The Complete Guide to Epiphyllum Plants & How to Grow and Care for Them

Epiphyllum plants are commonly known as orchid cacti, and they come in many varieties. They’re native to Central America and the Caribbean, and they’re most often grown outdoors. An epiphyllum plant is a flowering plant that belongs to the cactus family. The Epiphyllum is one of around 2,000 species of cacti found in South and Central America and Mexico.

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Epiphyllums can be grown outdoors in the U.S., but only as long as they receive plenty of sunlight and their soil drains well enough for them to thrive. Common names for these species include climbing cacti, orchid cacti, and leaf cacti. 

Phyllanthus Epiphyllum

Habitat & Range.

Epiphyllum plants are popular houseplants that are easy to maintain. They are also called the ‘Orchid Flowers’ because of their flower shape, but they are not related to orchids. The Epiphyllums have long leaves around 3-4 inches long. They also have flowers that grow up to one foot tall. These flowers come in various colors, including white, yellow, pink, blue, and purple, among other colors.

Plant Characteristics.

Epiphyllums are hardy, easy-to-grow houseplants that make an interesting addition to a tropical or desert greenhouse. The Epiphyllum plant comprises long, cylindrical leaves that form an umbrella shape around its flowers. The flowers themselves are the largest of any houseplant, and they come in a variety of colors from white to pink to yellowish-green with stripes or spots on them. In addition to being beautiful, this plant also needs very little care and can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

They do well in bright light but do not like direct sun. They also like humidity and like to be watered at least once a week during the summer months. If they are not watered often enough, their roots will rot. When growing Epiphyllums, it is essential to remember that they require a humid atmosphere and lots of sunlight. They do not like drafts. If you have a drafty house, keep the windows and doors shut.

How do you care for Epiphyllum?

Plant care and maintenance are topics that gardeners and those who have never gardened before need have some education on caring for this plant. However, it can be challenging to know the best practices for keeping your epiphyllum plant happy and healthy with all the available information. This section discusses how to care for an epiphyllum plant, including watering requirements, place, lighting requirements, etc. Epiphyllums can be kept both indoors and outdoors. They can be planted outside late fall or early spring in warmer climates. However, it does best in warm temperatures between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to plant your Epiphyllum indoors, you can place them in a large pot with good drainage. Water them frequently during the summer months to avoid root rot. During the winter, water them less often but still make sure to water them at least weekly. Epiphyllums should be repotted every year. If you live in a colder climate, you may want to grow them indoors during the winter.

Phyllanthus Epiphyllum

Watering and Fertilizing.

To keep the plant healthy, you will need to water the plant regularly during the growing season. Watering should be done at least once a week, and ensure you thoroughly water your plant.

If you want to fertilize your plant, you should fertilize it with a slow-release fertilizer, but they do not need much fertilizer. It is best to fertilize them once every other month during the summer and less in the winter. You should use a slow-release fertilizer that does not have high nitrogen content. A good fertilizer for this plant is 20-10-20 or 5-5-5 fertilizer. You can also add a little fertilizer to the water if needed. The plant will have a long winter dormancy period, often without water for months until the early spring. During this time, the soil should be kept moist to damp and fertilized with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer right before the winter months. 

Pruning and trimming.

Pruning and trimming are two ways of shaping plants for aesthetics and keeping the plant’s branches and leaves from overgrowing. Pruning is also done to remove dead or dying stems or branches to improve overall health and appearance. On the other hand, pruning is best done right before blooming season. It is important to carefully cut off any branches that are not growing, as they will only sap energy from the plant. Pruning is also necessary to keep plants healthy. 

Cultivation and Propagation.

You may propagate your plant by cutting off portions of the root and planting them in the soil. One of the simplest ways to propagate a plant is to take a cutting from its roots. This technique of propagation is known as cuttings or division. Cuttings or divisions are methods of propagating new plants from existing ones. It is also utilized to retain a plant population’s genetic diversity. You’ll need some gardening experience as well as tools like scissors, planting containers, potting soil, and a watering can to propagate your plant. Shearing a clipping from your houseplant is the first stage in propagation.

