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Family of cactus. Epiphyllum refers to leafy cacti that have a bushy shape and gradually woody stems. His homeland is Central America and the north of South America. There are 19 species in nature, most of them are epiphytes or lithophytes. For the first time, representatives of the genus Epiphyllum are described in 1812 by Adrian Haworth. The name uses the Greek words epi - "above" and phyllum - "leaf", it was assumed that flowers are formed at the ends of the leaves. In fact, what we consider to be a leaf is a modified shoot; leaves as such are absent in most species. Stems are of two types - primary (first order) cylindrical or wide triangular, from them stems of the second order, as a rule, are flattened. Secondary stems are wide and flat, rather fleshy about 3-5 mm thick,with a lobed edge (wide waves with a more or less pronounced dissection). The flowers are large, 8-16 cm in diameter, white, pink, red, with numerous petals. Forms edible red fruit. Inside is white pulp and black small (1-2 mm) seeds.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum Epiphyllum oxypetalum, or "Queen of the Night" - is a particularly popular species, it forms large, strongly fragrant flowers that bloom only for one night. Stems are erect, ascending, spreading, profusely branching, stem bases are rounded, laterally flattened, woody. Secondary shoots are flat, elliptically-pointed, up to 30 cm long and 10-12 cm wide, thin, wavy leaf edges. Flowers are white or carmine red, up to 30 cm long and 12-15 cm in diameter, very fragrant. Fruits are oblong, large, about 10 cm in diameter, purple-red. The species is easy to care for, grows quickly, blooms in late spring or early summer. Synonyms: Phyllocactus sour-leaved, Cereus broadleaf, Epifullum broadleaf, Phillocactus broadleaf, Phyllocactus grandis.
Epiphyllum serrated Epiphyllum crenatum is one of the main species involved in the formation of popular hybrids and is widely cultivated throughout the world. It is also a semi-epiphytic cactus, has an erect stem, abundantly branching, the primary stems are rounded, gradually becoming woody at the base. Secondary stems are flat, grayish-green, up to 60 cm long, up to 6-10 cm wide, rigid, sometimes with hairs or small bristles. Areola without needles. The flowers are white, 18-25 cm long and 12-20 cm wide, open at night but remain open for several days, fragrant. Fruits are oblong-rounded or spherical, pointed. Synonyms: Echinocereus serrated, Phyllocactus serrated.
Epiphyllum Lau Epiphyllum laui - this species was discovered relatively recently, in 1975, discovered in Mexico, leads a predominantly lithophytic lifestyle - it grows in rock crevices, fossilized lava eruptions. Basal branching stems (mainly from the base of the bush). Secondary leaves are flattened linear, crenate segments 5-7 cm wide, with convex veins, slightly wavy. Areoles have spines from 1 to 5, 3-5 mm long, hair-like, yellow-brown in color. Flowers are white funnel-shaped, 15-16 cm long, 14-16 cm wide, open in the evening and remain fully unfolded for two days. Fruits are oblong, 4-8 cm long and 2-4 cm wide, carmine-red. As a home plant, it is very rare, in culture it is complex, often infected with viral diseases. The difficulty of growing isthat this type of Epiphyllum does not like heat, it requires mandatory coolness in winter. In nature, it grows at an altitude of 1800-2000 m above sea level, the temperature at night drops to + 2- + 5 ° C. This species did not participate in hybridization (unpromising).
Epiphyllum angular Epiphyllum anguliger - stems profusely branching, primary stems are rounded at the base, often woody, their apical parts and secondary stems are flat, 20-30 cm long, 3-5 cm wide, deeply dissected, and the segments are sometimes almost rectangular in shape with obtuse or a slightly rounded end. Areolae with small white setae. In nature, it clings to tree trunks, throwing out aerial roots. Houses also often form aerial roots. Flowers are white, 8-20 cm long, 6-7 cm wide, open towards night, very fragrant. The fruits are ovoid, brown, greenish or yellowish, up to 3-4 cm in diameter. The original form blooms in adulthood (when the bush is already large enough). There are many varieties, differing in color of flowers, lemon-yellow shades, pink or lavender,rarely found in home collections in Russia.
