How to Get an Epiphytic Orchid Cactus to Bloom

Overview

Epiphytic orchid cactus flowers are gorgeous. But they're not orchids --- they belong to the large cactus family and hail from the tropical rain forests of Central and South America. They are surprisingly hardy as houseplants in many parts of the United States, provided you give them protection from cold winter temperatures. You can help orchid cactus to bloom if you follow some simple care instructions. Their blooms will enchant you and your friends from April until July.

Getting an Orchid Cactus to Bloom

Step 1

Give your orchid cactus the environmental conditions it needs. These include plenty of natural light and a temperature of 50 to 55 degrees in the winter. Be certain to keep the temperature above 46 degrees. If the winter temperature is too high, your orchid cactus will not bloom in the spring and summer. This plant can withstand a high temperature of about 86 degrees, so move your potted plant out of direct sun on hot, sunny days.

Step 2

Set your orchid cactus on a plant saucer filled with pebbles to provide the humidity it needs, ideally 50 to 80 percent. You can keep track of the humidity by placing a simple humidity meter near your plant. If you need to increase the humidity, lightly mist your plant with a fine spray of water.

Step 3

Water your orchid cactus once each week, much the same as you would water other types of houseplants. This plant prefers to be moist, but never soggy.

Step 4

Use a houseplant fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 5-1-4. Because this is a light solution, you can water your plant with it every time you water.

Step 5

Pinch off any new leaves you notice growing along with forming flower buds, beginning in April. The flowers will be larger if they don't have to compete for space with these leaves.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you begin to see any insects on your plant, control them right away because an unhealthy or threatened plant will not flower as well as a healthy one. Spray with insecticidal soap for aphids, mealy bugs, scale and spider mites.

Things You'll Need

  • Potted orchid cactus
  • Saucer
  • Pebbles
  • Liquid fertilizer

References

  • Orchid Cactus Cultivation
  • More Epiphyllum Information
Keywords: orchid cactus, epiphyllum flowers, houseplant care

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.