The Epiphyllum hookeri of the Cactaceae family is a sturdy plant that you will find easy to grow within your home and garden. This cacti variant with its distinctively flat-leaf surface can grow to varying lengths, thereby giving your home décor a funky look.
In addition, it produces white flowers in summer that emit a sweet fragrance at night.
Read our expert guide to learn more about these delightful Epiphyllum genus plants and get the best information about their care and propagation.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- What Is a Epiphyllum Hookeri?
- Epiphyllum Hookeri Care
- Water Requirements
- Light Requirements
- Soil Requirements
- Temperature Requirements
- Humidity Requirements
- Fertilizing Requirements
What Is a Epiphyllum Hookeri?
The Epiphyllum hookeri is a popular cactus houseplant known for its gorgeous and fragrant flowers and ease of care. Native to South America, it is also called the orchid cactus. It is a favorite among home decorators and hobbyists due to its long-strained branches that spread out in many directions.
Epiphyllum Hookeri Care
Caring for the epiphyllum hookeri is easy as long as you pay heed to a few essential care aspects. Under the right warmth, moisture and light conditions, growing this cactus can be a rewarding experience.
Bright sunlight and well-draining, porous soil are necessities for this plant. Provide it with temperatures ranging from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels between 50 to 60 percent and you will have a happy and healthy cactus in your collection. Occasional fertilizing and avoiding too much water will definitely lead to a thriving plant.
Find all the important care details listed below.
As a drought-resistant plant, this cactus can hold water in its foliage considerably, so there wouldn’t be a requirement to water it frequently. Water the plant only when the topsoil has dried out at least an inch deep.
Moreover, adding more water when the topsoil is moist can lead to wilting and root rot. Thus, scale back and never allow the plant to rest in wet or soggy soil.
Similar to other cactus variants, the epiphyllum hookeri will require bright sunlight to thrive and grow. At the same time, do not overexpose this plant to the sun, especially in the warm summer months, as this will scorch the epiphyllum hookeri leaves.
Additionally, the plant may not be fond of too much shade. It will not necessarily harm the plant but will prevent it from producing complete blooms.
The ideal situation will be to place the plant where it can receive maximum sunlight for at least four to six hours of the day. Protect the plant by providing it with diffused light with the help of a greenhouse or a garden sheet placed over it.
An epiphyllum hookeri needs well-drained, porous soil. There needs to be enough aeration for the roots to spread deep and establish themselves. Use a light potting mix along with some perlite or grit added in. Alternatively, you can use orchid bark mix for extra drainage and aeration.
The epiphyllum hookeri plant requires a warm temperature range between 50 degrees to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. As a cacti species, it will not tolerate extreme cold or sudden temperature changes. Thus, keep the plant in a spot where it can receive consistent warmth.
Move the hookeri plant indoors in winters under grow lights to ensure it receives enough heat and light. Do not move the plant around too often, especially once the buds begin to appear. Sudden changes and movements can put them at risk of stress and the blooms may either drop off early or the plant may fail to produce more.
Grow the plant in a humidity range of 50 percent to 60 percent. Despite being a cactus that can retain water, it prefers high humid conditions. If you are in a dry zone, mist the plant frequently or place a saucer with pebbles and water below the container to kick in moisture.
Fertilize epiphyllum hookeri once a month during its growing season with a balanced formula of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You can also use liquid fertilizers or slow-release fertilizers at the base of the plant.
Avoid over-feeding the cactus as it could lead to fertilizer burn with a salt build-up in the soil. Rest the plant during winters by scaling back on water and fertilizer use as the plant tends to go dormant in the colder months.
Epiphyllum hookeri is a cactus and does not regularly require any pruning. The plant stems grow upright and seldom spread in an unruly manner. However, you may wish to trim sections if the size of the plant increases beyond your preference.
In this case, gently place a cut on the stem where the leaf branches out. Scale back on the watering immediately after pruning to reduce stress on the plant.
The Epiphyllum hookeri can be propagated easily through leaf cuttings or seeds, though leaf cuttings are faster and more successful in generating new offsets in comparison to seeds. Find the propagation details below.
– Right Season To Propagate
The ideal time and season to propagate the new offsets are in the months of spring and summer. The fall and winter months are too cold and the plant generally enters a period of dormancy in these months. In the growth months of spring and summer, the seeds or leaf cuttings have enough warmth to be able to develop well into a few seedlings or plants.
– Tools Required
Before you begin the propagation process, keep these important items ready and at hand:
- A sterile and sharp garden knife or pruner
- Potting mix
- Container or shallow tray
- Plastic sheet or wrap with tiny holes or a glass container with breathable openings
– Propagation Method
Epiphyllum hookeri growth rate is slow and it can take several months for full-fledged leaves to develop. In addition, it can take at least five years for the plant to produce flowers if you are propagating it via seeds.
– Propagation Through Leaf Cuttings
Here is how you propagate using leaf cuttings:
- Gently cut a leaf from a mature and healthy mother plant. Let this sit for two days to allow the cut end to dry or form a callus.
- After two days, pot this in fresh potting soil that is aerated and well-draining.
- Place this in a warm environment and care for it as you would do to an adult plant.
