cactus, soil, sun, water, fertilize, LACSS, Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society, epiphyte, epiphytic, flowers
Culture of Epiphytic cacti
CULTURE OF EPIPHYTIC CACTI
Epiphyllums, Rhypsalis, Schlumbergeras
By Phyllis Flechsig - Encinitas, California
EPIPHYTIC CACTI are not plants of hot deserts, but grow in forests in the litter that accumulates on tree branches.
SHADE plants with shade cloth, lath, or a high-branching tree.
PLANT in a clean container with a drain hole; start with a pot at least 4" diameter and pot into larger pots as plants grow. Or plant three together in a 10" pot.
POTTING MIX should be fast-draining;muse about 3/4 humus (organic matter) and 1/4 drainage material such as perlite.
WATER during growing season whenever plants dry out; do not leave them dry for long periods at any season.
FEED during growing season with a low-nitrogen fertilizer (8 - 12% N). Timed-release fertilizers are OK. In February, use a 0-10-10 fertilizer or superphosphate to promote bud development.
WINTER plants in a frost-free place; if light is very dim, do not water.
FLOWERS will not appear until plants have mature stems and a large root system that fills the pot; flowers form only on mature stems. They must have good light, but not full sun, in order to bloom.
PESTS: Bait for snails; they can ruin plants and buds in no time. For insects, use alcohol on a brush, or insecticidal soap, or a systemic insecticide.