Table of contents:
- A nightly spectacle worth waiting for all year
- Popular species of selenicereus
- Selenicereus home care
- Pruning and shaping selenicereus
- Transplant and substrate
- Diseases and pests
- Reproduction of the queen of the night
Video: Selenicereus Are The Queens Of The Night. Description, Types, Home Care. Photo
Fragrant Selenicereus flowers cannot be called anything other than magnificent and impressive. This unique cactus with almost smooth shoots became famous under the name "Queen of the Night" not by chance. Even against the background of other beautifully flowering representatives of the Cactus family, Selenicereus is considered a unique plant. The fabulous beauty of flowering and the original strong aroma make an increasing number of flower growers choose the queen of the night for the role of their favorite exotic. And even though huge flowers bloom for just one night, and it is very difficult to place a cactus with shoots several meters long, Selenicereus is worth all the effort spent on achieving such a spectacular flowering. Taking care of him is not so difficult, it is much more difficult to create optimal conditions for him.
A nightly spectacle worth waiting for all year
Selenicereus can rightfully be considered a unique cactus. The genus of these rare exotic beauties combines creeping or creeping cacti of impressive sizes, which are rightfully ranked among the most spectacular, beautifully flowering indoor crops "for the elite". Its popular names - lunar cereus, lunar cactus, princess of the night or queen of the night, moon candle - somehow appeal to the presence of Selene, the Greek goddess of the Moon, in the species name.
Thousands of tourists around the world come to see the flowering of selenicereus in botanical gardens every year, and the institutions themselves specifically extend their work at night so that as many spectators as possible visit the greenhouses. Selenicereus are largely due to their special attitude to the plant in botanical collections for their status as a “cactus not for everyone”. But the magnificent queen of the night can be grown independently along with other types of beautifully blooming cacti.
Selenicereus (Selenicereus) unites in one genus 25 species of unusual forest cacti. These are large epiphytes with powerful, long and very thin shoots extending from the base of the bush, most often flat. These cacti are outwardly different from disocactuses and from other types of ampelous succulents. Reaching only 1-2 cm in diameter and not even being limited to 5 meters in length, the shoots of this cactus are impressive at first sight. Their surface is almost completely naked, with a glossy sheen. Spines are rarely located in areoles, small, thin, they, nevertheless, are distinguished by increased tenacity. To match the unusually long shoots and flowers striking in their size. The inflorescences of this type of cactus cannot be called otherwise than huge, complex in structure. Outwardly, they somewhat resemble a water lily, in fact,are complex tubular inflorescences with numerous perianths, which are divided into hundreds of internal and external lobes. In this case, the inner petals can either form a bowl or completely fill the inner space of the flower, like chrysanthemums. Needle or filamentous, the outer lobes accentuate the calyx from the wider, lingual perianth lobes, giving the impression of a double flower structure. It is worth taking a closer look at the Selenicereus buds. At the beginning of their development, they seem to be a dense ball, consisting of white hairs, from which a candle-shaped dense bud gradually rises. Decorated with flowers and luxurious lush stamens.and completely fill the inner space of the flower, like chrysanthemums. Needle or filamentous, the outer lobes accentuate the calyx of the wider, lingual perianth lobes, giving the impression of a double flower structure. It is worth taking a closer look at the Selenicereus buds. At the beginning of their development, they seem to be a dense ball consisting of white hairs, from which a candle-shaped dense bud gradually rises. Decorated with flowers and luxurious lush stamens.and completely fill the inner space of the flower, like chrysanthemums. Needle or filamentous, the outer lobes accentuate the calyx of the wider, lingual perianth lobes, giving the impression of a double flower structure. It is worth taking a closer look at the Selenicereus buds. At the beginning of their development, they seem to be a dense ball consisting of white hairs, from which a candle-shaped dense bud gradually rises. Decorated with flowers and luxurious lush stamens.Decorated with flowers and luxurious lush stamens.Decorated with flowers and luxurious lush stamens.
