Late bloomer: epiphyllum oxypetalum/ kheng huay

Every cloud has a silver lining.

It was a dark stormy night. We were woken rudely by the heavy rain, lightning and thunderstorm. L dashed upstairs to check the drain opening, lest it be choked with dead leaves.  3am.  Everything’s fine.

And the silver lining?   The kheng huay has bloomed.  All 3 buds.

Such a blessing.  One night later and L would have missed the sight as he would be away for one week.  And I would have missed the sight too, as the kheng huay only bloomed at night and last 1-2 days.

L brought back the cactus looking plant – kheng huay (also known as white orchid cactus or Queen of the Night), one afternoon from the market.  Hot sun and water constantly were the instructions from the seller.  Google it, L instructed. I procrastinated.  Months later, and several charred leaves, I googled kheng huay and realised an entire community on the internet grows this plant.  All the way to Siberia.

Turns out, the kheng huay or epiphyllum oxypetalum takes in filtered light and little water.  L took some convincing because the nurseries in Singapore apparently grew them under hot sun.  Not long after he took them under the trellis, 3 buds formed.

Hurray for the late bloomer.  What a timing and lesson for me.  A late bloomer is defined in wiki as a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until late in life.  In a society where youth is celebrated, some bloom later than others.

“A painting done by Picasso in his mid-twenties was worth, an average of four times as much as a painting done in his sixties. For Cézanne, the opposite was true. The paintings he created in his mid-sixties were valued fifteen times as highly as the paintings he created as a young man. The freshness, exuberance, and energy of youth did little for Cézanne. He was a late bloomer—and for some reason in our accounting of genius and creativity we have forgotten to make sense of the Cézannes of the world.  Sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.” (Gladwell)

Read more about late bloomers in life from Malcolm Gladwell: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/10/20/081020fa_fact_gladwell

Other amazing late bloomers: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/galleries/2010/11/15/successes-that-were-late-bloomers.slide13.html

http://www.secondjourney.org/newsltr/Archives/Blanchard1_0508.htm

2 thoughts on “Late bloomer: epiphyllum oxypetalum/ kheng huay

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