"I have never smelled a flower like this before," David told me. "My plant is probably 5 to 6 feet tall - it's a big ol' ugly thing - but the flowers are out of this world." David had a party on the night of the bloom - his boss and his neighbors all came to view the blooming.
This is a popular pass-along plant. David's was taken from his grandmother Jennie Campbell's plant in Rocky Mount, Va. His father brought it to West Virginia in 1953.
There are many plants that are often lumped together under the name night-blooming cereus. The two most common are Selenicereus and the Hylocereus genus. Originally from the tropics, it can go outside during the summer months, but under a shady tree where it gets only filtered light.
The best way to share it is from herbaceous stem cuttings, leaf cuttings or by dividing the rhizomes. The plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, and plants will not come true from seed.
I remember reading "The Bean Trees" by Barbara Kingsolver and wondering what the night-blooming plant was at the end of the novel. It must have been cereus. Common names include Queen of the Night, and Dutchman's Pipe Cactus. The stamen resembles a star, hence the other common name Christ in the Manger.
More great hardscapes
Recently I wrote about the phenomenal display of hardscape suggestions and solutions at Peerless Block in St. Albans. Not to be outdone, its sister plant, Kanawha Brick and Block, has done a facelift to its facilities at 1201 Main Ave., Nitro, and now has lovely hardscape displays as well. For information, call (304) 722-4601.
Sara Busse is a Master Gardener. Reach her at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 348-1249.