Nearly all cacti have the ability to bloom, but some have bigger, bolder flowers than others, including the Epiphyllum – or orchid cacti! For a spectacular flowering display, pop one of these in your home and make sure to be around for its short-lived floral presentation!
How to Grow Epiphyllum
Flowering time: epiphyllum are often grown as houseplants as they are relatively fuss-free. When they reach maturity, which is around 5 years old, they will produce large, showy flowers, which are usually sweetly scented and last two days or more. Do not worry if you miss the flowering of this plant, it will flower again. You can usually get several crops of flowers from one plant from late-spring to early-summer.
Location: as the vast majority of Epiphyllum are hanging plants, pop them in a macramé hanger or place on a shelf to get the best look and results from your plants.
Soil: use a succulent-based mix to give your plant plenty of drainage.
Light: choose a light location for growing Epiphyllum cactus. A location where they will get full morning sun but shelter from the midday light is best for their growth.
Water: because Epiphyllum are a genus of cactus they do prefer to be drier than most houseplants. From mid-spring until late summer, water the plants when the compost begins to dry out, but do not let the plants stand in water.
Care: often a low-maintenance and laid-back plant.
What’s special about this plant?
Epiphyllum comes is a Greek work and translates to “upon the leaf”. This may be due to this variety of cactus being more leaf based and less prickly. They are epiphytic plants, native to Central America. They have a number of common names, depending on the type of Epiphyllum but the most used include climbing cacti, orchid cacti and leaf cacti.
You can spot an Epiphyllum from other hanging cacti-species by their leaves. They tend to have broad and flat stems with lobed edges which are spineless. They’re relatively easy to make flower, however the flowers tend to only last a day, or two if you’re lucky. Flowers in an Epiphyllum are usually white or red; they are quite large with numerous petals and small divine.
Some will also bare edible fruit, but this is not too common when kept as a houseplant.
Epiphyllum are not cold-hardy and are best kept as houseplants or greenhouse specimens. That being said, they are very easy to care for as a houseplant. Watering can be a bit of an art – the trick is to not let them dry out completely, but be careful not to make the soil too soggy. The little-and-often approach is best. Or you can use self-watering pots and tools to help. Caring for Epiphyllums is a water balancing act. They cannot be allowed to dry out, yet overwatering is a death sentence to these cacti. If you can, use bottled or de-mineralised water to prevent unfavorable reactions to treated tap water. They are not keen on salt or sodium in particular.
If you want to grow more Epiphyllums, it is easy to do so via cuttings. Make a clean cut on new growth and allow the end to callus for a couple of days. Push the callused end into clean potting soil that is moderately moist. Place the container in bright, indirect light and keep the soil misted. It can take 3 to 6 weeks for the cutting to root. And you have a whole new plant!
Where can you find an Epiphyllum of your own?
Each species of the Epiphyllum genus is incredibly unique and stands out all on its own, but its care needs and preferences are somewhat similar across the board. Pretty Cactus Plants has a variety of cacti, including a few Epiphyllum, or “Epis” as they are sometimes known and can recommend care requirements and guidelines for each species. Donna, the owner of Pretty Cactus Plants, has a number of Epiphyllums of her own at home and can give first hand recommendations on location and care for each variety of this plant species.
Pretty Cactus Plants (www.prettycactus.co.uk) currently has stock of these fun and quirky houseplants and can be ordered online for direct delivery to your door across the UK.
ABOUT PRETTY CACTUS
Pretty Cactus Plants is run by Donna and her lovely team from the shop in Brooke, South Norfolk.
Donna started the business in 2018, growing a passion into a business. Donna had always been a plant lover, spending hours in the garden centre and DIY stores picking up sad and reduced pants – nursing them back to health. The homegrown plants were sold at country fayres and craft markets. Before long, Donna was so busy she decided to give up her corporate job and run Pretty Cactus as a full-time venture. Opening her very first shop and website to sell online.
Donna now works with a team or growers and distributors in the UK and Holland to source plants, trying, where possible to get hold of more unusual cacti, succulents, and houseplants.
Donna and the Pretty Cactus Plants team are always looking for new ways to style plants. Displaying these ideas in the shop and on social media. The Pretty Cactus shop has become an inspirational hub for plant lovers near and far who love to visit the store for ideas, plants, pots, and a bit of friendly plant chat too.