Epi Care by Season

Spring

March – April – May

Light
 
Epies need as much light as possible during the spring months.
  
Water
 
Check your plants weekly for soil moisture. When there is no rain, water and mist plants on a regular basis.
 
Temperature 
 
Frost damage is still an issue in some parts of San Diego. Remember, Epies prefer temperatures between 50 degrees and 80 degrees. Yes, they can survive for a brief period if the temperature goes as low as 30 or as high as 100, but remember – most of the plants you have in your garden originated in Central and South America where they inhabited the cloud forests.
  
Nutrition
 
Begin to fertilize your Epies so they will produce flowers! If you are propagating only for growth (these might be your young plants or ones that you want to just see growth) a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 is what I would use. If you have mature plants, and you want flowers this is the time to fertilize for bloom. Feeding with 0-10-10 or 2-10-10 to induce blooms can begin as early as February in the most temperate zones.
  
Grooming
  
You need to continue to remove all dead and withering plant material by either breaking off branches or using clean shears. You need to stay ahead of the weeds that naturally come in the Spring. You might want to invest in latex gloves to protect your hands from most of the epi spines as you remove weeds.
 
Planting & Repotting
 
Springtime is optimal for planting cuttings and repotting. You should pot “raw” cuttings with the areoles or notches facing upward in a dry to moderately moist soil no deeper than 1 ½ inches to 2 inches. Mist the cuttings for several weeks – do not saturate the soil. As your cuttings take root they will often produce roots from the areoles above the soil level and at the terminal end – this is a sure sign that your cutting is rooting beneath the soil. Once your cuttings have taken hold, they will begin to re-hydrate and may be watered lightly.
  
Re-potting
 
If your plant shows stress it’s likely due to the loss of moisture and nutrition. This less than desirable appearance will ordinarily improve as the plant regains itself. If you feel that your plant is suffering from a waterlogged root system, this could be caused by poor pot drainage or excessive rainfall, remove your plant from its pot and inspect your roots. When a root mass has completely rotted, the best solution is to remove the roots completely. You will need to allow your plant to callous, then repot your plant in a new mixture. Plant your epi deeper than a plant with an intact root system. This will allow adventitious roots to form above the original intersection between once existent roots and growth.
 
Pests
 
As the weather warms you need to inspect your plants for insect pests. Aphids are attracted to newly forming buds and ants are looking for honeydew. Malathion or insecticidal soaps usually are a catchall for most six-legged epi pests. Don’t forget to put out snail and slug bait. I recommend using meal vs pellets. Also, slightly misting the plants before you broadcast the snail and slug meal will enable it to temporarily adhere to areas most susceptible (eg new growth and buds).
 
Flowers
 
Your plants will begin to produce buds. Don’t be alarmed when the plant drops some of its buds. Your Epi can only sustain so many flowers. Most plants that have been well cared for will produce a sufficient number of flowers to bring a smile to your face. If a plant has not bloomed in several seasons it may not be exposed to enough hours or amounts of light  
 
Garden Jewels Nursery is San Diego's primary resource for Epiphyllums, or Epi- Hybrids & Species,
Oxypetalum, Orchid Cactus, Jungle Cactus, Hookeri, E. Crenatum and Semi Shade Plants.