Once a year, for a single night only, the exotic Night-Blooming Cereus* gives the owners of this conservatory it’s beautiful, fragrant gift.
Actually a type of desert cactus, this particular plant thrives in its conservatory home climbing and attaching itself to the ornamental rock wall. The stone feature wall is a focal point in this Custom Conservatory by the Lake and during the day is flooded with natural light. A shallow grotto at the base is filled with ferns and a pool of cool water which feeds a fountain which trickles over the stone.
Arrive on just the right afternoon and behold, the flowers that have made their appearance, are filled with promise and begin to swell. As sun sets in the conservatory and the dinner table is cleared, the blooms imperceptibly open wide in momentary splendor and embrace the night. Hours later, all that remains are their limp carcasses.
Tomorrow night or perhaps some other, if you are fortunate to be there to see, another bloom may appear. Sometimes just one, other times a crowd of silky white blossoms.
*The Selenicereus grandifloras is a cactus species from the Antilles, Mexico, and Central American regions. It is called the Queen of the Night, Vanilla Cactus, or Sweet-Scented Cactus. In its native environment, it is found growing on rocks and trees. It is rare to find these cacti being cultivated; however, it is not hard to grow and is fast growing. It is a perfect plant for a conservatory that has full sun, and which is kept above 41̊ F in the winter. If the cactus is provided with extra light early in the spring season, the buds will be stimulated, but it only flowers in the late spring or early summer, and then, as was said above, for only one night in a year (sometimes several years) and it withers within hours of blooming.
Below is a time-lapse video showing a Night blooming Cereus blooming and withering in 40 seconds.