The Epihyllum plant is a genus of cacti native to Central and South America, known for their beautiful and delicate flowers. Epiphyllum are of the true cacti class, requiring warm conditions and special soil. Most Epiphyllum plants grown in the home are hybrid varieties which are more hardy, but special care is needed for the root system.
The Epiphyllum plant requires a short dormancy period during the winter, the plant requiring exposure to the same amount of light that is present outside the home. Shorter days trigger the flower growth in the spring. This will also reduce excessive root growth during the winter, which expends excessive energy which is required for flower production.
Using the correct pot size and material is important for healthy root growth. Plastic pots make the soil cool and moist, which is preferable for the Epiphyllum plant. Roots do not stick to the side of plastic pots, reducing broken roots when the plant requires re-potting. Epiphyllums natural habitat is of growing in shallow, decaying material that is moist and cool. Pots should be small to reduce root growth that reduces energy for flower production. Epiphyllums plants should be planted in pots slightly smaller than they would appear to require, which increases flower production. Re-potting is required only after two or three years.
Epiphyllum plants should contain some organic matter that has a slightly acidic reaction to emulate the Epis natural environment. Oak leafmold is the best for the plants roots, as well as aged manure. Coarse sand or inorganic grit is required in the soil to add drainage. Regular potting soil will kill an Epiphyllum plant. Bugs in regular potting soil are dangerous for the roots. Specially formulated cacti soil is the required potting medium.