How To Grow Epiphyllum Orchid Cactus

To cultivate Epiphyllum cactus, pick a spot with filtered light. The optimal location for their growth is one that provides full morning sun but shade from intense midday sunshine.

Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer that has been diluted during the spring and fall growing seasons. Use a 2-10-10 ratio in February to encourage flowering and root growth. Stop feeding the plant once flowering starts and don’t resume it until October.

These plants prefer low temperatures, and to induce blooming in the winter, they need to be exposed to temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 15 degrees C). However, if the temperature falls below 35 F/1 C, the plant will die.

Maintain a moderate moisture level in the top third of the soil, but keep an eye out for standing water around the roots and avoid overwatering to prevent stem and root rot.

Water and light requirements for epiphyllum plants must be balanced. With proper care, they have minimal pest or disease issues and can blossom and possibly bear fruit all season long.

What can I do to make my orchid cactus flower?

Growing orchid cactus is a delight because of its large, cup-shaped blooms in exquisite hues. Put it in a hanging basket to display it, letting the long stems spill over the container.

The stems of orchid cacti are large, flat, and have serrated edges. Their maximum size is 2 feet (60 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide. They don’t put on much of a show, but you can rely on them to bloom every spring.

Flowers can be 4-8 in (10-20 cm) broad and appear at the ends of the stems. Epiphyllum hybrids, the majority of which are grown now, can be pink, red, white, yellow, orange, purple, or bicolored. You’ll get several months of blooming if you give your tropical cactus lots of sunshine.

Pruning Orchid Cactus

Unless you wish to limit its size, you won’t need to prune. After it stops flowering is the best time to trim it back. To avoid ripping the stems, use clean, sharp pruning scissors.

Keep those cuttings from the orchid cactus! To get more of these fascinating plants, propagate them. (See below, “Propagation”).

Wondering Whether to Repot…or Not?

Every two to three years, repot and upgrade to a larger pot. A little pot-bound orchid cactus enjoys and blooms best in this environment. Never repot it while it is in bloom because this will make the buds and blooms fall off.

Instead, top-dressing large plants involves adding a layer of new potting soil. To prevent dirt from spilling out while watering, leave about an inch (2.5 cm) of gap between the soil and the container rim.

How to Make Orchid Cactus Bloom

It’s simple to grow this flowering cactus, however there are a few things you can do to encourage blooming:

  • Give it a break this winter. For the plant to set buds in the winter, it has to have a cool, dry rest period of roughly 8–10 weeks. During this period, water lightly and cease fertilizing.
  • Bring some clarity. All year long, keep your orchid cactus in direct light. Keep the plant away of direct sunlight if you transfer it outside for the summer.
  • Feed it. Fertilizer with a high phosphorus content will promote more flowers. Feeding should begin in the early spring and continue into the fall.
  • Just let it be. Keep the plant in the same spot after the buds start to develop. It will lose its buds and flowers if you move it because of variations in temperature and light. Maintain it away from drafty areas as well, such as entrances and HVAC vents.

One of the most well-known species in this genus is Epiphyllum oxypetalum, which is seen below. It produces fragrant, white flowers that bloom for just one night before dying by morning. You can capture it in full bloom if you approach it covertly at night.

Orchid Cactus Problems and Solutions

blown-off flower buds? Don’t move the plant after the buds have formed. Flower buds will most likely fall off as the light changes. But don’t worry, these tropical hybrids are hardy and, with proper care, will bloom exquisitely when given what they desire.

Is there a problem with your plant? Verify the plant for any potential mealybug and scale infestations. To stop pests from spreading to your other houseplants, treat any infestation quickly and isolate the damaged plant.

Stem rot, which is brought on by overwatering, manifests as limp stems that darken at the base. Any rotting stems can be removed at the soil line.

Can Epiphyllum be grown indoors?

Cacti belonging to the Epiphyllum genus, sometimes known as orchid cacti, are frequently planted as indoor plants due to their low maintenance requirements. Large, beautiful flowers that are typically delightfully fragrant and last two days or longer are produced by these cacti. Some species, including Epiphyllum oxypetalum, are nocturnal and only bloom at night. The majority of epiphyllums are epiphytic, which means they only rely on other plants for support while growing. To accommodate their long, drooping, leaf-like branches, they are frequently cultivated in hanging baskets, though they can also be grown in containers.

