The tropical succulent genus Epiphyllum is often known as the orchid cactus or climbing cactus. There are more than a dozen species, as well as other related hybrids that come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The stems of these plants are typically long, flat, non-spiny, and trailing. When properly cared for, they exhibit spring or summer flowers that are vivid, substantial, fragrant, and bloom at night. In the wild, most of these epiphytic plants grow on tree branches or trunks rather than setting roots in the ground. The humid surroundings around them provide them with the nutrients and moisture they require.
Hanging baskets with orchid cacti’s trailing stems look nice in a garden setting. In spite of their conventional name, they are not like typical cacti species in that they dislike dry air and full sun. The conditions that mimic the epiphyllums’ native tropical forest habitat—warm, muggy, and shaded—are optimum for them. Their slow growth rate makes them a good option for a bathroom plant that is simple to grow.
Cactus orchid care
Epiphyllums should ideally be grown inside unless you can provide them with mild temperatures, dappled sunlight, humidity, and porous potting soil. They enjoy similar environmental factors as orchids and bromeliads. When grown outside, they need to have lots of air movement and protection from high gusts.
light needed for this plant
Filtered sunlight is ideal for orchid cacti because it closely resembles the lighting conditions seen in their native tropical forests. To prevent burning or white scabbing, keep them out of the full midday light for a few hours in the morning. Growing in a hanging basket beneath a tree works great outside.
Avoid placing your epiphyllum in a space where lights are left on after sunset for extended periods of time because this can affect flowering the next year.
Too much light may result in yellowing and withered growth in your plant. Too little light might cause delicate, leggy growth.
Soil needed for this plant
You shouldn’t grow your epiphyllum in the ground directly. The roots won’t be able to handle the normal soil’s excessive compactness, which will cause the plant to die. Continue using a loose, quickly draining potting mixture with additional light, porous elements to aid drainage. Perlite, bark, cocoa chips, or pumice can be added to an azalea mix to improve its performance.
Successful growth depends on finding the appropriate water balance. Orchid cactus require routine hydration during the growing season, unlike their relatives who are typical cacti. The potting mix needs to be wet but not drenched. The top third of the potting mix should ideally dry up before being rewatered. Reduce watering and relocate the plant to a cooler area throughout the winter. The ensuing season will see more robust, big blossoms thanks to this. For these delicate plants, it is best to use distilled or filtered water rather than tap water.
If your soil is too wet, especially when temperatures are on the cool side, branch dieback or rust spotting may be a problem. Repot the plant in a dry, quick-draining mixture, and be more careful with your watering if this starts to be a problem. Remove the diseased branches.
The ideal way to cultivate epiphyllum outdoors is in containers or hanging baskets so you can bring these delicate plants inside when the weather turns chilly. When it is cold outside or when the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, they won’t live.
If you keep an orchid cactus indoors, it might require a different place in the winter than it does in the summer. The optimal conditions are up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit from spring to fall, while a cooler location with filtered light is ideal in the winter. Away from radiators and chilly draughts, temperatures between 50 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal. Move back to the warmer spot after the blooms’ buds develop.
Higher humidity is required for epiphyllum growth. It can be beneficial to stand on a tray of wet gravel (while making sure the plant’s roots aren’t absorbing the water), mist the stems, or use a humidifier.
To promote healthy growth and bud stimulation, conservative fertilising of your epiphyllum a few times a year is advantageous. Be careful not to overfeed them, though, as they develop naturally in low-nutrient environments. It works best to choose a balanced, slow-release brand that contains no more than 10% nitrogen. Early spring applications of 2-10-10 can aid in promoting wholesome blossoms.