Cactus - Orchid Cactus
- Botanical Name: Epiphyllum Guatamalense Monstr
- Origins: Central America
- Light: High Light
- Watering: Every 8+ Days
- Growth Speed: Slow
- Grower: Novice
- Style: Table Top, Hanging
- Home Decor: Contemporary
- Variety Code: 500
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Product Description - Orchid Cactus
Cacti vary tremendously in size, color, shape and flowering habit. There may be one to two thousand different species of cacti. Most cacti live in desert habitats, but some types can also be found in jungles, tropical rainforest. Most cacti are native to the Americas and grow slowly to moderately as houseplants, usually only a few inches a year. They can live for many years.
Few people think of cacti living in some of the most humid conditions imaginable, but the very popular holiday flowering cacti (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter cactus) are all in this group. Their appearance is very different from dry land cacti. Most have wide, flattened, green stems that look much like leaves, no thorns and are grown primarily for their profuse and colorful flowers.
Orchid cacti (Epiphyllum species) have flattened, fleshy stems, often deeply toothed, with a trailing growth habit. Flowers are 6 inches long or more and of many colors. They are often sweet-scented and night-flowering. There are hundreds of cultivars. Epiphyllums will flower when they are 2 to 3 years old. Make sure that your plants have a nighttime temperature of 40°F to 50°F during the winter. Plants like to be rootbound before flowering.Another tropical forest cactus is orchid cactus relative, Ric-Rac cactus (Cryptocereus) which has serrated leaves that resemble fish bones. Ric-racs is not a prolific bloomer, only a few flowers will appear on old and rootbound plants and it may take a few years before that happens, but on the other hand the leaves are very beautiful and unusual. In nature ric-racs grow as Epiphytes (like orchids) forming dense clusters cascading down from the branches of trees. Aporocactus consists of 5 or 6 species of creeping cacti native to Mexico. Dogtail or rattail cactus Aporocactus flagelliformis has stems that are ½ to 1 inch in diameter, erect at first, then creeping or pendulous clothed with small tufts of reddish-brown, bristly spines. These cacti bear tons of vividly colored blossoms in early spring. The flowers are produced on the previous year's growth.
Plant CareCacti are relatively easy to grow. Most will tolerate neglect but thrive when given good care. These plants are well-adapted to the dry conditions found in the home. Holiday cacti and other rain forest cacti need substantially more water than desert cacti, but should never be waterlogged. Never let them dry out completely during the spring and summer months. They prefer at least 50 percent humidity, but will tolerate less. Misting may be beneficial in the home. Plants should receive balanced fertilizer once a month from spring to fall. It is always better to use too little fertilizer than too much. These cacti need bright but filtered light. They may sunburn if in direct sun. Rain forest type cacti require more organic matter in their soil mix than do desert type cacti. A good soil mix consists of two parts peat moss, one part garden soil and one part sand. Good drainage is essential. Even though tropical forest cacti can withstand temperatures outside near freezing it is better to keep plants above 40 F. In the home, plant diseases are rarely a problem. Too much water plus insects and mites are the main problems. Root and stem rots usually result from a soil mix that does not drain quickly or overly frequent watering.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012 01:30 |
posted by Jeanne Kjos
I bought my orchid cactus in the bargin bin at one of the big box stores a couple of years ago just because I thought the leaves were really cool. It has not yet bloomed (my neighbor's 20+year plant blooms annually) but mine has gotten huge and is now in a 14" pot. I just water it when I remember to and can't tell you how much I enjoy it. I had almost given up on houseplants!!!! Thanks for growing such a fantastic plant!!!!
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