Echinopsis mirabilis (Flower of Prayer)

Echinopsis mirabilis (Flower of Prayer)on 3-30-19, #557-1.

Flower of Prayer

Echinopsis mirabilis

ek-in-OP-sis  mih-RAB-ih-liss

Synonyms of Echinopsis mirabilis (5) (Updated on 11-11-21 from Plants of the World Online): Acanthopetalus mirabilis (Speg.) Y.Itô, Arthrocereus mirabilis (Speg.) W.T.Marshall, Arthrocereus mirabilis var. gracilior (Backeb.) Donald, Setiechinopsis mirabilis (Speg.) Backeb. ex de Haas, Setiechinopsis mirabilis var. gracilior Backeb.

Echinopsis mirabilis Speg. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Echinopsis. It was named and described as such by Carlo Luigi Spegazzini in Anales de Museo Nacional de Buenos Aires in 1905.

The genus, Echinopsis Zucc., was named and described by Joseph Gerhard Zuccarini in Abhandlungen der Mathematisch (short version) in 1837.

As of 11-11-21 whenthispage was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 71 species in the Echinopsis genus. It is a member of the plant family Cactaceae with 146 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.


Echinopsis mirabilis on 3-30-19, #557-2.

I brought this Echinopsis mirabilis home from Lowe’s on March 29, 2019. The label stated it was Setiechinopsis mirabilis. When I did my research I found that name is now a synonym of Echinopsis mirabilis, which was the name it was given in 1905. I thought the plant was very interesting, being very dark green in color with the fuzzy appendages sticking out.

The plant was growing in a 4 oz. (approximately 2 1/2” diameter x 2 1/4” tall) pot. The plant measured approximately 1 1/8” wide x 2 5/8” tall without the spines. It had what appeared to be a side branch with an old flower on the end sticking out of the top. There are several other fuzzy-looking buds sticking out of the side.

The plant is from Altman Plants and the label states:

“Drought tolerant when established. Needs well-draining soil. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost to prevent possible scarring. Looks best with regular watering in hotter months.”

Luckily, I found this plant without one of those goofy strawflowers hot-glued to the top.

Echinopsis mirabilis on 3-30-19, #557-3.

Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) says Echinopsis mirabilis is “much underrated in cultivation, perhaps because it is so easy to grow, notwithstanding this, it is one of the most fascinating and showy species.”

Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Eastern Argentina
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (30-40° F)
Size: Dave’s Garden says under 6”
*Light: Sun to part shade
**Soil: Very well-draining soil. Potting soil amended with pumice or chicken grit and perlite.
***Water: Regular watering during the summer. Very little, if any, during the winter.
Flowers: Showy white flowers at night.

*During the summer, I keep most of my cactus on the back deck where they receive full sun. I had the Echinopsis mirabilis on the front porch with most of the succulents. During the winter most cactus aren’t picky about the light because they are basically dormant. For several winters, mine were in front of the east-facing sliding door in the dining room so they didn’t get much light. I built a new shelf for the bedroom so now they are in front of a west-facing window. The succulents are on a shelf in a south-facing window in a cool bedroom.

**I used 2 parts Miracle Grow Potting Soil with 1 part additional perlite and 1 part chicken grit for many years. I started using a 50/50 mixture of Miracle Grow Potting Soil and pumice in 2018 with favorable results. I also use Schultz Potting Soil which has fewer chunks of bark. I purchased the pumice online from General Pumice but you can get smaller quantities on Ebay. The problem with Miracle Grow and other peat-based potting soil is that once it gets dry it doesn’t absorb water very well. So, during the winter months, the mixture can become hard. Sometimes I repot in the fall with a fresh mixture so the potting soil will be loose for the winter. The timed-release fertilizer in the potting soil won’t be activated until you water anyway. Pumice also has nutritional value. Cactus and succulent enthusiasts recommend not to use peat-based potting soil, but around here that is difficult to find. I haven’t tried coir yet… There is a lot of cactus and succulent recipes online and you just have to experiment to see what you and your cactus like.

***I water my cactus and succulents on a regular basis during the summer but barely ever in the winter (maybe a little in January) until close to time to take them back outside. 

Echinopsis mirabilis on 3-30-19, #557-4.

This plant actually has more in common with some Cereus species than species in the Echinopsis genus. The flowers open at night and for only one night. The flowers are self-fertile and supposedly produce “hundreds” of seeds per fruit whether they have been pollinated or not. BUT… this silly plant is strangely monocarpic which means it will die sometime after flowering. Fortunately, it will produce several flowers in succession. The fuzzy appendages will apparently lead to more flowers. The one coming out of the top is from an old flower and the dried seed pod is hanging off the end. They flower in ther second year and the plants seldom grow to more than about 6″ tall.

Echinopsis mirabilis on 3-30-19, #557-5.

The Echinopsis mirabilis appears to produce one central spine and multiple radial spines from its fuzzy areoles. There are longer spines, approximately 1″ long. on the upper part of the plant. There appear to be 12 columnar ribs on this plant.

