How to Grow Epiphyllums


Epiphyllum, known as the orchid cactus, is a rainforest cacti species that produces exotic, lush colored blooms perfect for indoor home growing. With over 100 varieties to choose from, just follow specific growing instructions and you are sure to find success with an orchid cactus of your own.

Step 1

Mix your own potting mix for best results. Combine two parts peat moss with one part sand and one part garden soil. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole.

Step 2

Grow orchid cacti from cuttings or as a small, healthy plant purchased from a reputable nursery. To grow a cutting, take a few inches of leaf from the mother plant of your choice and submerge it in a sandy potting mix until it roots and shoots.

Step 3

Transplant the new plant into the custom potting mix you created, keeping it moist but not water logged. Follow the same watering procedure for purchased plants. Maintain humidity levels at about 50 percent and mist lightly to encourage foliage health.

Step 4

Allow 12 hours of darkness at temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months and up to 70 degrees the rest of the year. In 2 to 3 years, day flowering orchid cacti will bloom in April to June, while night flowering should bloom in the late summer months through early fall.

Step 5

Fertilize the epiphyllum from spring to fall, with a break when blooms open. Use a diluted liquid fertilizer and apply sparingly, as too much fertilization can burn cacti root systems. Suspending fertilization during bloom periods reduces Nitrogen intake, halting the prolific growth of foliage and focusing energy on bloom production. Do not fertilize during the winter months.

Step 6

Allow the mature plant to become root bound and only re-pot if absolutely necessary. Rainforest cacti bloom when roots are bound and do not take well to transplanting, halting flower production until established in the new pot. This process could take years.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Peat moss
  • Garden soil
  • Sand
  • Balanced liquid fertilizer


  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension, Cactus
  • Washington State Unviversity Extension, Garden in Western Washington, Blooming Indoor Succulents
  • Penn State Cooperative Extension, Bloom N' News, Page 4: The Wonderful World of Rainforest Cactus
Keywords: growing epiphyllum, how to grow epiphyllum, growing orchid cacti

About this Author

Desirae Roy began writing in 2009. After earning certification as an interpreter for the deaf, Roy earned a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Eastern Washington University. Part of her general studies included a botany course leading to a passion for the natural world.