----from William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."
What’s so special about a plant that would make you venture out late in the evening to pull up a chair and wait for it to bloom? Become giddy with excitement as the petal opens to reveal a bloom big as a saucer and deep as a chalice?
|These photos, taken with flash, were shot just after the bloom opened, around 9 p.m..|
It’s none other than the Night Blooming Cereus, also known as Queen of the Night. Its immaculate white petals, exquisite as a royal wedding gown, emit a heady, enigmatic fragrance like none other, and last only one night.
People have been known to throw a party in honor of this plant that blooms but once a year. Yes, when a night-blooming cereus blooms, it is indeed a special event.
A few nights ago, my plant, with its four blooms, entertained us for a few hours. While we didn’t sit before it to watch it unfold, I found a YouTube video that records the process over a 12-hour period.
It's a rather unattractive and unruly plant that throws out tall, sturdy branches that are hard as nails. Large, leathery and strappy leaves emerge along the branches over a period of a few years as the plant develops. My plant was three years old before it bloomed the first time a few years ago. It isn't winter hardy and must be brought inside during cold months.
|I repotted the plant into an old bucket this spring. Before bringing inside for the winter, I'll find a pretty pot (large!) and repot it again. Note that I had to stake the heavy branches to hold them upright.|
The morning after the blooms opened, they closed up as daylight came. Here's a picture of one of the blossoms closed and ready to drop off in a few days.
And here's Kitty Carl checking them out!