Epiphyllum - home care, make bloom
Epiphyllum belongs to the family, which is called cactus (Cactaceae). It is an epiphytic cactus. This flower in the wild can be found in the territory, located from the tropics of America to Mexico. But the fact is that epiphyllums are not exactly related to phyllocactuses (leaf cacti) and this is because they have a shrubby growth form, their base is lignified, and the stem is leaf-shaped. But at the same time, phyllocactuses are called hybrids, of which there are a large number, created on the basis of epiphyllums with species of related genera. Such plants are heliocersus (Heliocereus), nopalxochia (Nopalxochia), selenicereus (Selcnicereus), as well as others.
For the first time, Adrian Haworth made a description of this genus, and this happened in 1812. He gave the plant a name, consisting of Greek words that mean epi - "from above" and phyllum - "leaf". Thus, Adrian, as it were, emphasized that flowers form on this plant directly on the leaves. However, these were not leaves, but stems (modified).
The fleshy leaf-shaped stems of this flower have notches, and spines are also located on their edges. These leaves are formed in the recesses of shoots under the areoles and look like small scales. Fragrant funnel-shaped flowers are large and have a rather long flower tube.
The flowers of this plant can have a different color, namely: cream, pink, white, yellow, red with different shades. However, there are no blue flowers. And it is also popularly called a "cactus orchid."
Epiphyllum can bear fruit even at home, but for this it requires cross-pollination. Its fruits are quite large, similar in size to a plum. Their surface often has spines, and they are also painted yellow-green or purple (depending on what color the flower itself is). These fruits can be eaten, and their flesh has a sweet strawberry-pineapple taste.
Epifillum care at home
In order for the plant to bloom very abundantly and effectively, it needs a sufficiently large amount of light, but it must be diffused. So, it is best to put it near the windows located in the western or eastern part of the room. If it is located in the northern part of the room, the flowering of the epiffilum will be rather sparse, and if in the southern it will need shading from midday sunlight. In the warm season, experienced gardeners advise to rearrange the flower on the street and choose a fairly bright place for it, which will be protected from direct sunlight.
In spring and summer, this flower feels great at a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees. From November to February, the plant has a period of relative dormancy, and therefore it must be placed in a cooler place (from 10 to 15 degrees).
He does not need high humidity, but it should be borne in mind that if the room is too hot, then it must be regularly moistened with a spray. To do this, use well-maintained and fairly soft water.
How to water
These plants in spring and summer should be watered abundantly, since their homeland is moist forests. Watering should be done after the top layer of the earth dries out a little. It should be noted that the earth in the pot should always be moist. Water the epiphyllum with settled, soft and slightly cool water.
In winter, when the flower begins to rest, it should be watered less often. Watering ceases altogether if the plant is moved to a very cold room for wintering. With the onset of the spring period, they begin to water it a little more often, and during the formation of buds - abundantly.
In spring and summer, the flower should be fed 1 time in 2 weeks and used for this fertilizer for cacti. During the formation of buds, it is fed with mullein diluted in water in a ratio of 1: 4. Even when the epiphyllum fades, it can continue to be fed with mullein until the end of the summer period (2 times a month). And also you can alternately introduce mullein and fertilizer with a high nitrogen content into the soil.
Which soil is suitable
This flower prefers fertile land. So, you can make the earth mix yourself. To do this, mix the fiber-turf and sheet soil with chopped charcoal and sand in a ratio of 1: 4: 1: 1. Ready-made earth mix for cacti is also suitable. And you can mix coarse sand with a sheet mixture (semi-matured) in a 4: 1 ratio. Make sure that the soil acidity is approximately equal to pH 5–6. In any soil mixture for epiphyllum should not be lime.
How to transplant
Transplantation is carried out only if necessary, and it is preferable to carry out it after flowering ends. Do not forget that the flower pot must be close to the plant (needed for abundant flowering). Due to the fact that its roots are weak, the pot should be selected shallow, porous and necessarily wide. After you transplant the flower, it must be placed in a half-shaded place, and watering should be done very carefully.
After the flower begins to grow actively (as a rule, in the last winter weeks), it buds on the thickened areoles. Do not rearrange the pot at this time so that the plant does not drop buds. Flowering usually begins in spring, and after blooming, the flower falls after 5 days. During flowering, epiphyllum needs good watering, moisturizing and top dressing. If you take care of it well, then it will bloom again in the autumn.