Popular species of selenicereus
Tropical cacti from the genus Selenicereus in indoor culture are represented either by hybrid plants or one of the 5 most common species. These American-born cacti boast a great deal of variety, although the name "queen of the night" is usually associated with the name of one single species - the large-flowered selenicereus.
Selenicereus large-flowered(Selenicereus grandiflorus) is by no means the most spectacular representative of the genus in terms of flower beauty, and its inflorescences are far from being the largest. But the queen of the night became famous as one of the first Selenicereus introduced into indoor culture and definitely as one of the most reliable species. Plants produce rather specific long shoots that do not always look very decorative. The greens of this cactus must be tied to supports, already at a young age it forms many chaotically located, straight-growing, drooping, climbing shoots up to 5 m long and 1 to 3 cm in diameter, often densely branching and forming peculiar tangles. On the shoots, 3-4 ribs are clearly distinguished, and the areoles of small thorns are rarely located and fall off over time. This cactus releases aerial rootswhich help the plant to cling to the supports. Greenish-gray color, sometimes with a violent tint, and glossy shine emphasize the thinness of the shoots. But if the greenery of the plant cannot boast of extreme decorativeness, then the beautiful large flowers blooming at night are really impressive.
Solitary, painted white, they reach a diameter and length of up to 30 cm, bloom only at dusk and last only a few hours until morning. Thin, acicular, numerous perianth lobes form a kind of halo around the inner funnel of a flower with lingual “petals”. The outer petals are narrow and long, the inner ones are much wider and shorter. The golden yellow color of the edge petals only emphasizes the shining white center of the flower. One of the advantages of this species is the formation of a large number of buds, the flowers of which literally bloom one after another in spring and early summer. Belongs to the distinctive features of the large-flowered selenicereus and the delicate aroma of vanilla with light notes of jasmine, which is surprisingly strong in the night air.After flowering, the cactus produces large spherical fruits up to 9 cm long in yellow, orange, red and pink colors.
Selenitsereus krylotsvetkovy (Selenicereus pteranthus), or princess of the night is only slightly inferior to the popularity of the most popular mind. It is also a fairly large plant with shoots reaching several meters, ribbed, creeping, powerful. Flowers differ in a slightly different, "airy" structure and a complete lack of aroma.
Even less common in room culture:
1. Selenicereus hook-shaped (Selenicereus hamatus) - capable of producing lashes of shoots up to 12 m in length, a cactus with a bright green color, numerous ribs, peculiar hook-shaped processes and spiny bristles. Its inflorescences reach 40 cm in length and 20 cm in diameter, differ in rather wide outer and almost oval inner perianth lobes. The flowers of this species are more like cups, stand out with pale yellow stamens and pale light green color.
2. Selenicereus Anthony(Selenicereus anthonyanus) is also famous for its popular name "fish bone". This climbing cactus with delightful leaf-shaped, fleshy stems up to 15 cm wide and several meters long, in fact, resembles fish skeletons in the shape of the shoots. Flat stems with a fairly bright color are deeply dissected along the edges like oak or dandelion leaves, but the leaf lobes are not arranged in pairs, and short thorns in the areoles are almost invisible. The flowers of this cactus are surprisingly graceful and have a brighter color than the competition. Even though they reach only 20 cm in diameter, and in length are limited to only 12 cm, the transition of the color of the perianth from bright pink outside to orange in the center and delicate creamy pink inside the corolla seems surprisingly watercolor.The outer and inner perianths are practically the same in width and differ only in the greater length of the outer petals. In this selenicereus, the perianths evenly fill the calyx of the flower, slightly resembling garden dahlias and chrysanthemums. This species is more often grown in ampelous culture.
3. Selenicereus gold-flowered, or Selenicereus Golden Heart (Selenicereus chrysocardium) on its dense shoots reaching several meters in length, flaunts not even depressions and depressions, but leaf-shaped lobes reaching 15 cm in length and 4 cm in width. From a distance, its shoots seem to be feathery leaves, and only close up it is noticeable that this is just a flattened succulent stem. The flowers of this species are large, funnel-shaped, up to 25 cm in diameter, very fragrant, with a creamy-reddish tint of the outer and snow-white color of the inner petals of the perianth. The brightest part of the plant is the rich yellow stamens, which really look like a golden center.