Echinopsis mirabilis bud on 5-5-19, #566-23.

On May 5 I noticed it was about to flower. WOW! I got pretty excited! This was going to be a whole new experience!

Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-15-19, #572-1.

I almost forgot all about it until May 15 when I took the above photo. I thought how neat this was going to be for this plant to flower.

Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-18-19, #574-1.

The Echinopsis mirabilis bud was just about ready to open on May 18.

Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-18-19, #574-2.

I was getting pretty excited and checked on it several times during the day.


Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-19-19, #575-11.

I checked the next afternoon, expecting to see a flower, and instead, I saw this! The flower had opened and was already wilted! GEEZ!

Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-19-19, #575-12.

I had forgotten, or overlooked, the fact that the Echinopsis mirabilis is a night bloomer. GEEZ!!!

Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-19-19, #575-13.

On the bright side, there is another one starting to grow. I am wondering if all those other fuzzy appendages are past flowers or where new flowers will be.

The sad thing is that this species is monocarpic and will die after it is finished flowering at some point. The good news is that the flowers are self-fertile and produce 100’s of viable seeds. That would be really interesting if their seeds came up.

Echinopsis mirabilis on 5-25-19, #576-25.

Still working on it…

Echinopsis mirabilis on 6-3-19, #581-4.

On June 3, the flower stem had grown a lot longer…

Echinopsis mirabilis bud on 6-3-19, #581-5.

And the bud was getting bigger.

Echinopsis mirabilis at 7:20 PM on 6-4-19, #582-1.

At about 7:20 PM Tuesday evening on June 4, I thought I better go check on this plant to see what the bud looked like. It was getting really close and I knew it would open that night.

Echinopsis mirabilis bud at 7:20 PM on 6-4-19, #582-2.

The twisted appearance is pretty neat. Kind of like it is unwinding. 🙂

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:34 PM on 6-4-19, #582-3.

Echinopsis mirabilis


WOW! AMAZING! BEAUTIFUL! I was nearly speechless! There have been a few times in my life I have seen something so amazing I was speechless! A miracle of nature right before my eyes! I ran back inside to grab the camera…

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:35 PM on 6-4-19, #582-4.

It’s like everything, every movement, every breath, every thought stopped when I was looking at this flower. Everything except taking photos.

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:35 PM on 6-4-19, #582-5.

The flower is so HUGE in comparison to the size of the plant itself!

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:35 PM on 6-4-19, #582-6.

It’s like the love of your life looking you right in your eyes for the first time. Her smile, the twinkle in her eyes as she peered into your very soul! (Then you meet her for the first time after 36 years shopping in Wal-Mart and you strike up a conversation. Then she says, “Who are you?”).

Echinopsis mirabilis flower at 10:35 PM on 6-4-19, #582-7.

So beautiful and amazing! I took a whiff to see what it smelled like. It was weird. Barely any scent at all… Good thing it is self-pollinating. 🙂

Echinopsis mirabilis on 6-5-19, #583-16.

The day after… Such a shame the flower only lasts one night…

Echinopsis mirabilis on 6-15-19, #590-7.

The Echinopsis mirabilis with two more buds on June 15.

Echinopsis mirabilis on 6-22-19, #593-14.

I check almost every day to see how the buds are progressing.

Echinopsis mirabilis at 6:52 PM on 6-26-19, #596-6.

Hmmm… On June 25 I checked and it looked like both buds would open on the evening of the 26th. Then, when I checked on the 26th, one had already opened during the night. I MISSED IT!

Echinopsis mirabilis at 7:46 PM on 6-26-19, #596-7.

Well, I wasn’t going to miss it AGAIN! I know I said that before… At 7:46 PM I thought I would have time to take a photo every hour to see how it progressed. Well, I guess I had other distractions and that didn’t happen.

Echinopsis mirabilis at 10:20 PM on 6-26-19, #596-8.

Then at 10:20 PM the flower was open.

Echinopsis mirabilis at 10:21 PM on 6-26-19, #596-6.


Echinopsis mirabilis at 3 1/2″ tall on 10-11-19, #639-25.

I had to move the potted plants inside on October 11 because an “F” was in the forecast. I always take photos of the plants as I bring them inside and measure the cactus and some of the succulents. The Echinopsis mirabilis measured 3 1/2″ tall at the time. It was 2 5/8″ tall x 11/8″ wide when I brought it home from Lowe’s on 3-29-19. That is pretty good growth over the summer plus with all the flowers!

Echinopsis mirabilis in its new pot on 11-13-19, #649-8.

I repotted several cactus and succulents so their soil would be nice and loose for the winter and some needed bigger pots. I decided I better put the Echinopsis mirabilis in a larger pot since it had been in the same small pot since I brought it home.

The Echinopsis mirabilis has definitely been an interesting plant to grow. I will continue adding more photos and information as time goes by.

Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) has more information that you may find useful. Click on the link below for further reading.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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