The Night Blooming Cereus is an astounding desert plant. It has silky white petal flowers and only blooms for one night each year.
One of the pleasures I get in midsummer is searching for the bud’s appearance. It always brings so much joy and excitement to my heart. Watching it develop slowly for two to four weeks, seeing it enlarge day by day, is a wonderful feeling.
The flower stem starts to bend into a U shape after two or three weeks, so the bud is parallel to the ground, although the size is still quite small. That’s when I bring the pot indoors, so I can admire its magnificent beauty in comfort.
The flowers are all subtle and different in many ways; they are as individual as all human beings. The very first flower that bloomed on New Year’s Day last year somehow just had a tad more gracefulness than others. The second flower was of a smaller size but had a bit more refinement in quality. The third one had a calming ability, with a magnificent aura.
Some of the plants start to show their striking exquisiteness shortly before dark, some take their own sweet time. Some give out a hint of a sweet aroma, some let out a much stronger perfume. Some last much longer than others; I had one flower which kept its 20cm wide impressive appearance for more than four hours.
On the day of blooming, the flower bud swells and turns away from the direction it once faced. The petals are clearly visible and the outer bracts appear round and curvy. A few pieces of the bud’s outer pink strips rise back towards the stem in the afternoon. Keep an eye on it when the tip of the flower opens slightly as the blooming procession is about to start. I would turn on soft music to embrace the incredible night.
To watch the petals unfold, slowly reaching their maximum around midnight, gives me a blissful feeling. I thank the universe for allowing this brilliant event to be part of my life.
The morning after, the vibrant blossom has closed. The sensational moment has gone forever but left the room with a distinctive smell. Its white petals are humbly wilted but the waxy shine and luxurious colours remain for days. The camera is only able to capture some of the appearance but not that aura of mystery in the atmosphere. It’s emotional and almost spiritual.
I was blessed with six astonishing blooms from two plants within seven weeks in 2019; that was an amazing year for me with the Night Blooming Cereus. This year I had two brilliant blooms before the golf ball sized hailstones damaged all my four plants’ broad leaves, even destroying one tiny new bud.
Certainly, it is one of the most delightful things that nature has to offer. I felt guilty witnessing the spectacular event by myself so wanted to share what I know with you.