These very fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers, which bloom for only one night in June or July, are up to 4 inches wide and as much as 8 inches long. The waxy, creamy-white, many-petaled flowers are followed by a red-orange, short-spined elliptical fruit about three inches long.
The night-blooming cereus has sparse, angular, lead-gray, twiggy stems about 1/2 inch in diameter. Extremeley small spines grow along the 4 to 6 ribs of these woody stems, which can easily break. It can be erect or sprawling, reaching a length of up to 8 feet, but is usually half that length.
Night-blooming cereus is popular in rock gardens and can be grown from stem cuttings. After the cut end is is allowed to heal for several weeks, it is planted in dry sand. Like all cactus, night-blooming cereus may be protected in certain desert areas, and permits may be required to collect it.