Guide to Epiphyllum Plants

Cuttings should be at least three nodes long and a couple of inches long. Dip the cutting into the rooting hormone and coat the bottom a few inches with it. Lightly tap the cutting on the container’s side to remove any excess rooting hormone. You may wish to soak them in water first and then tap them to remove any extra water before putting them in the rooting hormone. Remove any residual rooting hormone and store it in a container. Don’t put it back in the original container. After the cuttings have grown roots, split them and pot them separately. Overcrowding can occur if many cuttings are placed in a container or pot. Overcrowding can result in mold growth and damage. Plant the cuttings, then give the new roots a week to acclimate to their new surroundings by watering them. Seeds: On the other hand, your plant can be grown from seeds. Place the seeds in a pot and water them frequently until they sprout, then transplant the seedlings to their permanent placements. Seeds can also be sown directly into the soil of the ground.

Sowing and Germination.

Too much water can cause the seed to rot. Keep the soil moist but not saturated. If you’re planting in containers, add some moisture-retaining material such as pebbles, gravel, or perlite to the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot with plastic wrap or a lid that allows moisture to evaporate. Plant your seed, and after the seeds have germinated, you can remove the covering from the pot and plant the seedlings in the ground. 

Epiphyllum Plant: Flowering and Foliage.

For many years, epiphyllums were thought to be plants that grew only in a few locations in the united states, but they can be grown just about anywhere. The plant’s foliage is shaped like an umbrella with large leaves that are dark green and glossy. The plant’s blooms are large and yellowish-orange in color. They are very similar to orchids. Epiphyllums are also called “ferns.” Epiphyllums grow and flower best in medium to well-drained soil. They are also sensitive to excess moisture. 


Soil & Transplanting.

Epiphyllums prefer well-drained soil with good air circulation. To ensure that you have a sound root system, epiphyllums should be planted at least three times the size of the pot they are being transplanted. Epiphyllums do not transplant easily, and you should be careful when handling them. To transplant your Epiphyllum, gently loosen the soil around the roots with a spade or trowel, then lift the plant by the roots and place it in its new location. Ensure the roots of the plant is moist but not dry. If the soil is wet, the roots will rot and die. Transplanting can be done at any time during the growing season. During the colder season, you may wish to cover the plants with a light blanket for a week to two weeks after transplanting to keep them warm until they are strong enough to withstand the cold weather. 

Does Epiphyllum like full sun?

The epiphyllum plant requires some sunlight and temperature from 30-35 degrees Celsius. Therefore, they do best in the cooler weather. When planting your Epiphyllum, avoid a sunny location. The plant’s foliage can wilt in hot direct sunlight. You may wish to give your epiphyllum plant some shade during hot summer days. This will help to protect the leaves from direct sunlight. 

Is an epiphyllum a cactus or a succulent?

It is vital to make sure that you know the difference between cacti and succulents. Cacti are sun-loving plants that can survive in arid conditions. Succulents prefer moist conditions and grow in the desert or dry areas such as coastal California or southern Spain. Cacti have spines, while succulents do not. The cactus leaves grow vertically and often look like needles, while succulent leaves grow horizontally and have a fleshy texture. Epiphyllums are cacti, not succulents; they are also considered epiphytes. They grow on the trunks of trees in tropical rainforests, such as ferns and bromeliads, air plants, and orchids, are not parasitic.

Is Epiphyllum an indoor plant?

Epiphyllum plants are succulents that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. They are easy to care for and do not require much attention. They thrive well even without any care from humans. To grow an epiphyllum plant indoors, one needs a large pot with a drainage hole, potting soil, and a cactus mix to provide the nutrients necessary for the plant’s growth. If grown indoors, you’ll need to provide your plant with plenty of light. If planted outdoors, you may also wish to give your plant some shade during hotter days to protect the leaves from direct sunlight.