Growing Conditions

Epiphyllums are best cultivated in heated greenhouses or indoors because they are hardy to roughly 50 F (10 C) but need at least 60 F (15 C) throughout the growing season.

Set the pots in filtered bright light with a moderate to high humidity level. Place the pot on a tray packed with gravel and keep the tray moistened, but not so much that the water reaches the surface, to increase the humidity.

Epiphyllums need growth medium with a strong drainage pattern. Grow them in regular cactus soil with additional perlite or grit. Alternatively, combine one part peat-free multifunctional compost with three parts loam-based compost, two parts grit or perlite, and one part.

Pruning and Training

Cut or trim stems that are too lengthy. Usually, new shoots form immediately behind the incision. However, because the plant will need less water after cutting, take care not to overwater.

In their pots, large Epiphyllum can become unstable. Repot the plant into a broader or a heavier pot, such as one made of terracotta. Alternately, try tying the stems up with canes, but this can be unsightly.


The two most effective ways to multiply Epiphyllum are by seeds and cuttings.

planting seed:

  • Plant seeds in the spring or summer.
  • Spread the seed evenly over the top of a container once it has been filled with cactus compost;
  • Lightly sprinkle the compost with a fine mist sprayer;
  • add a thin layer of fine grit as a finishing touch;
  • Keep the pot around 70F (21C) by covering it with a clear plastic bag or putting it in a propagator;
  • Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the covering;
  • Ensure that the compost is moist but not soggy;
  • When the seedlings are crowded and big enough to handle comfortably, prick them out;
  • Their flowering period ranges from four to seven years.
  • Cut the leaf-like stem into parts of 6 to 9 inches (15 to 22.5 cm) and let it in a warm area for several days to callus;
  • Add cactus compost to a pot until it is one-third full, then top with grit. One to two inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of cuttings should be inserted;
  • Keep the temperature between 65 and 75 F (18 and 24 C) and keep the compost gently damp;
  • If plucked early in the season, they should root in three to six weeks and bloom the following year.

Grower’s Tips

Water the plants as the soil starts to dry up from mid-spring through late summer, but avoid letting them stand in water. Apply fertilizer to cacti every two weeks. Move Epiphyllums over the winter to a colder location, around 52 to 57 F (11 to 14 C), and keep the compost just moist until the flower buds form to promote blooming. Once this has occurred, turn up the heat and start watering again as usual.

How are Epiphyllum orchids cared for?

Because epiphyllum plants are tropical cacti rather than desert cactus, they have particular needs. Your epiphyllum will prosper if you give it the right care.

  • 1. Fertilizing: Avoid fertilizing your epiphyllum plant during the winter months when it is dormant and instead feed it with a low-nitrogen fertilizer in late winter and mid-fall.
  • 2.Light: Despite being a succulent plant, the epiphyllum dislikes much light. Try to arrange it where it receives direct morning sun, but afternoon shade or indirect light.
  • 3.Misting: Because epiphyllum is a tropical plant, it enjoys high levels of wetness and humidity. If you live in a dry area, give it a weekly mist of water or think about buying a humidifier.
  • 4. Pests Epiphyllum is preyed upon by mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites. Swab the damaged region of the plant with a cotton ball dipped in a solution of rubbing alcohol and water if you spot an infestation.
  • 5.Watering: Make sure your epiphyllum gets enough water. Make sure the soil is kept wet and watch for standing water, which is a symptom of overwatering. Use distilled or filtered water instead of tap water if necessary because epiphyllum can be particularly sensitive to it.

How often should Epiphyllum be watered?

Before planting, give cuttings about a week to harden off. Plant cuttings in a potting soil combination that is clean and dry. The ideal potting mixture is said to consist of three parts commercial potting soil and one part small to medium pumice. Use bark chips or perlite in the absence of pumice. The soil needs to retain moisture while draining swiftly.

