With the concept of cacti, we usually associate the idea of plants living in extreme conditions of existence - arid areas with strong winds. But there are several hundred species of cacti that, on the contrary, live in the tropical rainforests of South and Central America, where they inhabit along with other epiphytes? orchids, bromeliads and ferns - on the trunks and branches of trees. These plants cannot be called parasites, as they are often mistakenly called. With their roots, they only attach to the rough bark, entwining it with a dense network to extract as much moisture and nutrients as possible from small accumulations of organic residues - rotted foliage, animal excrement lingering in its cracks. Here, in the crowns of the trees, they receive good lighting necessary for life and a constant influx of fresh air. Some of them, such as creeping and climbing cacti from the genera Selenitzereus and Hilocereus, take root in the soil, but then with the help of numerous aerial roots climb almost to the very tops of tall forest giants. Such strong, almost unlimited, growth is due to the fact that aerial roots not only hold the plant on a support, but also serve to absorb water and nutrients. These highly nutrient-consuming species produce the largest flowers of any cactus species. Their flowers can reach up to 20-25 cm across the village of the Reus (these include the famous queen of the night - 8e1escheseiz grandifloms and the "princess of the night" - B. p1egapiSH8) and up to 30 cm at the guillocereus of the undulating Nuoosegeis eryohei). Each flower opens only for one night, but each year the plants form so many buds that the flowering time can stretch for many weeks. But not only epiphytes are found on trees: they often grow in crevices of rocks on small accumulations of humus. The living conditions are similar here: the substrate in which the plants live, constantly has a low pH, is well ventilated. Thanks to frequent rainfall, plants get enough moisture, but there is never harmful moisture: excess ox drains quickly.
The origin and lifestyle of epiphytic cacti require special care rules, which are very different from caring for succulent species of cacti. As inhabitants of tropical rainforests, epiphytes love warmth and uniform humidity. Of course, they do not know the pronounced long periods of drought, and therefore, during growth, they are quite sensitive to drying out. The temperature, even during the rest period, should not fall below 12 ° C (with the exception of hybrid epiphyllums). Epiphytes love high humidity, which is achieved by frequent spraying (with fine spraying) with warm soft water. Stagnant air should be avoided because their natural habitat - the crowns of trees - is usually well ventilated. Deprived of fresh air, plants become easy prey for disease: fungal diseases are a particularly serious danger. Epiphytic cacti need light protection against direct sunlight. In the warm season, it is preferable to choose a semi-shady place for them in the fresh air. The substrate for their culture must be porous, rich in humus, slightly acidic. The most favorable pH is 5.0-6.0. A neutral score of about 7 for many plants may already mark the beginning of death. Leaf and coniferous land, as well as peat and bog moss sphagnum are the most important components of the substrate. You can use a peat substrate, to which quartz sand, perlite, lavalite, vermiculite are mixed for better permeability. Hybrid epiphyllums are given a slightly heavier mixture with a small admixture of turf soil and loose clay. Epiphytes are responsive to regular feeding with low concentration mineral fertilizer. The content of nitrogenous substances in top dressing should be slightly higher than for highly succulent species of cacti. Organic fertilizers are very useful for them - horn chips (can be mixed into the substrate), bone meal, guano and other organic substances. Epiphytic cacti grow well on hydroculture under optimal conditions for the supply of water and nutrients.
For the culture of epiphytes, the so-called orchid baskets are very good. They come in different sizes, from different materials - wood or plastic. Fans with skillful hands themselves can make simple hanging devices. To prevent the substrate from spilling out between the planks, the cracks are laid with coarse-fiber material or sphagnum moss, or the basket itself is filled with these materials. Climbing plants are grown on trellises near the wall or on epiphytic trunks (“epiphytic trees”). They develop best when planted freely in a conservatory or conservatory. Good nutrition will lead to abundant flowering.
