Sunday, September 21, 2014

Epiphyllum in bloom. Bunga bakawali / Tan hua. 9.21.14

Epiphyllum oxypetallum.  9.21.14

Epiphyllum oxypetallum.  9.21.14 
 The annual blooming of the "bunga bakawali".  This year was the first time at the Battleground place.  I've been keeping it on the east side of the house, watering about every other week.

Unlike past bloom seasons, this time the flowers have opened one at a time.  Which is nice, because I missed some of them, so I had opportunity to catch this one.  The flower was fully open at 10:30pm, and starting to close by 5am.

Prior posts describe this plant, known in Southeast Asia as Bunga bakawali and in China as Tuan hua.  It's very beautiful.  The fleeting moment of beauty is a lot like life in general.

Adding to the other info I posted, is this from wikipedia:  "
In India it is called Brahma Kamalam, named after the Hindu god of creation, Lord Brahma. It is also believed that the wishes of People who pray to God while the flower is blooming will be fulfilled....

The Chinese chengyu (four character idiom) 曇花一現 (tan hua yi xian) uses this flower (tan-hua; 曇花) to describe someone who has an impressive but very brief moment of glory, like a "flash in a pan", since the flower can take a year to bloom and only blooms over a single night. Therefore someone described as "曇花一現" is generally understood to be a person who shows off or unexpectedly gains some achievement and is thought to be an exception or only lucky. The flower also has a rich history in Japan, where it is known as the 月下美人 (Gekka Bijin) or "Beauty under the Moon".
Epiphyllum oxypetallum. 9.21.14


  1. Boy oh boy, how do you get yours to bloom. I have about 10 and fail to bloom even 1. Starting from a cutting from a trade with a shop keeper who has a monster of a "tree" in front of her window. I gave her orchids in return for a slip. Her's bloom yr round with lots of blooms hanging main trunk reaching for the ceiling. I've asked the Epi Society for help but they don't know what they are doing, can't even keep one alive. Congrats on the beauty, because it supposes to bring good luck to have seen blooms of the night-blooming-cereus.

  2. It's almost completely dry all winter, in a cool room.
    i put it outside in a sheltered area, when all risk of frost is passed. Since it's in a container, I'm not totally organic with it. It gets a little dilute MG bloom food. It's on the east side of the house, and out of Southern sun completely. It did well on the North side of my old house. It's in an organic potting soil mix. I keep it sonewhat on the dry side.

    I tried cross pollinating it with a zygocactus, no idea if that would work. It did not take. Nothing lost.

    Now Im thinking about trying an epi hybrid. Ive grown them before, they did ok with the same treatment.

  3. I came close to having blooms. I did almost the same as you, some MG, some organic seaweed bloom food. Summer outdoors, winter indoors. I have buds the size of a grain of rice and they were all along most of the upper part of the biggest leaves. Then they all fell off. Must be temp. not yet favorable,too hot or too cold. As we are speaking there's a rice size bud on one of the bigger Epi on the outside stairway. I've only seen some fancy Epi from the society. In the winter they need a lot of protection from the cold and moisture. I bought a bunch of cuttings forgot about them; half died.