Night Blooming Cereus
Or as my kid’s used to call it the DREADLOCK plant
I one of these plants in a hanging basket when we lived on Ruskin in West University. I bought a small cutting of the plant from Tea’s nursery when I was looking for something different. They had these huge baskets full of them with tendrils drooping almost to the floor. They were charging $60 to $100 per hanging basket! I think that is what inspired me to try the plant. They had a few 4 inch pots with one measly little stick in it for a couple of bucks, so I thought I’d try.
It took several years to get a full big basket sized plant. It is very sensitive to the cold, so if it is left outside and the temperature drops much below 50 you can lose part of the plant. In the summer, I hung it in the back yard. Unfortunately as the plant got bigger it took up half the sidewalk area. You pretty much had to duck to get past it to the back door. The kids thought it was ugly and a pain. I did manage to get it to bloom. One summer after it was 5 or 7 years old, it bloomed pretty white flowers about an inch in diameter. It bloomed at night and I only saw one fully open.
When we moved to the condo, I managed to keep it alive for a few years and then got lazy with it and left it out in the cold too long and it died. Year before last, I found a plant that someone had thrown out in the dumpster. It was covered with garbage, had been dumped out of it’s pot and was too far into the dumpster for me to recover more than just a handful of “DREADS”. I stuck them in a jar of water in my window and tried to see if I could get them to root. They did fine in the water and I ignored them, still being in my lazy phase. Last summer, one morning I awoke to my surprise to find the most beautiful bloom in my window. It was a good five inches in diameter. BEAUTIFUL!
It motivated me to transplant it. I was worried about transplant shock since it had been in water so long. About half the plant died. Then I almost lost the rest of it because I didn’t realize the pot I planted it in was not draining properly and it became waterlogged. As we moved to Dallas I have been babying it along and finally transplanted it into a hanging basket. I think it is doing good. Hopefully by the end of next summer I’ll have a full basket of DREADLOCKS again.
It is currently thriving in my laundry room. The hanging basket I planted it in is a wire frame with one of those coconut bowl things. duh. I knew I would have to bring it inside for the winter! It is even too sensitive for the garage. Well, when it was time to bring it in I searched frantically for a solution to keep it from dripping everywhere when it is watered. I ended up sitting the whole thing in a huge cobalt blue decorative bowl. I put in on top of the dryer. It has light and heat. It is actually still growing over the winter. I thought they went into a holding pattern of dormancy, but I guess not.
photos updated October 3, 2009