Orchid Cactus

Epiphyllum spp.

Litroos (Afr.)

profile iconEpiphyllum anguliger flowering profile
by Zapyon (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 8
profile iconEpiphyllum anguliger flowering profile
by Zapyon (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 8
The genus Epiphyllum is commonly known by a few names, such as Orchid Cactus and Climbing Cactus. It produces distinctive fishbone-shaped foliage with zig-zag margins. This genus contains around 10 species with smooth, green, deeply lobed leaves. Lobes are rounded to rectangular and this species produces 6-20cm long, yellow or white, nocturnal and sweetly scented blooms. If you are an early riser and usually early to bed, you may miss the show! These plants appreciate cool temperatures and actually need to be exposed to between 10-15 degrees Celsius in winter for a couple of weeks to force their night-time blooms. This genus originates from Mexico and is commonly grown as an ornamental plant both in the house and outdoors in its native environment of tropical forests in Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit and Oaxaca. They are epiphytic and thus grow without the need for soil substrate, they are naturally found in the forks of tree branches or in rock crevices where enough humus has accumulated to retain moisture.
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Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer, Spring

Fruiting time

Summer, Spring

Harvesting

Take cuttings after flowering. Feed during spring during the growth season to encourage more long cane-like shoots and therefore more blooms.

Propagation

Cuttings

Detach 4-6 in (10-15 cm) stem segments in spring and place upright in moist potting mix. Stem cuttings root easily, but you may wait a few years to see many blooms on a new plant.

Special features

Drought resistant

Fleshy stems store water for dry spells.

Indoor plant

Bright indirect sunlight is suitable indoors.

Pot plant

Perfect for hanging pots. Repot every 2-3 years, moving up to a pot 1 size larger. Wait till early spring to repot, never while it's blooming.

Attractive flowers

Attractive leaves

Special features

Origin

Southern Mexico.

Natural climate

Tropical forests with cold nights in winter

Environment

Light

Full Shade, Partial Shade, Partial Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Edible

The fruit is edible.

Personality

Family

Cactaceae

Flower colour

Pink, White, Red

Scent

Mild

Problems

They have few insect or disease problems. Watch out for standing water around the roots and don’t over water or fungus gnats and stem and root rot will become a problem.
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Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
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