Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is an Epiphyllum?
  2. What is perlite?
  3. How do I root my cuttings?
  4. Can I plant my epi in the ground?
  5. When I take a cutting where should I cut it from the plant?
  6. How do I know when to water my plant?
  7. Where should I put my plant?
  8. Can I grow my epis indoors?




1.  What is an Epiphyllum?

Epiphyllums or orchid cacti are true members of the cactus family but native to open jungles rather than deserts. It is an epiphyte that lives by attaching itself to a tree. They often root in pockets of soil that gather in the crotches of tress and are fertilized by a regular sprinkling of bird droppings, dead insects. They like semishade e.g under lath, shade cloth and trees. Epis (short for epiphyllum) do well in hanging baskets (away from snails) or on stands. Growing epis from cuttings takes about three years for flowers to appear. Each flower lasts for two to three days, but more keep coming. Epis use little water.

Moist epis frequently in dry weather, but don’t overwater them. Test whether plants are ready for watering by sticking a finger an inch or two into the mix. If it feels damp don’t water. If it feels dry water slowly until you see water drain out the bottoms of the containers. During the rainy season don’t water at all.

2.  What is perlite?
Perlite is a semi-coarse soil additive that improves drainage and aeration.
It is chemically inert and has an essentially neutral ph, It inorganic and does not deteriorate for many years. For more information about the origins of perlite and its current uses, please visit The Perlite Institute at http://www.perlite.org.
3.  How do I root my cuttings?
4.  Can I plant my epi in the ground?
Epis are best planted in hanging baskets or in pots.  They need coarse fast draining soil and that would be difficult to accomplish if planted in the ground.
5.  When I take a cutting where should I cut it from the plant?
Best to cut all the way to the base of the cutting for better plant appearance.
6.  How do I know when to water my plant?
Leave a little flat rock on top of the soil and when you lift it and there is no moisture showing on the other side it’s time to water.  Also, if the soil is dry 1/3 down from the top…water.  Just make certain not to let the plant get bone dry.
7.  Where should I put my plant?
Epis need sheltered sunlight e.g. on a porch, under a tree, 60 to 75% shade, never direct sunlight. I have found that my plants facing the east do extremely well.
8.  Can I grow my epis indoors?
A few years ago, after my mother passed away, I brought her Epis to my house, and, using some info she had saved regarding how to make cuttings, I made cuttings of each of her plants and mailed them to one of my daughters, who lives in Washington state, very close to Canada. She followed the planting info I sent along, and put the pots in her living room, in front of a west-facing window which had Venetian blinds. Well, they love where they are, and have climbed up and through the blinds (ruining them!) to the window. They have bloomed profusely for several years.
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.