How to Grow Epiphyllum


Epiphyllum, also known as orchid cactus, belongs to a genus of night-blooming cacti native to Central America. Commonly grown as houseplants, they cannot tolerate temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Epiphyllum blooms during summer and produces large flowers up to 6 inches in length. However, epiphyllum only blooms after two to three years of growth. This orchid cactus, easy to grow indoors, requires little maintenance to thrive.

Step 1

Plant epiphyllum in a container filled with well-drained, fertile soil. Keep the container in a location that receives full morning sun and partial shade in the afternoon. Ensure the temperature is between 45 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.

Step 2

Dig a small hole in the soil slightly larger than the root ball of the epiphyllum. Place the cactus in the hole and then cover the roots with soil. Water thoroughly to collapse any air pockets and to bring moisture into contact with the roots.

Step 3

Water epiphyllum once per week during spring, summer and fall. The soil should be allowed to dry slightly before the application of water. Reduce watering to once per month during winter when the plant is dormant, allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

Step 4

Feed epiphyllum plants once per month during spring, summer and fall. Use a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer following the manufacturer's directions for proper application. Feed with a low nitrogen 0-10-10 NPK fertilizer during early November and late February to encourage flowering and new growth in spring.

Step 5

Transfer epiphyllum plants to a cool room during winter withan overnight temperature of 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the plant is in complete darkness at night to properly initiate the dormancy period, required for flowering.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not water epiphyllum during December or January. Do not re-pot epiphyllum as they prefer to be root-bound before flowering. Never expose epiphyllum plants to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or they will die.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Fertilizer


  • Clemson University: Types of Rainforest Cacti
  • Small-Space Gardening; Peter Loewer; 2004
  • Logee's Greenhouses Spectacular Container Plants; Byron Martin and Laurelynn G. Martin; 2001
Keywords: epiphyllum care instructions, epiphyllum plants, orchid cactus

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including