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Night Blooming Cereus: All You Need to Know About Growth, Care & More

The Night Blooming Cereus is a perennial succulent climber, primarily consumed for its blooms, with properties known to clear heat, moisturize the lungs, and stop coughs. The dried form of its flowers is a delicacy among vegetables. The Night Blooming Cereus is mainly used in the preparation of slow-cooked soups. This flower, with its sweet […]

The Night Blooming Cereus is a perennial succulent climber, primarily consumed for its blooms, with properties known to clear heat, moisturize the lungs, and stop coughs. The dried form of its flowers is a delicacy among vegetables.

The Night Blooming Cereus is mainly used in the preparation of slow-cooked soups. This flower, with its sweet and cool properties, enters the lungs and has the ability to clear phlegm, remove accumulated heat, relieve gas pain, and regulate phlegm fire.

The soup made from Night Blooming Cereus is effective in assisting the treatment of arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, tuberculosis, bronchitis, cervical lymph node tuberculosis, parotitis, and also has nourishing and beautifying effects.

After cooking, the soup tastes fragrant, sweet, and smooth, and is a favorite among the soup-loving Cantonese as an excellent tonic soup ingredient.

Common Varieties

South Sea Variety

Originally from Brazil, it is widely cultivated in the suburbs of Guangzhou, China, and is suitable for drying. Its stems are thicker and fleshier, the edges of the stems are more blunt, the flowers are larger, the quantity of flowers is slightly less, but the yield is high, and the processed flower utensils have bright colors and superior quality.

Zhaoqing Variety

Originally from Mexico, it has a long cultivation history in Zhaoqing, Guangdong, and has been domesticated into a local variety suitable for fresh consumption. Its features include a slightly longer plant type, a stem length of about 2 meters, thin and tough stems, and strong adaptability. This variety has a lot of flowers, overlapping petals, flowers up to 30 cm long, and good quality.

Growth and Distribution

Growth Environment

The Night Blooming Cereus is a climbing plant that attaches itself to trees, walls, or other objects using aerial roots. It is robust, likes warmth, and prefers a semi-shaded environment, turning yellow under direct strong sunlight. It thrives in temperatures between 25-35°C and is sensitive to low temperatures.

Below 5°C, the stem nodes are prone to rot. It likes fertile loamy soil rich in humus. The potting soil can be mixed with equal amounts of decomposed leaves, coarse sand, and mature manure.

After stormy summer weather, it often blooms profusely, hence the nickname “Storm Flower”. It also has another name, “False Dawn Flower”, because like the dawn flower, it chooses to bloom at dusk and spreads its unique fragrance throughout the long night. Unlike the dawn flower, it does not fade quickly and still presents its pure white and impressive bloom even at dawn.

Distribution Range

Learn About The Night Blooming Cereus: Basics, Types, Growth & Care, Value and More

The Night Blooming Cereus, a member of the Cactaceae family, originates from Mexico and the Guangxi region. It is distributed in India, Pakistan, the Himalayas, and in Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guangxi regions in mainland China.

It grows at altitudes from 200 meters to 1,750 meters, often in dry and hot river valleys, and has been artificially introduced and cultivated. It is now cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions all over the world.

In China, it is mainly found in Guangdong and Guangxi, with Guangzhou, Zhaoqing, Foshan, and Lingnan as the main production areas.

Morphology and Characteristics

The Night Blooming Cereus has a taproot system underground and aerial roots on its stem which climb upwards. The stem is a dark green, fleshy, and triangular with three edges. The edges of the stem are wavy, and the stem section is 60-100 cm long, with the whole plant reaching 6-8 cm.

The flowers are exceptionally large, hence the name Night Blooming Cereus, funneled-shaped, 25-30 cm long, 8-12 cm wide, and yellow-green. It likes light, can withstand drought and heat, dislikes shade, and is afraid of the cold. It thrives at a temperature of 25-30°C.

When the temperature falls below 10°C, growth is hindered, and below 5°C, it can suffer from cold damage. The Night Blooming Cereus is highly resistant to pests and diseases, adaptable to soil, can root and grow in limestone crevices, and can live for more than 40 years.

Cultivation Method

Cultivation Method

The King Flower is unique in plant shape and features beautiful, innovative colors and shapes. With a long blooming period of seven months, delicious taste, and certain medicinal properties, it is suitable for cultivation in suburban cities or tourist areas, combining tourism to develop into sightseeing agriculture.

In some remote areas, King Flower cultivation can become a local specialty industry, creating a path to wealth by promoting agricultural efficiency and increasing farmers’ income. In regions where the minimum winter temperature is not below 6°C, you can choose to plant King Flowers in abandoned areas unsuitable for other crops or along walls and trees.

When planting on a large scale, it is recommended to raise high ridges, construct brick walls, or use cement columns to create a circular frame around the plant, about 1 meter high, and regularly guide the plant stem to extend naturally in all directions.

Site Selection and Land Preparation

Choose well-draining, irrigable, loose, fertile soil with plenty of sunshine for planting. The King Flower does not generally require complete reclamation; just loosen and turn the soil around the planting pit.

The steps include: 1. Creating ridges: Width of 2.5m including the ditch, 0.5m ditch width, 0.35~0.40m ditch depth; 2. Marking planting pits: In the center of the ridge, mark the planting pits at a spacing of 2.0m x 2.5m (roughly 130 per 667 m2); 3. Turning the soil in the planting pits: Dig around the marked planting points, 0.35~0.40m deep, pit size of 1.2m x 1.2m, sundry for over 15 days; 4. Apply base fertilizer: For each 667 m2, use 800~1,000 kg of high-quality compost plus 100 kg of ternary compound fertilizer, and mix it evenly with the pit soil; 5. Planting: 7~10 days after applying the base fertilizer, plant 8~10 King Flower seedlings in each pit (roughly 1,100~1,300 per 667 m2), planting depth around 10cm; 6. Watering: After planting, water thoroughly to ensure root stability.