For optimal results, plant cutting upside down. Place the little growing end in the ground 1 to 2 inches deep. Only two of the leaf serrations—and only those two—should be below the soil line. Put the pot in a well-lit, shaded area. Cuttings that have been rooted shouldn’t be left to dry out. At first, water sparingly; after that, water once per week. The sole exception is when the cactus “rests” in the winter. About once every month during this time, use water.

Why doesn’t my Epiphyllum bloom?

These plants, as I previously stated, are epiphytes and develop in the more shaded areas of the forest. Therefore, be careful not to offer them TOO much direct sun, but also keep in mind that if you put them somewhere too dark, they won’t bloom for you.

I once propagated an Epiphyllum oxypetalum that belonged to my great aunt. She handed me some cuttings because she frequently traded them with other female coworkers.

As a floor specimen, it developed into a monster that actually touched the ceiling!

Despite how long ago it was, I was fortunately able to preserve a photo of the moment it first began to blossom. Later, I’ll share the techniques I used to make it bloom. Isn’t it beautiful?

The plant in the photos below is no longer mine because I left it behind, but the images you just saw farther up in this page are all of my plant as it is in the year 2020.

The Epiphyllum oxypetalum I had as a child grew in front of a sizable window that faced south. The blinds were left open throughout the winter and it was able to withstand the weather.

The remainder of the year, the direct sunlight was blocked out by blinds, providing it with very brilliant, indirect light for the majority of the day.

This plant’s location turned out to be excellent. Remember that direct sunlight can never be too much.

Many years later, I bought myself another one, and it now happily resides in front of an eastern window.

These plants are frequently offered for sale in hanging baskets, but I prefer to keep mine on the ground or on plant stands. They will ultimately grow too big for a hanging basket and will appear weird.

They can get top heavy, therefore I prefer to plant them in a hefty pot made of terra cotta or ceramic.

How much time does Epiphyllum need to bloom?

Epiphyllum cacti are commonly referred to as “epis” by collectors who are growing them. True Epiphyllums as well as a number of hybrids are offered for trade. The seeds germinate easily, but it could take the plants up to five years to blossom.

Stem cuttings made in the spring or summer are a more popular form of propagation with speedier results. Make a clean cut on any new growth, then wait a few days for the end to callus. Incorporate the calloused end into fresh, moist potting soil. Keep the soil misted and place the container in a bright, indirect area of light. The cutting may take 3 to 6 weeks to establish root.

How frequently do I need to water my orchid cactus?

The orchid cactus is a robust indoor plant that is not for the timid! Although it’s simple to cultivate, your friends will think you’re an expert houseplant grower because to its exotic appearance. The orchid cactus has unusual-looking long, flat leaves that grow to twist and curl. It’s a great option for hanging baskets and tall pots because the leaves trail.

If you cultivate orchid cactus, grow it in a smooth, modern ceramic container to highlight the texture of the foliage. Alternately, cultivate an orchid cactus in a pot with a rough edge to contrast the foliage.

Cactus orchid Questions If you have any inquiries regarding orchid cactus houseplants, our specialists are happy to assist. Simply send us an email.

Orchid Cactus Growing Instructions

In strong light, cultivate orchid cacti. This tropical houseplant is ideal for window-side hanging baskets (or you can take it outdoors to a shaded place for a little summer vacation). The plant may produce stunning, creamy-white orchid-like blossoms if it receives adequate light (hence its common name).

When the potted soil dries out, water the orchid cactus. This indoor plant, which is native to tropical rainforests and grows on trees, doesn’t like its soil to stay wet all the time and will rot if it is overwatered. Typically, depending on factors like plant size, temperature, and how much light your orchid cactus receives, that means watering it once every 10 days or less.

The orchid cactus demands high humidity, just like orchids and other tropical plants do, yet it typically thrives in typical home environments.

Add these varieties to your orchid cactus to complete the look:

Canine Cactus Another low-maintenance cactus that trails from hanging baskets is the dog tail cactus. With the orchid cactus, it looks gorgeous.

My orchid cactus can I place outside?

A. The orchid cactus is a lovely floral plant that deviates from the stereotype of cacti. The Epiphyllum orchid cactus inhabits rain forests rather than deserts. This cactus is indigenous to Brazil, where it can be found growing in the sides and forks of trees above rain forest habitats. It produces lovely flowers that usually bloom for a few days and open in the evening. It is pretty easy to grow an Epiphyllum cactus outside of its natural habitat, but you must pay close care to the temperature, lighting, and humidity.