Selenicereus home care
The queen of the night is not often found in the collection of even big cactus lovers. Low popularity and extremely low distribution at home is associated, first of all, with those myths that turn the plant almost into an exclusively greenhouse culture. In fact, Selenicereus is no more difficult to grow than any other flowering cactus that requires a cool winter. It is easy enough to choose the conditions for it, and careful care is no different from the care that must be provided to any beautifully flowering plant in the house. Moreover, this cactus is rather unpretentious, develops quickly, pleases with an abundance of flowers, which fully compensate for the difficulties of creating the correct dormancy regime.
Lighting for Selenicereus
The queen of the night can be ranked not only among the most light-loving indoor plants, but also among the sun-loving cultures. This cactus can be displayed on windowsills of a southern orientation, it is absolutely not afraid of direct sunlight and blooms much better in a sunny place. Even the midday rays do not affect the attractiveness of the plant. True, at the stage of active development, Selenicereus can put up with both penumbra and diffused lighting: the cactus retains its love for the sun, but bright lighting becomes vital not at the stage of active development, but during the resting phase. Providing a sunny location is one of the important conditions for promoting flowering in this cactus, it is necessary for the development of a large number of strong buds.Selenicereus does not like artificial supplementary lighting and does not react very well even to minor fluctuations in lighting during the flowering or dormant stage.
Selenicereus should be kept cool during the winter. The air temperature should not drop below 5 degrees, while the optimum temperature range is 10-12 degrees. The maximum allowable temperature during the resting stage is 18 degrees, but it is better if it remains as close as possible to 10 degrees.
During the period of active growth, this cactus can only grow at room temperatures. Cool conditions at the stage of budding and flowering are unacceptable, cacti are best placed in hot conditions, since in fact during flowering they are heat-dependent and, due to violation of the comfortable temperature range, the buds can crumble. During spring and summer, selenicereus is suitable for any temperature from 18 to 25 degrees or hotter.
One of the features of this cactus with long and chaotically growing shoots can be safely called intolerance to drafts and sudden temperature fluctuations. True, drafts can cause special harm to a plant only at the stage of budding and flowering, during which a temperature difference of more than 3-4 degrees can cause a massive drop of buds and even flowers that begin to bloom. Selenicereus should be placed in places protected from any air fluctuations, especially from cold air streams. But this cactus grows well with artificial heating (however, if there is no contrast between the draft and the air from the batteries).
In summer, Selenicereus can be placed on sheltered balconies. As a result of brighter lighting, the shoots will acquire a reddish tint, but then quickly restore their natural color. But next year the cactus will bloom more abundantly.
Watering and air humidity
In order to find the optimal irrigation strategy for Selenicereus, you must always check the condition of the soil, controlling the degree of its drying out. When carrying out each subsequent procedure, you must make sure that the substrate is completely dry in the upper layer and partially - in the middle. This cactus, like most of its beautifully flowering counterparts, is extremely afraid of waterlogging. And any excessive or too frequent watering can lead not only to decay, but also to the death of the plant. Selenicereus should be kept in near dry conditions during winter to stimulate flowering; it is watered very rarely, only not allowing the shoots to fade. But in spring and summer, when carrying out such procedures, they are always guided precisely by the rate of drying of the substrate. This cactus belongs to those types of indoor plants that tolerate hard water very poorly.For him, you can either pick up settled soft water, or specially soften it with the usual addition of any natural acid. But it is important not to overdo it with acidification.
In general, this cactus feels great under normal conditions and does not need air humidification procedures. For a luxurious flowering of Selenicereus, it is nevertheless necessary to ensure sufficient air humidity. This cactus, unlike its counterparts, simply adores regular spraying and even foliar fertilization. At the same time, high humidity is important for Selenicereus only during the budding period of flowering, while in winter any increase in air humidity can lead to a problem with rot and lack of flowering.
