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How to Propagate Epiphyllum

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017

Epiphyllum, also known as orchid cactus, is a genus in the cactus family. Epiphytes is a term used to describe those plants that grow on other plants but not parasitically. They derive their nutrients and moisture from the rain and air. Epiphyllums have succulent stems that are often referred to as leaves. The huge white flowers are nocturnal. Although the epiphyllum is a member of the cactus family, it is native to the tropical rainforests of the southern hemisphere and requires more humidity and water than a true cactus. The plant is easy to propagate from stem or leaf cuttings taken two to three weeks after it has completed flowering.

Cut off a 4- to 6-inch piece of new-growth stem. Place the cutting in a warm, dry area for two weeks. This allows the cut end of the stem to callous.

Combine 2 parts of potting soil with 1 part of perlite and pour it into the planting pot. Do not water the soil.

Push the cutting, calloused-end down, 1/2 inch into the planting mix. Place the pot in a warm area in diffused sunlight. The cutting will take from three to six weeks to root.

Mist the cutting periodically with water in a plant-misting bottle. Water the soil for the first time two weeks after planting the cutting. Add just enough water to moisten the top inch of soil. In two weeks, begin a regular watering routine by saturating the soil and then allowing the top half to dry prior to watering again. Never allow the soil to dry completely.


Things You Will Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Plasting planting pot
  • Potting soil
  • Perlite
  • Misting bottle

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.