- Water as per the plant’s requirement, protecting it from harsh sunlight.
- Additionally, add some diluted liquid fertilizer to boost growth to help the plant develop well.
- In a few weeks, this leaf section will get roots of its own that will later grow into a mature and independent plant.
– Propagation Through Seeds
Seeds can be used to propagate the cactus, however, it will usually take epiphyllum hookeri seeds three to five weeks to germinate. Here is how you can collect seeds to propagate them into new offsets.
- Collect seeds from the small plant fruit by draining out the soft pulp within.
- The seeds will be black and sticky due to the pulp, so dry them out in an absorbent towel for a day or two before you plant them in the soil.
- You will need to soak the seeds in warm water to hydrate them before sowing.
- The ideal growing medium will be a mix of peat, grit and sand in a shallow tray or container. This will be where you will germinate the seeds before you later transplant them into a bigger pot.
- Scatter the seeds in the potting soil. Make sure you don’t push them too deep into the potting mix.
- Do not completely bury your seeds. Otherwise, they will never germinate. The seeds need plenty of oxygen, so keeping them in the top layers of your growing medium is essential to give them air, warmth and humidity.
- Keep this tray in partial light and water the soil just to keep it lightly moist. Move the tray into bright light after the seeds have germinated.
- Place a garden sheet or a container with holes over it to increase humidity and temperature, if required. This will speed up the entire germination process. You can remove the sheet once the seeds have sprouted well.
- Be patient as it can take several weeks to spot those sprouts and several more months for the offsets to grow into baby plants.
In the section below, we list the most common issues you will face when growing the orchid cactus and how you can easily tackle them. Continue reading for this valuable information.
– Limp Stems That Are Black at the Base
This is a classic condition of overwatering where the plant under stress reacts by wilting and turning black at the base. To tackle this issue, scale back on the watering immediately and let the plant sit undisturbed for a few days.
Consider repotting in fresh soil if the black color does not fade away. Gently remove the rotten stem at the soil level and move it to fresh soil in a container with proper drainage holes. Throw in some peat moss for extra aeration and this should help the plant recover well.
– Pest Infestations
The epiphyllum plant can get infested with common garden pests that feed on the sap of leaves and stems. These infestations of mealybugs, aphids and spider mites thrive in large colonies on the underside of foliage and drain the plant of its nutrients, making them lifeless and limp. If you spot infestations, the first thing to do is to isolate the plant to prevent its spread.
Wipe the broad leaves with a damp cloth and spray it with an organic soapy insecticide. You can prevent the occurrence of infestations by keeping the plant dust-free and misting it frequently.
– Dropped Flower Buds
Frequent and sudden changes in light can cause flower buds to fall off before time. Set the plant in a spot where it receives a constant level of warmth and light. It needs at least four to five hours of full morning sunlight, but make sure that it is partial or diffused.
If placed indoors, choose a bright and well-lit spot for the plant. Avoid dingy corners where the ventilation is poor. Also, keep them away from air conditioner vents that blast cool air as this can hamper growth and lead to a stunted plant.
– Plant Not Flowering
Your epiphyllum may not be blooming if it has not been fertilized enough. To bloom, the plant will require a monthly balanced formula, especially during the growing months.
Use a fertilizer with an equal ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to get your epiphyllum to bloom. Moreover, bright light is vital to get full blooms.
– Yellow Spotting
Another common problem of the plant is yellow spots on the leaves and stems caused due to overwatering. Monitor the watering schedule and scale back immediately when you find spotting.
The right amount of water is crucial in maintaining good plant health and green foliage. Thus, water as per the details mentioned in our care guide.
– Dry and Brittle Stems
Epiphyllum hookeri cannot tolerate low light and extreme cold conditions. When exposed to these, the plant can develop dry and brittle stems. To prevent this, place them in moderate light to help the plant pick up health.
In addition, keep the plant away from cold drafts, frosty winds and air conditioner or heater vents as these can easily put the plant under stress conditions.
Why does Epiphyllum Hookeri bloom only at night?
Epiphyllum Hookeri blooms at night to attract pollinators such as moths and bats, which are typically more active during the evening hours. The flowers release a strong fragrance to further attract these pollinators.
What pots are best for Epiphyllum Hookeri?
Epiphyllum Hookeri grows best in pots with good drainage and a rich, well-draining soil mix.
How long do Epiphyllum Hookeri flowers last?
Epiphyllum Hookeri flowers usually last for one night only, but the plant can produce multiple blooms over several weeks.
You have now read how the epiphyllum hookeri is a stunning cactus that can survive in a range of conditions. Let us recall our discussion from this guide via these points:
- Epiphyllum hookeri is an attractive cactus that can charm any garden space.
- The plant requires bright sunlight, light porous soil and warm temperatures to thrive and grow.
- It produces spectacular and fragrant flowers.
- The easiest way to propagate the plant is via leaf or stem cuttings.
- You can grow this plant with minimal care and tackle most of its issues by monitoring its watering schedule and keeping pests at bay.
The epiphyllum hookeri plant adds a perfect touch of green hues to your home and garden. Bring them into your space and see them create a vibrant and fragrant atmosphere around you!