Dust can be removed by flushing or washing. At the same time, when spraying, and during watering, and when removing dust, it is very important to monitor the temperature of the water, which should be equal to the air temperature or be slightly higher.
Actively growing, very large shoots of this cactus determine the need for somewhat more active feeding than for the rest of the family. Selenicereus is fed not once a month, but once every 10-14 days. Top dressing is applied only during the stage of active development from March to November, completely abandoning procedures during the resting stage.
For this cactus, special fertilizer mixtures are best suited for members of the Cactus family. In addition to root feeding, Selenicereus loves foliar treatment with a weakly concentrated aqueous solution of fertilizers. Moreover, during budding and flowering, spraying with fertilizers can be made more frequent than the manufacturer recommends.
Pruning and shaping selenicereus
The formation of Selenicereus is by far the most difficult moment in their cultivation. Irregularly growing stems, sometimes densely branching, scattering in different directions, hanging, large, but at the same time, like all cacti, fearing injuries create problems with plant placement. Selenicereus requires constant formation and careful attention to tying. The work is always complicated by very tenacious, albeit small, sparsely located thorns.
Supports are always installed for Selenicereus. Since the plant itself does not have an impressive appearance, it is precisely due to the supports that you can give it a great decorative effect. Using ordinary pegs or boring supports can make the cactus even more unremarkable. In addition to tying to a support, you will need selenicereus and pruning unattractive or long shoots. A complete formation is not carried out, since it does not contribute to thickening or creating more beautiful bushes. Therefore, it is worth pruning only when the cactus really needs it (or expedient from the point of view of ease of handling the plant). Selenicereus grow back quite well after damage. But it is better to only cut no more than 3 shoots at a time, as more pruning will cause ugly stumps to form.If, during transplantation or other procedures, the shoots are accidentally injured, it is necessary to cut the stem as soon as possible just below the injury site.
Transplant and substrate
Unlike most cacti, Selenicereus prefers a fairly nutritious, humus-rich substrate. But for all the importance of nutritional value, one should not forget about the two most important parameters of the soil - water and air permeability. For selenicereus, you can use any ready-made mixture for succulents and cacti. But in order to achieve a better degree of drainage, it is advisable to add charcoal, fine expanded clay, vermiculite or agroperlite to it. You can also compose the substrate yourself by mixing turf soil with coarse sand in a ratio of 2 to 1 with the same loosening additives.
Transplanting a plant presents difficulties only in terms of handling large and "inconvenient" shoots. Young cacti are transplanted annually, adults - only as needed and possible. The optimal time for transplanting is mid-spring. During the procedure, it is imperative to lay a high, powerful drainage on the bottom of the container. In the years when the transplant is not carried out, for the selenicereus, the topsoil is completely removed to the level of the beginning of the root system and replaced with a fresh substrate.
Diseases and pests
Among pests, the greatest concern in selenicereus is mainly caused by felt insects, scale insects, spider mites, which are very difficult to fight on a cactus. The only acceptable control method is the use of a narrowly targeted fungicide. Due to waterlogging of the stems and the base of the bush, various rot is very active. They need to be dealt with by correcting care and timely cutting off damaged parts.
Among the queens of the night, various types of specific spotting are also common, which are usually characteristic only of hybrid plants. It is desirable to fight them with fungicides, although these diseases can be very difficult to overcome.
Reproduction of the queen of the night
The optimal breeding method for selenicereus is considered to be cuttings. Since the plants produce long shoots, it is easy to cut them into small pieces and root them after drying the slices (in any slightly damp substrate or under a hood in humid air). Spring is considered the best time for grafting. The younger the shoot, the faster and better it will take root.
Selenicereus can also be obtained from seeds, however, in room conditions they ripen completely extremely rarely, but sometimes they are found on sale. Seeds germinate easily in slightly moistened soil, provided that they are not too deeply buried, covered with film or glass, and kept at room temperatures. Young Selenicereuses obtained by any method develop very actively, grow several meters in length of shoots per year and are capable of producing buds by the fifth year.