Selenicereus grandiflorus


Cactus grandiflorus
Cereus antoinii
Cereus grandiflorus
Cereus grandiflorus var. affinis
Cereus grandiflorus var. armatus
Cereus grandiflorus var. minor
Cereus grandiflorus var. uranos
Cereus grandiflorus var. uranos
Cereus grandiflorus var. uranus
Cereus nycticalus var. armatus
Cereus obtusus
Cereus ophites
Cereus rosaceus
Cereus scandens var. minor
Cereus uranos
Selenicereus grandiflorus var. affinis
Selenicereus grandiflorus var. barbadensis
Selenicereus grandiflorus var. ophites
Selenicereus grandiflorus var. uranus


Selenicereus grandiflorus is a cactus species that is naturally found in various locations throughout South and Central America, including the Greater Antilles, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. It typically grows on trees or rocks at altitudes of around 700 meters. The appearance of the plant can vary greatly, especially in Jamaica, where the stems may have slightly wavy to strongly knobby margins on the same plant. This variability has led to some confusion in cultivation. In fact, many species of Selenicereus are believed to be synonyms of subspecies of Selenicereus grandiflorus, as they differ only in hints rather than in significantly impressive features.


Selenicereus grandiflorus, also known as the queen of the night or the large-flowered cactus, is a species of cactus native to Mexico and Central America. It is a climbing cactus that grows epiphytically or lithophytically, and its stems can reach up to 20 feet in length. Selenicereus grandiflorus is particularly known for its beautiful and fragrant flowers that bloom only at night, typically between late spring and early summer. Its stem can climb or spread out, and they can grow up to 10 meters long or more. They have ribs that are separated by broad, rounded intervals and have small woolly areas called areoles. These areoles have 5-18 spines that are yellowish brown or brownish, and they eventually fall off. The epidermis of the stems is smooth and can be bluish green or purplish. The flowers of Selenicereus grandiflorus are large, measuring 17-22.5 cm long and up to 15 inches (38 cm) wide. They have a sweet fragrance reminiscent of vanilla and orange-flower, and are equipped with both outer and inner tepals. The outer tepals are 7.5-10 cm long and light brown, salmon to pink buff, or yellowish. They are linear and about 4.5 mm wide. The inner tepals are 7.5-10 cm long, lanceolate, and gradually narrowed into a pointed apex. The stamens are white and delinate, measuring 38-50 mm long, with yellowish anthers. The fruit of Selenicereus grandiflorus is ovoid and measures 5-9 cm long and 4.5-7 cm thick. It can be white, partly pink, pink, yellow, or orange and is juicy and covered in clusters of spines and hairs, which eventually fall off.


To grow Selenicereus grandiflorus, it’s best to place the plant in semi-shade as it is an epiphytic species that grows naturally in the shade of larger trees in rainforests. Ensure that the temperature always remains above 5ºC, and provide shelter during winter months. While these plants are drought-resistant, they should not be allowed to dry out completely and should be watered regularly, about once a week in the spring and up to twice a week in the summer. Do not prune the aerial roots, as they absorb moisture from the air and are essential for the survival of the plant during dry periods. The soil should be well-drained but rich in humus. During the vegetative season, fertilize the plant once a year using a specific cactus fertilizer. However, be cautious not to over-fertilize, as this may reduce blossoming in favor of stem growth.


Selenicereus grandiflorus can be propagated through various techniques, including stem cuttings, seeds, and grafting. Stem cuttings are the most common propagation method and involve cutting a stem section with several nodes and allowing it to dry for a few days before planting it in well-draining soil. The cutting should be watered sparingly until roots and new growth appear. Selenicereus grandiflorus can also be propagated from seeds, although this method requires patience, as the plant can take several years to mature and bloom.


The term Selenicereus comes from the Greek Σελήνη Seléne Selene, goddess of the moon, and Cereus cero: for the columnar shape of many species of this genus and from the night bloom. The term ‘Grandiflorus’ originates from the Latin language, meaning ‘having large flowers’. This cactus species was first documented by Carl von Linné in 1753, and at the time, it was recognized as the cactus species with the largest flowers. However, ironically, when compared to various other Selenicereus species, the flowers of Grandiflorus are relatively moderate in size.

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