Epiphyllum prefer bright, filtered sun exposure. Full exposure to the sun is great in the morning, but it becomes too powerful by noon. They will get sunburned if exposed to the sun in full for an extended period of time. Plants with sunburn show withered or yellow new growth. If you move your plant inside over the winter, make sure it is in a window that is covered or gets enough light to avoid a decline in health. If your plant spends the summer outdoors and you bring it within to overwinter, make sure you put it in a room with natural light that is chilly (40 degrees F or more). It can postpone blossoming the following summer if lights are turned on after sunset. These plants require this period of rest throughout the colder months. Keep an eye out for excess or underexposure to light in your cactus. It usually indicates too much light when your plant’s growth becomes yellowish and withered. Lack of light causes weak, lanky plants. Light to dark green with slightly reddened borders should characterize new growth. This demonstrates that the plant is receiving sufficient light.

For the Epiphyllum orchid cactus to successfully flower, it needs enough water. Unfortunately, according to the Oregon State University Extension, overwatering your cactus is the worst thing you can do. Root rot may result from waterlogged soil, which also attracts water-loving fungus that require standing water to germinate. Water once a week, but wait until the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil are totally dry before re-watering. If the soil takes longer to dry, adjust your watering plan. Roots should be wet but not saturated.

Despite being able to withstand high temperatures in wet, shaded environments, epiphyllum plants thrive in temperatures between 45 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Clemson University Extension. For orchid cacti that have already started to bloom, overnight winter culture must maintain a temperature range of 40 to 50 degrees F. Due to our climate’s favorable outdoor conditions in the summer and early fall, this plant thrives.

Humid circumstances are crucial to both human civilization and rain forest culture. This flowering cactus grows best in environments with at least 50% humidity. In the winter, our dwellings are frequently rather dry. If the humidity falls too low, think about misting your plants with water. Extremely dry circumstances can cause root issues, especially if the soil is poorly drained. Furthermore, bud drop frequently happens when humidity levels are insufficient.

For Ephiphyllum plants, an optimum soil environment is one that drains well and is high in organic matter. The winning soil recipe, according to the Clemson University Extension, includes one part sand, one part garden soil, and two parts peat moss. According to the Oregon State University Extension, fertilize the soil using a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer and stay away from those that have a nitrogen level greater than 10%.

Plant pests barely affect these plants at all. If the soil is kept excessively wet, fungus gnats could become an issue. Slugs and snails can cause significant harm to these plants if they are able to get to them when you are growing them outdoors in the summer.

Epiphyllum typically need to be root bound before they bloom. This implies that before they will start to bloom, their roots must completely fill the container. Plants cultivated in 4-inch pots will flower more quickly than those grown in 8-inch pots. While hybrid epiphillums bloom during the day, true epiphillums bloom at night. White and yellow flowers begin to bloom in late April. Pink and red flowers begin to bloom in May. (deep reds and purples). Repotting should be done on average every seven years. Wait about a month after blooming before repotting. Keep some of the dirt around the root ball in place. Simply brush off any extra soil with care before repotting in new soil. Re-potted plants shouldn’t be watered for a week. After that, water sparingly for a month before going back to your regular schedule.

Plant cuttings are available for purchase or for taking. If you decide to start with cuttings, give them about a week to harden off before planting. Plant cuttings in a potting soil combination that is clean and dry. Three parts commercial potting soil and one part small to medium pumice provide the ideal potting mixture for cuttings. Use bark chips or perlite in the absence of pumice. The soil needs to retain moisture while draining swiftly. For optimal results, plant cutting upside down. Place the little growing end in the ground 1 to 2 inches deep. There should be two leaf serrations that are below the soil line. Put the pot in a well-lit, shaded area. Cuttings that have been rooted shouldn’t be left to dry out. At first, water sparingly; after that, water once per week.

Sullivan County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension employs Susan M. Dollard as a horticulture community educator, Master Gardener, and Tree Steward Coordinator.