From 1 areola, only 1 flower can appear. Therefore, in adult plants, systematically need to remove old stems. It is also recommended to remove trihedral shoots that sometimes appear, since buds are extremely rare on them.
How to propagate
Such a flower can be propagated by dividing the bush, stem cuttings, as well as seeds. So, small cacti with needles appear from the seeds, but over time the thorns disappear, and thickened leaf-shaped stems appear. In order for the seeds to sprout, they need a temperature of 20 to 25 degrees. The first flowering occurs already at 4 or 5 years.
Cuttings are cut exclusively from flat shoots, and their length should be equal to 10-15 centimeters. After the base of the handle is pointed (triangular in shape) and dried, it is “placed” in an empty small container so that it is directed vertically downward. There he must stay 2 or 3 days. For planting, you will need pots with a diameter of 7 cm, which must be filled with an earth mixture of the following composition: sand is mixed with turf and deciduous soil in a ratio of 1: 4: 5. The top layer equal to 2 cm should consist of washed river sand. Prepared cuttings are planted to a centimeter depth and are not watered for 1 day, and also cleaned in a shaded place for this time.
Pests and diseases
A plant is susceptible to a disease such as a viral mosaic of epiphyllums. Many small spots of light color appear on the plant (on the stem), and buds also fall off, and the tips dry at the shoots. It is difficult to fight this virus, therefore it is recommended to get rid of the diseased plant.
Also on the epiphyllum, a scale insect, a mealybug and aphids can settle. And if it is on the street, then slug.
And on the flower may appear annular corked expanding spot, and this often happens due to a fungal infection, for example, due to fusarium.
Epiphyllum (Epiphyllum, Phyllocactus). FLOWER TIPS
Watch this video on YouTube
The main types
Epiphyllum serrated (Epiphyllum crenatum)
This flower is a semi-epiphytic cactus.The height of the bush reaches an average of 100 centimeters. It also has leaf-shaped and very thick lateral stems, the maximum length of which is 0.7 m, and their width is 4-10 centimeters. There are no needles on areoles, but this type of epiphyllum blooms at night.
Epiphyllum acidic (Epiphyllum oxypetalum)
This flower can reach a height of 300 centimeters. Its twig-shaped stems are very long, and from below they are lignified. Quite wide (up to 10 centimeters) flat stems have large coarse-grained edges. White flowers are very fragrant and in length they reach 20 centimeters. And they also have a tube, on the surface of which there are scattered flakes. In this flower, the fruits are colored red. There are also many hybrids that differ in flower color and size.
Epiphyllum Lau (Epiphyllum laui Kimnach)
This lithophytic as well as epiphytic cactus is fast-growing. Its lateral shoots in diameter are equal to 1 or 2 centimeters, and they have a width of 5 to 7 centimeters. This flower has 1 to 5 brown-yellow, hairy needles that reach 3-5 millimeters in length. The opening of flowers usually occurs in the evening, and they fade after about 2 days.
Epiphyllum angular (Epiphyllum anguliger)
This plant is bushy and it has lignified stems that branch heavily. The part that is located below is rounded, but it is also trihedral (in cross section). Lanceolate lateral stems are carved along the edge, and their width is from 4 to 8 centimeters, length - up to 100 centimeters. On areoles there are 1 or 2 white bristles. Fragrant flowers are very large (10 to 15 centimeters).
Hooker Epiphyllum (Epiphyllum hookeri)
This cactus has stiff arched stems (drooping ones are rare). The diameter of these stems is 10 centimeters. Areoles are located at a distance of 5 centimeters from each other. White flowers are quite large.
Epiphyllum phyllanthus (Epiphyllum phyllanthus)
These cacti have stems whose length is from 50 to 100 centimeters. And the length of leaf-shaped (secondary) stems is from 25 to 50 centimeters. There are pubescent areoles. The flowers are quite large and in diameter are from 4 to 18 centimeters.
Epiphyllum Thomas (Epiphyllum thomasianum)
This cactus is bushy and has long (up to 4 m.) Drooping stems, as well as pubescent areoles.