My Night Blooming Cereus

I can’t believe it — my Night Blooming Cereus has finally bloomed, after more than 20 years! I can’t tell you how EXCITED I am.

Now, you must understand…this rare and unusual cactus blooms only during the night, for only 12 hours, and many people miss the glorious flower altogether.

It was started from a cutting way back during my Alaska years, a gift from Maryann Foland–the family physician I worked with when I first graduated from nursing school. I left the plant in Alaska when we moved to Idaho, taking only a cutting.

Although the plant grew quite well in Idaho, in all the years there–well, it never bloomed there either.

Where was this famous flower? Why wouldn’t it produce even one?

Unwilling to give up, I left the plant with a friend but took a cutting with me when we moved to Washington.

Here it is, 2 years later, finally producing three buds a couple of weeks ago. Not realizing how delicate the buds were, I accidentally knocked two of the three off the vine while opening a window, the day after they first appeared. (Good job, Val…what a klutz.)

But the remaining bud just kept growing and swelling until the other night, it looked like a bizarre space egg with tentacles wrapped around it! You can see it in its bud form in one of the photos above.

And then Sunday night, I happened to glance at it before turning in, and lo and behold, the spectacular flower was in full glory–all 10 inches of it!

By this morning, it had already closed up and wilted. And now it’s just a memory.


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