days, but you must keep it in the same pot for at least a year, until the roots are strong.
It can also be grown from seeds, which can be done in the spring or summer. You have to plant these in pots or planters with holes in them and good cactus soil. Spray the seeds with water after putting them on the surface, but not too close together.
Both the cutting and the seedbed need to be in semi-shade, away from direct sunlight.
Pests and sickness
It doesn’t have many because it is tough. But it’s important to keep snails away and not water too much to avoid getting fungal infections.
Dragonfruit tree isn’t too hard to care for, since its main problems are usually caused by too little or too much water, both of which can hurt the plant. Other problems are easy to fix, such as mealybugs, spider mites, and fungal infections.
Properties and uses in medicine
The plant is used in homeopathy and is considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Several medicinally active ingredients are found in the plant. The flowers of Selenicereus grandiflorus contain betacyans and about 1.5% flavonol glycosides. Eight glycosidated flavonoids have been identified: Narcissin (0.05%), cacticin (0.02%), rutoside, hyperoside, kaempferitrin, grandiflorin, isorhamnetin-3-O-β-(xylosyl)-rutinoside, and isorhamnetin-3-O-β-(galactosyl)-rutinoside. The shoots appear to have the same spectrum of flavonoids. In addition, they contain the biogenic amines tyramine (0.3% of dry weight), N-methyltyramine, and hordenine (N,N-dimethyltyramine). Other constituents include mucilage, fat, wax, and resinous glycosides.
Active ingredients: contains cactin (hordenine), cacticin, narcisin, grandiflorin, hyperoside, rutoside, rutosides.
Indications: cactin has a pseudo-digital action without risk of accumulation, so it was used as a cardiotonic. Formerly used in the treatment of angina pectoris, coronaritis, congestive heart failure.
Contraindicated with other cardiotonic medications, quinidine, anthraquinone laxatives, thiazide diuretics (due to possible potentiation of the cardiotonic effect). It is recommended to avoid their use and resort to standardized digitalis.
Selenicereus grandiflorus is a type of cactus that grows on other plants. It is called “queen of the night” by people in general. It grows at about 700 meters above sea level in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Grows green stems that branch out a lot. The areoles are white or white-grey, and the spines are brown or yellow and 4 to 12 millimeters long.
The white flowers are between 17 and 22 centimeters long and up to 38 centimeters in diameter. They smell sweet, like vanilla, and are between 17 and 22 centimeters long. These grow at night. The fruit is 5 to 10 centimeters long and 4 to 7 centimeters thick. It is white-pink, yellow, or orange and has an ovoid shape. When fully grown, the plant can grow up to 9 to 12 meters tall.
Epiphytic cacti are a good choice if you want to have a unique plant on the balcony, for example. Even more interesting is if it has big, beautiful flowers like the Selenicereus grandiflorus. In fact, collectors love this species a lot because of how beautiful its flowers are.
Also, it’s important to know that it’s not hard to take care of. And it is because, even though it is a cactus from the tropics, it does well in warm temperate areas of the world.