The Epiphyllum oxypetalum, also known as the night-blooming cereus is a species of cactus that blooms at night. This unusual plant produces beautiful flowers with colors ranging from white to salmon pink and purple. It can be found in Central America but it’s common for them to be sold as a house plant.
The night-blooming cereus is an epiphyte that lives in the rainforest canopy and has adapted to its environment by becoming dormant during dry periods of time. It can grow up to 15 feet tall, but most are only about four or five feet at full maturity. These plants produce flowers year-round and therefore can be propagated from any time period.
The epiphyllum oxypetalum is a plant that blooms at night and has adapted to its environment by becoming dormant during dry periods of time. It can grow up to 15 feet tall, but most are only about four or five feet at full maturity. These plants produce flowers year-round and therefore can be propagated from any time period.
Origin and description
The epiphyllum oxypetalum is a tropical orchid native to the rainforests of Central America. The species was first collected by an expedition in 1845 and named Epiphyllum oxypetalum for its showy petals which are up to 12 centimeters long with brilliant colors. It was originally written that the species was found near an epiphyllum cactus, and so it is sometimes called “cacti orchid“.
The great variety of colors in this plant’s petals come from carotenoids. This range of colors can be attributed to an evolutionary history where pollinators were attracted by different combinations of colors. The pollinators may be choosing a plant-based on the carotenoid color, which helps them find food in their environment more easily.
The epiphyllum oxypetalum was brought to Europe from Central America by Linnaeus’s friends and then introduced into horticulture around 1850. It has been grown in Europe since 1850 and was first introduced into the United States in 1892.
The species is now grown all over the world but has still retained its natural beauty with a wide range of colors that vary from bright reds to deep oranges and every color in between.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum propagation
Epiphyllum oxypetalums can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. Cuttings are recommended for those who want to grow the plants indoors; they will need a well-lit space and should not receive direct sun exposure which can lead to leaf rot (a fungal disease).
Seeds may be propagated by placing them in moist soil or a planting medium and covering them with plastic. The seeds should then be watered daily for two to three weeks before they start germinating, which can take one month or more.
The Epiphyllum oxypetalums are related to cacti, therefore they need well-drained soil and are not tolerant of constantly wet or flooded conditions.
The seedlings should be planted in a pot with only one plant per container to avoid overcrowding which can lead to stress, excessive competition for light and nutrients, root rot (a fungal disease), wilting leaves due to lack of water supply, etc.
All containers must have drainage holes to allow excess water to flow out.
The plants should be watered during the drier months (winter) every week and less frequently during warmer months, where watering may only be needed once a month or so. Daily fertilization is recommended with a 20-20-20 fertilizer for all types of epiphyllums.
If the soil has become too dry or waterlogged, roots will rot and leaves may start to wilt due to lack of moisture supply. The plant may then show signs of wilting and yellowing which can lead to leaf drop. As a result, it is recommended that you stop watering the plants as soon as they start showing any signs of wilting.
Water the plant immediately if it is being exposed to prolonged periods of direct sunlight, which can lead to leaf rot (a fungal disease).
The number of calluses on a specific epiphyllum species may vary from two to twenty-five depending on its age and health.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum care
Epiphyllum oxypetalum, or the “slipper” cactus is a large and sturdy plant that grows in tropical climates. It needs plenty of sunlight to grow well indoors. The plants can thrive with morning sun only but will need full sun for most growth during the day. When planted outdoors, epiphyllum oxypetalum needs to be planted in a spot that receives full sun with some protection from the midday sun.
In order for Epiphyllum oxypetalum propagation to be successful, it must have light exposure and warmth. It does well outdoors but only during warmer months when there is plenty of sunlight available. The plant can be grown indoors but needs sunlight and a warm environment to thrive.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum will do well with soil that is light and porous. A good potting mix for the plant would be an equal mixture of bark chips, perlite, sand, and organic compost mixed together.
The slipper cactus can be fertilized with an organic fertilizer that is diluted to half strength. It should also not be fertilized more than once every two weeks and then only after the plant has had a chance to grow for some time.
Epiphyllum oxypetalum should be watered so that the soil is moist but not wet. It can survive with infrequent watering in between longer periods of water, as well as dry spells.
The ideal temperature for Epiphyllum oxypetalums is between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. This will allow it to thrive and grow well indoors with some protection from the midday sun
Epiphyllum oxypetalums need humidity to grow well. They should be misted with water at least once per day. The plants can also be grown in a terrarium and will take care of the humidifying process themselves.
The slipper cactus should be repotted about once every two to three years. The best time is during the spring or winter when it has been growing for a while and has gotten too big in its container.
Epiphyllum oxypetalums should be pruned regularly to keep the plant healthy. It is advised that they are cut back at least once per year or whenever it becomes necessary.
The growth rate of this plant is slow. It can take years before it grows to a mature size and will need time in between repotting sessions for the soil to settle again.
The hardiness zone for the slipper cactus is from USDA zones 9 to 11.
The plant is not toxic to animals but can irritate the skin if touched.
Pests and diseases
The slipper cactus is susceptible to pests such as scale and mealy bugs. It can also develop a fungus in humid conditions which should be removed before it spreads by spraying the plant with an organic fungicide.