Epiphyllum low Epiphyllum pumilum - has erect, ascending stems, later they droop, flatten, form very long lashes - up to 5 m long and abundantly branching. The main stem is woody at the base, rounded, secondary stems and apical parts of the primary stems are flat, oblong-lanceolate, 15-50 cm long, 4-8 cm wide, pointed, with a serrated or finely wavy edge. The flowers are white, pink, 10-15 cm long, nocturnal and fragrant. The fruits are ovoid, 2.5 cm thick. It usually blooms in summer or early fall. This species is notable for the fact that the flowers are much smaller than those of other species, and the shoots often have shorter segments. Quite a thermophilic species - in nature it grows in the plains of Guatemala, where there is high humidity and humus-rich soil. Wintering at 15 ° C is enough for him.
Specific Epiphyllums are used to create hybrids, both interspecific, and with other representatives of the cactus family, for example, from the genus Hylocereus Hylocereus, and among them there are wild hybrids that formed in nature independently, some scientists distinguish them into an independent genus of Phyllocactus Phyllocactus.
Epiphyllum - home care
Epiphyllum is easy to grow at home, most species are adapted to the temperature regime of apartments, they tolerate the heating season well, grow vigorously and bloom easily. The happiest owners of winter gardens and greenhouses achieve the greatest success in growing and getting flowering faster - if there is a cool dormant period for 3-4 months, a lot of space, scattered light, fresh air, epiphyllums form lush bushes and bloom very abundantly, at the ends of each escape. Do not forget that epiphyllums are by nature epiphytes, semi-epiphytes or lithophytes, which means that ordinary garden soil is not suitable for them, but an appropriate soil must be compiled.
Expert opinion, Vladimir Melnikov (collector cactus grower): "Epiphyllums are tropical rainforest plants. That is, they will feel good on almost any window. The East is the best option. Watering is plentiful. Top dressing is mandatory, or replant every year after flowering. But wintering is obligatory. At least 2 months at 15 ° C without watering. And there can be no problems with it. Good, grateful cactus. And the flowers are awesome. Now in Europe there are a lot of hybrids. Although these plants take up a lot of space, but they have very beautiful flowers. By the way, do not forget that epiphyllum flowers appear mainly only on new shoots."
Temperature: in summer, normal room temperature or like outside. You can take it out to the garden or balcony when the night temperature does not drop below 12 ° C. Epiphyllums do not tolerate greenhouse conditions, they cannot be left on a closed balcony, with slot ventilation, they do not tolerate temperatures above 28 ° C. From September to February, it is advisable to provide a dormant period at a temperature of 15-16 ° C, winter-flowering cacti need a cool dormant period from September to the end of November, a minimum temperature for most species and hybrids of 12 ° C (for a short time it is possible to + 8 ° C with complete dryness) … With the formation of buds or after 2-3 months of cool content, the pots should be transferred to a warm place where the temperature is about 18-22 ° C. With the end of flowering, it is desirable (but not necessary) to give the plants a little more respite - a month in the cool (16-18 ° C),without top dressing with limited watering.
Lighting: Epiphyllum requires diffused sunlight, at home this means that you need to adapt to seasonal weather changes: from March (late February in southern regions) to August, you need to shade from 11 to 16 hours from direct sun. From September (in the southern regions of October) to January-February, shading may not be necessary - in central Russia in winter the sun is rare and not scorching.
- if you have sunny windows (south and west orientation), the pot should not be placed directly on the windowsill, but next to the window, a maximum of 1.5 m from the window
- if you have north-facing windows - the pot needs to be hung right on the window, no shading is needed
- if your windows are moderately light (east, north-west) - this is the best option, you can hang the pot by the glass or next to the window
- if the windows are sunny, but are shaded from the street by trees or neighboring houses, you can safely put the pot on a sunny window from September to early spring
General rule: the epiphyllum needs enough light of low intensity, it is a cactus, it is not shade-loving, it is shade-tolerant (feel the difference and get flowering). If it is dark and there is no way to rearrange it closer to the light, you can hang fluorescent lamps or 7-10 W LEDs nearby (from 1 to 3 lamps, depending on the size of the bush). In winter, you need 4 hours of direct sun in the morning or evening, if the room is warm and the cactus continues to grow.
Watering: in warm weather and during flowering, watering is abundant - the soil should be moist all the time in the depths of the pot, but have time to dry out in the upper part to the depth of a finger. In the cold period (including when it gets cold in summer or spring, when the heating is turned off), watering is more strict, with good drying of the soil. After the top layer of the earth dries up, you need to wait another 7-10 days before the next watering.
