Epiphyllum Orchid Cactus Culture

Overview

The orchid cactus is a vivid, beautiful flowering plant that does not fit the typical visual associated with cacti. The epiphyllum orchid cactus is a rain forest dweller, not a desert inhabitant, and needs a culture that matches its natural environment for healthy growth. Provide necessary requirements for a vigorous addition of this sweetly fragrant, trailing plant to your home garden.

Light

Epiphyllum orchid cactus plants prefer exposure to bright filtered sun. Full sun is ideal during the morning hours, but by noon, full exposure is too intense, according to the Oregon State University Extension. When left in full sun exposure for too long, orchid cacti will experience sunburn, the Clemson University Extension notes. Sunburned orchid cacti display new growth that is wilted or yellow. If you bring your cactus plant indoors during the winter, place it in a curtained window or a location that receives adequate light to prevent diminished health.

Water

Adequate water is essential for successful flowering of the epiphyllum orchid cactus. Unfortunately, the worst thing you can do is overwater your cactus, according to the Oregon State University Extension. Waterlogged soil may trigger root rot of your plant and attracts water-loving fungi that need standing water for germination. Water weekly but allow the top 2 to 3 inches of soil to completely dry out before rewatering; adjust your watering schedule if soil takes longer to dry. The goal is to keep roots moist but not saturated.

Temperature

Though epiphyllum orchid cactus plants can handle high temperatures when in a moist, shaded environment, they perform best in temperatures that range from 45 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Clemson University Extension. For orchid cacti that have begun flowering, nighttime winter culture needs to adhere to a temperature range of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for successful bloom.

Climate

Like the culture of the rain forest, humid conditions are essential for epiphyllum orchid cacti. This flowering cactus plant thrives in a minimum of 50 percent humidity, according to the Clemson University Extension. Consider spraying your cactus plants with a mist of water if humidity dips too low as extremely depleted conditions may contribute to root problems, particularly if soil is not well drained. Additionally, bud drop commonly occurs without adequate levels of humidity.

Soil

Well-drained soil rich in organic content is the ideal culture for ephiphyllum orchid cactus plants. As suggested by the Clemson University Extension, the following is the winning soil formula: one part sand plus one part garden soil plus two parts peat moss. Fertilize the soil with a 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer and avoid those with a nitrogen content that exceeds 10 percent, according to the Oregon State University Extension.

Keywords: epiphyllum orchid cactus, epiphyllum cactus culture, orchid cactus culture

About this Author

Tarah Damask's writing career, beginning in 2003, includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum, and articles for eHow. She has a love for words and is an avid observer. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.