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How to Care for a White Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum)

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How to Care for a White Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum)

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Overview

You can make your garden look like a Central American rain forest when you grow orchid cactus. The white flowering variety is typically a night bloomer, so it can add glamor and interest to a moon garden, which you can enjoy at night during the summer months. Although this flowering plant is a cactus and not a member of the orchid family, its stunning flowers are just as beautiful. You can easily grow this plant as a houseplant, which means you can move it from place to place to provide it with the environmental conditions it needs and also to show it off when it's in bloom.

Caring for White Orchid Cactus

Step 1

Plant your orchid cactus in a pot with a drainage hole using a standard potting mix. If you add a little sand, perlite or shredded orchid bark into the mix, your plant will thrive even better.

Step 2

Keep your orchid cactus on a saucer filled with pebbles to give it the humidity it needs. To check that the humidity is between 50 and 80 percent, place a simple humidity meter near your plant. If the humidity drops, spray your plant with a fine mist of water.

Step 3

Move your plant to an area where the winter temperature doesn't drop below 46 degrees. A room in your home should suffice to provide this plant with a temperature of 50 to 55 degrees. If the winter temperature is higher, the plant will not bloom as much in the spring and summer.

Step 4

Keep your plant in an area outside in the warmer months where the temperature doesn't exceed 86 degrees. Because it's in a pot, you can move it around on hot days.

Step 5

Keep your orchid cactus moist but not soggy. Water once each week, as you would other houseplants.

Step 6

Use a liquid fertilizer having an N-P-K ratio of 5-1-4 every time you water it, but do not fertilize during the winter.

Step 7

Control insect pests such as aphids, scale, mealybugs and spider mites with insecticidal soap spray as soon as you notice these invaders. Control any snails and slugs with beer traps or iron phosphate granules.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting mix
  • Sand, perlite or shredded bark (optional)
  • Medium pot with drainage hole
  • Plant saucer
  • Pebbles
  • Humidity meter
  • Liquid fertilizer
  • Insecticidal soap or other insect remedy

References

  • Orchid cactus cultivation
  • Moon gardens
  • Epiphyllum information

Who Can Help

  • Plant source
Keywords: orchid cactus, moon garden, flowering epiphyllum

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.

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