Where there is enough space, you can build a special tree for planting epiphytes on it, on which climbing forks can also climb. It can be decorated with epiphytes from other families, for example, bromeliads (tillandsia) and orchids. Trunks of white acacia (robinia) are best suited for this purpose. They are very strong, beautifully branched, their bark is also quite decorative and convenient for planting epiphytes: roots are easily attached to it, it holds moisture well. The easiest way to start is with a piece of cork oak bark. For attaching plants, a thin copper wire can go even narrow ribbons of kapron or perlon (you can cut old stockings). The roots of epiphytes are covered with a loose substrate (sphagnum, leafy rotten earth, the roots of osmund and other ferns or fibrous peat), and all this is attached to a piece of bark. A culture of epiphytic cacti goes beyond the usual framework for caring for succulents. It is even, perhaps, difficult to call them succulents. These are light in culture, responsive to attentive care creatures that grow better among those lovers who can provide them with more free space. With the right selection of species, you can enjoy the peculiar beauty of these willingly flowering plants for a whole year.
Succulent plants are so diverse, among them there are so many small species that never grow to large sizes, that they may well be content with the limited space that is provided for them in a small window area in the living room. With the right selection of species, even here you can successfully grow their true collection. The high light demand of most cacti makes it primarily to stay on the windows of the south, south-east and south-west. While a large number of other indoor plants suffer from direct sunlight and therefore need to be regenerated for a long time, most succulents feel great here. For eastern and western windows, you can also pick up interesting views that are content with less light. These are epiphytic cacti. Windows facing north are not suitable for long-term cultivation of cacti. Plants feel best if they are not placed individually in small pots, but are grouped in a wooden or plastic box where they are immersed together with the pots in a moisture-proof substrate. This protects them from the danger of severe drying out of the earthen coma. Pots it is desirable to immerse in the substrate to the very edge, it looks more beautiful. This arrangement facilitates care, in particular watering, - no need to water each individual instance. Plants grouped together exhibit more uniform growth, but there is a danger of inhibition of small species by their more powerful neighbors. As a result, their development is as if suppressed. In this case, you just need to think about a suitable choice of plants. If necessary, you can take out a particular plant and move it - when cultivated in pots, it is quite easy to carry out. The box is filled with the usual substrate for cacti, or they take clean chopped pumice, lavalig or their mixture, Another promising method for keeping plants is hydroculture (for more details see Hydroculture). Plants that require a cold and dry wintering, almost they never bloom.This, of course, is a big minus, but, on the other hand, many of these plants are so beautiful and without flowers that they can please their owners all year long. so that their roots do not sometimes the window serves only for the wintering of plants that were on the balcony, in the garden or in the greenhouse during the warmer months, in which case the exposure of the window is less important than the temperature conditions: the main thing for these species is the cold content. watering is almost not required, the pots can stand freely, without immersion in the substrate.
The greenhouse in the garden provides plants with favorable conditions for growth: they are protected by glass, receive a lot of light and can be adequately ventilated. Frames should be easily lifted so that plants freely receive moisture that is beneficial to them - warm summer rain or night dew. There are simple and gable greenhouses. Sunlight will be used in the best way if simple (single-pitch) hotbeds are located in the east-west direction, and gable in the north-south direction. Greenhouses are located in bright sunny places of fat. Along with old, proven models of hotbeds, others now appear, designed specifically for amateur gardeners. They are designed for small areas, made mainly of plastic or light metals. If necessary, greenhouses are shaded with the help of mats. Shading is used only on sunny days at noon and then removed. Prolonged generation leads to unwanted elongation of cacti. Regular airing and shading of greenhouses can be a problem if there is no one to follow this throughout the day. Early airing in the early morning is better than hot, stale air. For experienced enthusiasts, automatic greenhouse frames are recommended, which allow you to ventilate the greenhouses and adjust the temperature in them using an oil thermostat. They can be used in small amateur greenhouses. Greenhouses can be used only from spring to autumn. Equipping them with appropriate heating, you can extend the stay of cacti in them until late autumn. The problem of soil temperature is also very important. To heat the soil, use a spiral connected to a 24V transformer or a special plastic heating cable immersed in sand. Air heating is carried out using a fan with warm air, electric batteries or - on large areas - with water heating pipes connected to a residential building. Heating must be constantly controlled by a thermostat. In temperate regions, many cactus species can overwinter in greenhouses. In this case, the plants must be kept dry from mid-October; it should be noted that frames can pass water. For reliability, a transparent plastic film is placed on the frames and then the second row of frames. The inner walls of the greenhouse are lined to protect against cold weather with styrofoam plates. Even in winter, it is necessary to ventilate the greenhouse in the thaw - this is very important with dense cover with a film. On frosty days, greenhouses are covered with straw or reed mats. During severe and prolonged frosts, they can be left for several days. The cold-4 wintering in the greenhouse, with short frosts, is well tolerated (and for some species it is even useful) Echinocereus, Echinopsis, Lobivia, Rebucia, Sulcorecreation, Mammillaria, Corifanta, Necessia, Oroya, Parody, Pediocactus, Esperostereus, Oreocereus, Oreo , mayhuenia, pterocactus, sclerocactus.