7 Common Epiphyllum Varieties or Types

Epiphyllum Oxypetalum (Princess Or Queen of the night)

It only blooms at night and before dawn, and its blossoms fade. Though it is frequently called a night-blooming cereus, it is not related to any of the Cereeae species that are more popularly known as night-blooming cereuses, such as Selenicereus.

Epiphyllum Oxypetalum

Epiphyllum Chrysocardium

Selenicereus chrysocardium is the new name for this Epiphyllum variety. It has long, trailing stems with cladodes, which are leaf-like structures. Large white flowers with brilliant yellow stamens bloom on this shrub. The plant’s stems can grow up to 6 feet long, making it an eye-catching addition to your collection.

Epiphyllum Pumilum

This Epiphyllum species is similar to E. oxypetalum, although it has smaller blooms. The unopened petals of the flowers are creamy-white with subtle pink tinges. The flowers are fragrant and bloom in the summer.

In the winter, this type enjoys semi-shade and optimal temperatures of around 53 degrees Fahrenheit

Phyllanthus Epiphyllum

Long, thin stems with lobed sections characterize this Epiphyllum. The shrub produces bright pink fruit and white flowers. It grows well in hanging pots as a trailing plant. It grows well in partial or dappled shade and can withstand 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures.

Epiphyllum Thomasianum.

Large stunning snow-white blooms with brilliant yellow stamens adorn this shrub. The stems are lobed and have a lengthy length. It’s perfect for hanging pots because of this. The plant thrives in partial to dappled shade and can withstand temperatures as low as 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Epiphyllum Crenatum.

The stems of this Epiphyllum, also known as Crenate Orchid Cactus, are highly unique since they feature irregular-shaped lobes that are not symmetrical at all. This alone makes it worthwhile to develop. Furthermore, the flowers are enormous and spectacular, with a delicate cream color and yellow stamens. The flowers are in full bloom at night.

Epiphyllum Monstrosa.

This Epiphyllum has unusual curled stems that cascade down when cultivated in a hanging pot, unlike regular Epiphyllum. This plant is a unique item to have in your collection. The white tubular flowers on this shrub are 3 inches broad and 6 inches long. These flowers bloom at night as well. The plant will yield brilliant pink fruits packed with seeds if the blooms are pollinated. These fruits are edible.

Epiphyllum Lauii.

In the spring, Epiphyllum lauii produces tubular flowers that are white on the inside and yellow on the outside. The stems are segmented, green, and meaty. The stems are gleaming even when not in bloom, making this a lovely plant. The stems of this Epiphyllum cascade down over the side of the pot, making it an excellent choice for hanging pots.

Common Pests and Diseases.

Absolutely nothing is more frustrating than having a plant infested with pests or diseases. The most common pest that attacks epiphyllums is spider mites. You can prevent this problem by spraying your plant with insecticidal soap. Likewise, if you have a problem with aphids, you can also prevent this problem by spraying your plant with insecticidal soap. When the weather starts to warm up, your epiphyllum plant may start to develop leaf spots. This is caused by fungal spores carried in by the wind. Also, your epiphyllum plants are susceptible to fungal infections, scale insects, root rot, leaf spot disease, and wilts. Epiphyllum plants can be treated with fungicides for most fungal infections.

Phyllanthus Epiphyllum

Epiphyllum: Conclusion.

Epiphyllums are more forgiving than many other plants. They can withstand a wide range of temperatures and grow best in spring and fall cooler temperatures. They can be grown indoors, and they require very little attention. They can also be used for landscaping since they are extremely easy to care for. In addition, they don’t have any thorns or spines, so they are safe to keep around children and pets. Epiphyllum is also very tolerant to drought. As a result, they can survive in areas with low rainfall. 

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