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Years ago a Design Client of mine gave me a large long floppy leaf that broke off his Night Blooming Cereus cactus. It could have just as easily come from my Grandmothers house plants, had she thought to share their mysterious nature with me. (Wiki says the nightblooming cereus is also referred to as Princess of the Night, Honolulu Queen, and Queen of the Night. Madonna is another name I’ve heard before.)

My Cereus is just called “Millie” and she barely has any soil – just a little 4″ pot. Millie can’t stand up on her own. She is so tall and gangly that she is supported by my Grandmother’s old oak umbrella stand! After a summer outside on my porch I hauled Millie and her umbrella stand inside at the end of September. First she rested in the coolness of my bedroom. Then about 10 days ago Millie made it into the living room where it’s warmer but has less light. In fact, that room has been very warm lately because it is cold enough to be tending fires in the wood stove.

Yesterday never got warm outside and by evening the dogs were insisting on curling up near the wood stove. It seemed like a great idea to me too so I found my book and enjoyed an hour of really warm reading. My nose discovered Millie’s bloom first. A heady floral citrus aroma took over the entire room about 10:00 PM and the random wild fragrance confused me until I spotted Millie’s GIANT white bloom resting along the edge of a vintage standing bird cage. All of this had been taking place inches away from the traffic flow between outdoors, the living room and kitchen – a very busy part of the cottage!

I took a zillion pics of Millie’s stunning bloom! I was so excited. The room smelled so wonderful that I decided to sleep on the sofa and just soak up the fullness of the event.

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The sony video battery was not cooperating but that’s okay. I guess I am not the only one who has a night blooming cereus because lots of people have created youtubes. This is one of the better ones:

Millie: After

Update: It has been so fun reading comments, but they have been filling my email instead of commenting here.

"Sure wish we had been at your house for book club for this event!
We'd have all slept over."

Arent they incredible plants? I have 'serious' night blooming envy Kris.
Aren’t they incredible plants? I call mine the Alien Plant because of the long tendrils that reach across the room.
When we lived in CO. with lots of hot, dry sun, I had 11 blooms in three days! The house had that perfumed air that is so unique.
The more light/heat you give it, the more blossoms you will have.
 (Wow, if I'd known 11 blooms were possible I doubt if I'd written up Millie!)