Learn All About Orchid Cactus And Carry Out The Right Epiphyllum Care!

The extremely gorgeous orchid cactus plant can be a great addition to your homely spaces if you are willing to put in the required efforts at maintaining the plant as it can be a bit fussy. The ornamental flowers make everything worthy once they start blooming and can simply amaze everyone with their beauty. All you need to do right now is continue reading as we elaborate on this plant and then tell you the right way of growing and doing the epiphyllum care.

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orchid cactus

This plant grows in a group and gives immensely beautiful flowers that adorn the looks of the tree on which this plant grows. This plant is solely known for its magical flowers that stand in no comparison with any flowering plant of the entire plant kingdom.

The scientific name of the cactus orchid is Epiphyllum and belongs to the plant family name Cactaceae. These plants are natives of the tropical central region and portions of South America too. The epiphyllums can be spotted growing in dense tropical forests over tree crotches as well as dried up vegetation.

If you will go by the name of the plant, then you will surely be misjudging the nature of the plant which is not close to an orchid by any means at all. This plant is just a cactus plant and also belongs to the category of the epiphytes which are the ones that grow on other plants and depend on them for their survival.

Now there are two twists here. The first one is that despite being an epiphyte, it doesn’t behave like a parasitic plant and derives its nutrition from the air for surviving. The other unique aspect of this plant is that even though it is named as the cactus, there are no thorns and stickers in this plant like any regular cactus but it is a show plant with mesmerizing flowers instead.

Varieties of the epiphyllum plant

There is a whole series of species of this plant which includes both free as well as a densely flowering variety of plants and that makes this group apt for all types of growers. Space would never be a restriction if you want an orchid cactus in your house. Here are some of the major varieties of epiphyllum:

  • Epiphyllum oxypetalum
  • Aporophyllum
  • Chiapsia nelsoni
  • Disapora
  • Disophyllum
  • Epiphyllum Crenatum
  • Epiphyllum Hookeri
  • Epiphyllum Oxypetalum

Physical characteristics of the orchid cactus plant

orchid cactus

The looks of cactus orchid are the major exceptional thing about it and here are the unique morphological aspects of the plant:

  • The flowers are big and they grow out from the leave notches during the springtime and bloom till the end of the summers. They come in many colors that differ with the species with the white color being the most prominent one that can be easily spotted in the dark too.
  • The foliage of the tree doesn’t have anything unique but only adds to the charm of the flowers. The leaves look like narrow tubes with inward edges and almost no visible spines.
  • The overall appearance of the plant is similar to dangling and drop jewels that are up to twenty inches long too.
  • The branches of the plant grow in all directions and can be up to 2-6m tall.
  • The roots are of this plant are aerial.
  • They give fruits but rarely but give edible fruits that have a great texture and taste too almost similar to kiwi or passion vine fruit.

Growing the orchid cactus plant

The best part other than the majestic beauty of this plant is that they are very easy to grow and take care of. They make up to give the best show when they are grown in the hanging baskets or pots and the epiphyllum care would only require some effortx from your side.

Basic requirements of the plant

There are some basic things that you need to keep in mind while prepping to grow the plant.

  • The light requirements of this plant are very less and they must be protected from exposure to strong light or heat as the flowers and foliage can burn easily. In the summer season, they must be kept in shade while in the cooler seasons; they can be put under the sun.
  • The moisture needs of this plant are very high and they need it in all ways. Moist air is very good for their growth and the supply must be continuous to prevent drying up of the plant. They also need to be given clean water as they can be fussy about the unclean elements.
  • The soil medium required for the growth of these plants can be any regular potting mix with some sand and peat added to it for better quality. Again, the amendment should be done with clean soils free of any rocks, pebbles, or moisture.
  • They also must be grown and kept in an area that receives proper air circulation as they need to shed off the excess moisture too.

Method of propagating the plant

There are two ways in which this plant can be grown.

With the stem cuttings-

This is the faster method which involves the use of stem cuttings of a mature orchid cactus plant that can be cut in the blooming seasons. Choose any actively growing stem and cut out a piece cleanly. Now leave the stem for some time for the callus to emerge at the end.

Go ahead with inserting the stem from the callused end into the prepared pot with soil and then moisten the setting with some water spray. Keep watering the plant and keep it under bright but indirect sunlight. Within 3-6 weeks, roots will emerge.

With seeds-

This method will take a bit long and the blooming may occur even after five years. All you need to do is follow the method as stated on the seed packets or watch this video followed by taking care of the plant accordingly.

Caring for the orchid cactus plant

The epiphyllum care terms need to be changed according to the climatic conditions and that can be a little bit of effort as they are prone to withering away when exposed to frost, sunlight, or dry conditions.

  • The plant must be watered thoroughly enough so that the top 1/3rd soil bed remains damp. It should also be protected from water clogging to prevent root rotting or fungus issues. Make sure to water only when the soil becomes dry from the last watering.
  • The plant should be fed with a diluted liquid fertilizer in the 10-10-10 proportion during the blooming seasons and fall too. The ratio can be changed accordingly during fall months for better rooting and flowering in the next season. Don’t fertilize post-flowering beginning.
  • Frosty conditions below 35 degrees F can wither the plant completely, so give them good sun and warmth during winters.
  • Some diseases and minor pest problems trouble the plant but they can be easily treated with mild pesticides.

Conclusion

We understand that growing and caring for the orchid cactus is not that easy but we assure you that the results would be a delight to watch. You just need to be cautious about the steps and the plant will bloom in its full glory.

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