The queen of the night is a truly unique flower, known for only blooming in the night. Many gardeners have tried and failed at getting this flower to bloom, as it needs very specific requirements not only to survive, but to develop its flower.
If you want to grow a tall, healthy queen of the night flower and get it to bloom, you’ll need to simulate its natural environment, provide it with just the right amounts of light and water, while you’ll also have to change the temperature every once in a while.
Let’s see how it’s done.
1. Indirect Light Only
Although the queen of the night flower is a cactus, and cacti are known to thrive in hot and extremely sunny environments, this species doesn’t like to spend too much time in the sun.
In the wilderness of Mexico and South America, where it naturally occurs, it’s usually found on the forest floor or on tree trunks. Tree branches break the sunrays and only allow limited amounts of light to get to this plant.
You should do the same with your queen of the night flower. Whether you’re planting it in a pot indoors or in the soil outside, it needs to have some sun protection.
Either protect it with other plants or put it behind a window. The glass will filter out plenty of the sunlight, allowing your queen of the night flower to thrive.
2. Infertile Soil Is Good Enough For The Queen Of The Night Flower
Since it needs very little water and doesn’t like moist soil, the queen of the night flower does very well in well-draining, rocky soil. Add sand, wood bark, and tiny rocks to the soil.
Their roots don’t grow deep, and they need very little room to establish themselves, so you don’t have to worry about the pot being too small.
3. Queen Of The Night Flower Likes Water
This cactus likes water more than other cacti. Whereas you’d rarely water a normal cactus, you should water your queen of the night every time the soil dries.
In most cases, this means watering it once a week or once every other week, depending on the temperature and humidity levels in your home. Throughout winter, you should only water it once a month.
You don’t want to water it too much, though, as keeping it a bit dehydrated will force it to bloom. If the plant feels dehydrated, it goes into survival mode and focuses its energy on flowering in order to multiply.
In the wild, this plant collects rainwater and moisture from the air. It usually grows at the base of larger trees, where it can drink the water collecting not in the soil, but on moss as well.
4. Simulating Jungle Environments
In order to get this plant to thrive, you have to simulate its natural environment. This mostly means that you have to regulate the temperature and the level of humidity.
The temperature should never be lower than 50°F or higher than 90°F. This is the golden zone for many plants, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
There should be fluctuations in temperature in order to get your queen of the night flower to bloom, but we’ll get to that later.
Maintaining the right level of humidity is a bit more difficult. The queen of the night flower needs at least 50% humidity to thrive.
Raising the humidity of your home to that level can be unhealthy for you, so we suggest spraying the plant with a water mistifier regularly.
5. Queen Of The Night Flower Will Attach Itself To Other Plants
While this plant isn’t a parasite, it absolutely insists on symbiosis! In the wild, they grow on other trees or right next to them. This allows them to drink in all excess water and get their nutrients from dead insects and animal droppings.
The plant has a climbing instinct and it will try to climb upwards even if there’s nothing above it. This is why it’s best to plant it next to a tree or a shrub, which it will use for climbing support.
If that isn’t an option for you, you can install a simple climbing mesh made for plants.
6. Bring Your Queen Of The Night Flower Inside During The Winter
Unless you live in hardiness zone 11 (or upwards), chances are temperatures drop below 50°F during the winter. This will kill your queen of the night and there’s no way for you to protect it outside.
Because of this, it’d be best if you brought your queen of the night flower inside when the temperatures start dropping and keep it inside until they rise back up.
If you live in a zone lower than 11, you shouldn’t plant your queen of the night outside.
You can keep it outside in a pot during the warmer months, but you shouldn’t plant it in the soil. You’ll have to dig it up and replant it every winter that way, so it’d be better if you kept it in a pot.
7. Repotting Queen Of The Night Is Easy
One good thing about the queen of the night flower is that you can easily repot it. This cactus can reach 10 feet in height and 3 feet in width, so you’ll need to repot it every few years as it outgrows its pot.
Since the roots of the queen of the night aren’t deep (they’re only a small ball that isn’t difficult to dig up), you can safely repot the queen of the night without damaging it.
Fill up your new pot with the same soil mix you use in your smaller pot, dig up the roots of the plant with a trowel, and simply put it in the new pot. Water it thoroughly afterwards and let it rest.
Although it’s safe for the plant, repotting puts a lot of stress on it, so you should take extra good care of it for a few weeks. Spray it with water regularly and make sure it doesn’t get too much sunlight.
8. Fertilize Your Queen Of The Night, But Not Too Much
Your queen of the night flower likes cactus fertilizer mix, but only to an extent. Fertilize it every six weeks during spring, summer, and fall, but tone it down during the winter to once every two weeks.
Feel free to use quick-acting liquid fertilizer, but make sure to mix it with water (even if the label says it’s ready to use right out of the box). The queen of the night flower is susceptible to fertilizer burn.
It’s important to use potassium-rich fertilizer, while the amount of nitrogen should be low. Nitrogen promotes growth, which is great, but the plant will focus all of its energy on growth instead of focusing it on blooming.
9. How To Get Your Queen Of The Night Flower To Bloom
The amazing thing about the queen of the night flower is that it blooms only at night, and usually for a very short time. If you want to see the flower bloom, you’ll have to stay awake for a long time (the flower usually closes up just before dawn).
If your queen of the night cactus is young, know that it will likely take years for it to reach maturity. Only when it reaches maturity will it bloom.
To get it to bloom, you have to check a few boxes, the most important one being temperature.
Before, we mentioned that the ideal temperature for this plant is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is true, the plant won’t develop and it won’t bloom if the temperature is constantly the same.
This never happens out in the wild and the plant needs temperature fluctuations to develop.
These fluctuations should happen on a daily basis throughout the year (if possible). Keeping the temperature in the room at 55°F, raising it to 65°F, and then dropping it to 55°F would greatly help your plant’s development.
10. Queen Of The Night – The Most Common Diseases & Pests
This cactus likes easily draining soil, so it’s unlikely it will develop root rot unless you’re overwatering it on purpose. However, if it does develop root rot, there’s most likely no saving it.
You’ll recognize root rot by yellow leaves, while the stem can also become soggy. If this happens, take the queen of the night flower out of the pot and inspect the roots – they’ll likely be rotten and soggy.
The best thing to do in this scenario is to cut out healthy stems to save what can be saved.
This cactus is also prone to sunburns – as we explained before, they like partial, filtered sunlight. If you keep it in full sunlight, the leaves will develop distinct burns.
Your queen of the night could have a reaction to the chlorine in your water if the levels of it are too high. It’d be smart to leave a glass of water out for a day before watering the queen of the night flower. The water should also never be cold.
News is better when it comes to pests – they’re not particularly prone to any species, but you could see some spider mites and aphids on this plant.
Queen Of The Night Flower Is Worth The Trouble
This isn’t a cactus anyone can grow, there’s no doubt about that. It requires everyday misting and temperature adjustments, and you also have to know exactly how much water it needs and what’s the optimal time to water it.
Ideally, you could grow it in an indoor garden with the company of other plants with similar requirements, where managing the temperature and humidity would be much easier.
But even if that isn’t possible, you can still get your queen of the night flower to reach maturity in a few years and you’ll be rewarded with the sight of its rare, but glorious flower.