Orchid cactus: The 'Cinderella' flower worth a wait
By Xu Chenlu
In China, the equivalent saying to "flash in the pan" is "a bloom of the orchid cactus."
For those who do not understand what the orchid cactus is, this proverb may seem strange. In fact, it is related to the characteristics of the orchid cactus: It blossoms only for a single night once a year, which matches the fairy tale of "Cinderella."
The orchid cactus has several species, most of which are native to areas including Mexico and Central America but have now been cultivated worldwide. The plant can produce large, showy flowers with a sweet scent that usually blossom during the night. In China, southwestern Yunnan Province is famous for the orchid cactus.
The orchid cactus can grow well in hanging baskets to accommodate the long, leaf-like stems, but other containers are also good for it. It loves a warm and humid environment with partial sun, but is not hardy to frost or strong sunlight. If you hope to raise one, make sure to control the temperature to within 15 to 25 degrees Celsius.
The orchid cactus will bloom on a night between June and October, so if your orchid cactus produces buds, make sure to check it regularly, since you do not want to miss the rare and annual chance to watch the beautiful flower after so long a wait.