Top dressing: after transplanting after 1.5-2 months, during the period of active growth (spring and summer), you can feed it every two weeks with complex fertilizer for cacti, when kept all year round in a warm room and very good lighting, especially if flowering occurs in winter time, feed once a month. Never exceed the dosage of fertilizers, do not use organic fertilizing or fertilizing for decorative leafy plants. Do not feed during the dormant period if there is no growth!
Air humidity: Epiphyllum loves humid air, 40-50% are ideal for it. This means that when temperatures are above 25 ° C, periodic spraying is required. You can also give your cacti a warm shower (around 45 ° C) to remove dust and encourage growth. By the way, a single hot watering after the dormant season (temperature around 60 ° C) also stimulates growth. Spraying is necessary in winter if the room is heated. If the plants are left on a glassed-in balcony before autumn, or on cold or rainy days in summer, spraying is not necessary.
Transplant as needed - mature plants, young plants annually. Transplanted after flowering or in spring from late February to May at any time. Do not replant if buds appear on the shoots! Do not transplant purchased flowering plants.
Which pot to choose
Young epiphyllums have erect stems, and for the first year or two they grow in a bush, they can be planted in a regular pot. Over time, the shoots lengthen and hang. You can transplant the plant into a hanging planter, or leave it in a regular pot of a suitable size, but install a support in it. In any case, the planting tank is spacious and shallow, taking into account the bottom drainage. Epiphyllum does not tolerate too spacious pots - if there is a lot of uncultivated soil with roots, it is easy to flood and destroy the plant.
Soil for epiphyllum: light, rich in humus, well-drained, pH 5.8-6.5. You can use the following components:
- 3 parts coconut fiber (or substrate)
- 1 part agroperlite
- 1 part of universal soil (garden soil or from a pack - Terra Vita Live earth)
- 0.1 part bone meal (in the fertilizer department)
Another soil recipe suitable for forest epiphytic cacti:
- 2 pieces of leafy land
- 1 part coconut substrate
- 1/3 part of well-rotted compost (manure that has lain for 2-3 years)
- 1 part vermiculite
- 1 part of fine gravel chips (3-5 mm)
After preparing the earthen mixture, at the bottom of the pot, increase the holes for water drainage, pour drainage from foam or large expanded clay, now you can plant.
Epiphyllum is propagated by cuttings, a wide part of a modified shoot, or by seeds. For vegetative propagation, you can cut off any piece (tip) of the "leaf", but preferably from 5 to 10 cm. Usually, cuttings root easily at any time of the year, if there is enough light (you can under the lamps). If the stalk is cut from a very wide part, it must be narrowed at the base, cut from the sides so that a strip 3-5 cm wide remains.Root in the soil mixture: leaf earth (or universal soil) and vermiculite in equal parts. The soil must be sterilized. The cutting should be put on a sheet of paper and left to dry at room temperature for 1-2 days. Then stick it into a slightly moistened soil to a depth of about 5 mm, fix it by tying it to a peg. For rooting, it is important: constantly moderately moist soil, without dampness and dryness, and enough light.Roots are formed within 2-3 weeks. You will know about successful rooting when the leaf begins to grow.
Forum Discussion: Epiphyllum
Epiphyllum seeds propagate like any other cacti: we make up a mixture of leafy soil (or universal soil) and vermiculite in equal parts. Pour into a wide bowl, 6-7 cm high, lay the seeds on the surface in rows or in random order, leave 1.5-2 cm between them. Sprinkle the seeds with a thin layer of earth, no more than 5 mm. Moisten the soil with a spray bottle and put the bowl in a warm place. Seeds germinate at 24-25 ° C. Crops should be covered with foil or glass so that the soil does not dry out, but ventilate 2-3 times a day. As soon as the shoots appear, put them in a very bright place or under lamps for 12-14 hours of daylight hours. You can dive in 1.5-2 months after germination.
Why does not epiphyllum bloom
In order for the epiphyllum to bloom, it needs a pronounced seasonality: a change in climate from humid and warm to dry and cool. Although daily temperature fluctuations of 8-10 ° C are sometimes sufficient if the plant is on a balcony or in a garden.
The second important factor is good lighting. For flowering, you need from 1 to 4 hours of non-scorching sun, that is, in the morning or in the evening. But it is important that there is no heat on the window during the sunny period. So, the western windows, especially when the vents are closed, can be more dangerous than the southern ones - in the spring and summer by the evening it is already very hot and stuffy in the room, the leaves of the cacti turn red, or acquire a purple hue.