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Night Blooming Cereus

August 2010

QuestionI have a night blooming cereus that I rescued from someone who was throwing it out. After repotting it and giving it loving care, it has recovered to put it mildly. We’ve had blooms almost every night recently. We love it. My question deals with how to keep it within bounds. It is over 6 feet tall and still going. Is it acceptable to cut the plant back? If so, how and when?


AnswerThe night blooming cereus is a member of the cactus family and I often refer to it as an ugly duckling. It is a homely plant which produces copious running stems with small stickers but when it blooms, stand back—the flowers are amazing. Unfortunately, they only open at night and are only open for one night, but as you said, an established plant can produce an abundance of blooms. Cut it back as needed before you move it back inside this fall. The cuttings you remove root easily and you can share this plant with your friends. It is a cactus, so make sure you don’t overwater. It is not winter hardy and you want it to rest a bit this winter inside anyway.

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