Orchid Cactus

by OCMGA Master Gardener Tom Wentzel

untitledI started this plant from a leaf cutting 8+ years ago. It loves the indoor south exposure where it has been since I got it. I really don’t pay much attention to it. It is a vining plant and needs support. When I gets to be 10 or 12 feet long, I hack it back. It is a plant the makes a very bold statement via its foliage. This leaf is 22 inches long.I had pretty much given up on seeing it bloom until a couple days ago – then I noticed the flower buds.

untitledThese were quite a surprise and I was hoping that they would be open the following day. That night I thought I would take another peak at them. WOW!

Even the internal structure is extraordinary.
After seeing the flower, I was able to determine that the variety is most likely “Queen of the Night”. That certainly is an appropriate name. The flowers last only one night. Looking more closely at the plant, I found four other spent blossoms that I had missed. There are two more buds developing. This plant is well worth having in your collection just for the foliage. The flowers put it over the top. It is very easy to grow.

untitled

Other members of this family bloom during the day with individual flowers lasting a week or so. Colors tend to be in the red/pink end of the spectrum and the plants can be quite a bit smaller, lending themselves to hanging baskets.

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