Also known as pitaya, Belle-Of-The -Night, Cinderella Plant, Honolulu Queen, and Jesus in the Cradle (to mention just a few names), this lithophytic or hemiepiphytic perennial vine is a cactus native from Honduras to Mexico. They grow up to 33′ long and may creep, sprawl or climb by means of aerial roots. The stems are branched, up to 5″ in diameter, and have three ribs and horn-like, undulating margins, with wings up to 2″ wide. Nodes are located along the stems 12-48″ apart and are marked by 1-3 needle-like spines that are grayish-brown to black and up to .4″ long. From early summer to mid-fall, scented, nocturnal, trumpet-shaped flowers appear. They are white or greenish yellow, up to 14″ long by up to 12″ wide, and have yellow stamens and a prominent style. Each flower blooms for only one night and are attractive to bees, bats, and moths. The green and pink fruits that follow are oblong, up to 5″ long, and bear hard tentacles/scales. The fruit can weigh up to 3 lbs. and has pink edible pulp with tiny black seeds. The plant is valued for its ornamental value as well as its fruit and is a good choice for edible, moon, fragrance, rock, and pollinator gardens. The genus name, Selenicereus, honors the Greek moon goddess, Σελήνη (Selene) and is combined with the Latin word, cereus, meaning candle, a name used for upright cacti. The specific epithet, undulatus, is derived from the Latin word, unda, meaning wave, and refers to the stem margins.

 Type: Perennial vine


Bloom: Scented, nocturnal, trumpet-shaped, white or greenish-yellow, up to 14″ long from early summer to mid fall

Size: Up to 33′ long

Light: Full sun to partial shade; too much sun can cause sunburn, dehydration, and stem browning

Soil: Well-drained; prefers high humidity; reduce water in winter but do not let the plant dry out


Hardiness: Zones 10-11

Care: Remove yellow or dying leaves carefully to avoid introducing pathogens into the wounds.

Pests and Diseases: Mealy bugs, scale

Propagation: Stem cuttings, seed

Companion Plants: Ice plant, agave, yucca

Outstanding Selections: None available

Photo Credits: Wikipedia

By Karen