Seedling Cultivation and Transplanting

Learn About The Night Blooming Cereus: Basics, Types, Growth & Care, Value and More

The King Flower’s stem nodes are easily rooted, making it suitable for asexual reproduction. The plant grows fast after planting and can quickly start producing. For cutting, choose the fleshy stems of over one-year-old plants, cut into about 20cm segments, and let them dry naturally for 2~3 days in a cool, shady place before planting.

Seedlings can be grown in the open air in spring and autumn when the survival rate of cuttings is higher. The planting depth is generally 8~10cm, and the planting specifications are generally 20cm x 20cm.

Water and Fertilizer Management

After the plants have established, moderate watering is appropriate, but be careful not to let water accumulate on the surface for too long to prevent root rot.

The King Flower requires the most water during its flowering period, so do not let it suffer from drought, or the flowers will be small, yields low, and quality poor. The first year after spring planting, a small number of plants will bloom in the autumn and winter and do not need additional fertilizer.

From the second year after planting, the plant will begin to bloom, and from the third year onwards, it will enter a high-yield period and should be fertilized 4~5 times a year.

Generally, ternary compound fertilizer is applied after the rain, each time using 15~20 kg per 667 m2, and covered with soil after application.

Pruning

The lifespan of a Queen Flower is usually over 20 years. To prevent premature aging and maintain its robust growth, timely pruning is needed. Pruning method: During the seedling stage when the stem is below 1 meter, cut off the branches.

After the plant reaches 1 meter in height (already grown to the top of the trellis), leave 3 buds per plant and let them naturally elongate and hang down. After the plant starts to bloom profusely, prune 1-2 times each year after the harvest, cutting off old, weak, diseased, and damaged branches.

This reduces nutrient consumption and allows for better ventilation and light penetration. The 2-3 new buds at the top of the Queen Flower plant are vigorous, have many flower buds, and hold a high yield potential.

Therefore, remove all the lateral buds that grow below the stem tip to concentrate nutrients towards the growth of the top buds.

Pest and Disease Control

The Queen Flower has strong resistance to pests and diseases and generally suffers little damage. However, overwatering and standing water can lead to root rot, so flood prevention must be observed during cultivation.

In terms of pests, snails may sometimes climb onto the plant and chew on the tender stems. An 8% metaldehyde (tetraoxymethylene) granule or 10% polyacetal granule can be applied, using 1.5 g per square meter. If the infestation is minor, manual capture at night is also effective.

Value and Other Aspects

Learn About The Night Blooming Cereus: Basics, Types, Growth & Care, Value and More

Nutritional Value

The Queen Flower is highly nutritious. Through analysis of the nutritional components of the edible cactus plant, the Queen Flower, it has been found that every 100g of dried Queen Flower contains the following nutrients: 9.570g of water, 181.2g of protein, 2.785g of crude fiber, 1.547g of ash, 961.27mg of calcium, and 328.45mg of phosphorus.

Especially after thorough testing, it was revealed that the Queen Flower contains at least 13 types of amino acids, among which threonine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, and lysine are essential for the human body.

For example, every 100μg of free amino acids in Queen Flower includes: 210mg of aspartic acid, 112mg of alanine, 25mg of isoleucine, 188mg of glutamic acid, 208mg of proline, 38mg of phenylalanine, 108mg of serine, 122mg of tyrosine, 26mg of lysine, 78mg of arginine, 59mg of valine, 28mg of threonine, 42mg of leucine, and so on.

Besides, it also contains elements such as Cu, N, Cr, Cd, Ca, Zn, which are crucial for the human body.

Medicinal Value

The Queen Flower, sweet and slightly cold in nature, is rich in nutrients and medicinal values. It has significant effects on treating cerebral arteriosclerosis, tuberculosis, bronchitis, cervical lymphatic tuberculosis, mumps, and cardiovascular diseases.

It has the properties of clearing heat, moistening the lungs, removing phlegm, suppressing cough, and nourishing and beautifying the skin, making it an excellent ingredient for nutritious soups.

Dietary Value

The Queen Flower is mainly used in cooking nutritious soups. Sweet and cooling in nature, the Queen Flower enters the lungs and has the effects of clearing heat and phlegm, removing accumulated heat, relieving qi pain, and managing phlegm fire.

Thus, the soup made with Queen Flower can clear the heart, moisten the lungs, cool the heat, and suppress coughs.

Moreover, the soup has significant therapeutic effects on cerebral arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, tuberculosis, bronchitis, cervical lymphatic tuberculosis, mumps, and more, as well as nourishing and beautifying functions.

After being made into soup, the Queen Flower tastes clear and fragrant, the soup is sweet and smooth, making it much loved by the “soup-cooking group” in Guangdong as an excellent ingredient for a nutritious soup.

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Peggie

Peggie

Founder of FlowersLib

Peggie was once a high school mathematics teacher, but she set aside her chalkboard and textbooks to follow her lifelong passion for flowers. After years of dedication and learning, she not only established a thriving flower shop but also founded this blog, “Flowers Library”. If you have any questions or wish to learn more about flowers, feel free to contact Peggie.

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