The orchid cactus, also known as epiphyllum, is a cactus that blooms large, showy flowers that are just as beautiful and exotic-looking as orchids. Flowers come in bright vibrant colours like white, red and pink in a variety of shapes and forms. They bloom from spring until summer and many varieties are known to bloom at night.
The plant is native to the jungles of Mexico, Central America and South America. There are more than 13 000 types of orchid cacti in the world and plant growers are constantly creating new hybrids!
You don’t need to live in the jungle to grow this plant in your home. These plants can be found at local garden centers/nurseries or online retailers. As a houseplant, the orchid cactus is easy to take care of and like most cacti, doesn’t require much watering. Taking care of the plant is easy, but waiting for the plant to bloom may be a bit difficult as it can take up to 2 years for you to see those beautiful flowers!
If you have the the time and patience, here is a guide to growing the orchid cactus:
- Make sure the pot has a a drainage hole so the plant to prevent root rot.
- The soil should contain 1/3 sand, 1/3 perlite or orchid bark, and 1/3 quality, sterilized potting soil.
- It does best in indirect sunlight or partial shade. The best place to place your potted orchid cactus is near the window.
- Water about once a week, but do not over water the plant. Water only when the top layer of the soil feels dry to the touch.
- The plant does best in a humid environment. To increase the humidity, spritz the plant from time to time. You can also place the plant in a saucer filled with pebbles.
- It requires cool temperatures, preferably 50-55 degrees F (10-13 degrees C), to produce the most flowers in the spring and summer.
- Fertilize the plant about once a month. Stop fertilizing during the fall, when the blooming season is over.