To have a small greenhouse is a cherished dream of every lover. And indeed, this provides completely new opportunities for raising prickly pets. But one and the same problem arises both for the owner of a modest greenhouse and for the proud owner of a greenhouse: both of them constantly lack space. For example, I rarely saw an amateur greenhouse, the owner of which would refuse to build additional hanging shelves, where the most light-loving species are located above, under the glass. And it can be understood, although often this is to the detriment of the plants below, Some lovers tend to turn a small amateur greenhouse into a kind of botanical garden. With amazing knowledge and diligence, they successfully cultivate a wide variety of interesting species in a small room. Now there are many different varieties of amateur greenhouses being produced, but despite this, many amateurs prefer home-building. Gable greenhouse for the best use of sunlight is located in the east-west direction, and gable - north-south. The greenhouse for succulents should be well ventilated. Perfect ventilation through the roof and side transoms. If necessary, fans are installed for better air circulation and even heat distribution.
Plants are placed in a greenhouse according to their characteristics and growth forms. It is important that they shade each other as little as possible. On the brightest side, smaller plants are mixed. Particularly photophilous species are placed directly at the glass, damp-sensitive and rare species get a more protected separate place. Climbing plants are placed near the wall well lit by the sun, they are attached with a wire, a trellis or an epiphytic tree is built. Ampelic plants are placed in freely hanging hanging vessels, or find a place for them on a hanging rack, an epiphytic tree (weakly growing species).
The impression of southern exoticism is created by cacti and other succulents that adorn sunny terraces and corners of the garden in the warm season. The beneficial effects of the sun, air, wind, as well as rain and dew lead to a healthy powerful post of cacti. There are columnar, I spherical, and flat-cactus cacti, and other succulents - agaves, aloe, milkweeds, yuccas, many thick-headed (Eonium, Crassulaceae, Echeveria, Kalanchoe, Sedum, etc.), as well as shrub-like sunstones - mesembrian or . The bizarre exotic look of cacti and other succulents forces us to separate them into a special group so that they are not in close proximity to local garden plants. Such exotic corners in the garden look great in well-lit places intended for a quiet rest. The place for such landings should have bulk soil made of sand, pebbles, lavalig, from which something similar to a natural rocky landscape is built. This always produces a beneficial visual effect. Needless to say, the site should be broken up with courage and scope, do not think that it is enough to simply scatter a handful of sand to supplement it later with stones and plants. Elevation should not rise too steeply over flat surrounding terrain. The mineral substrate looks natural and guarantees good drainage, so that in rainy weather there is no danger of stagnation of moisture. Plants carried out in the air should be sufficiently deepened, to the very edge of the pots, so that their edges are invisible.But at the same time, too deep landing should be avoided, remember that the root neck should remain free. Plants with overhanging or spreading shoots should be placed on an elevation, decorating the walls of the pots with pieces of stones, so that it looks as natural as possible. The variety of succulents allows you to create spectacular compositions. Columnar cacti and milkweeds look best in groups - several copies of each species. The groups themselves, as well as the dominant solitary (individual) plants, should not be planted too densely. Plants should be given enough room for free development and placed so that they do not interfere with each other and each one looks the most advantageous. Creeping or creeping species should be placed on some stone ledge so that their shoots can hang freely. In the open ground, plants are carried out on a cloudless, windless day. After a long winter maintenance, they are somewhat weaned from bright light, so you need to gradually accustom them to changing conditions. A sharp change of scenery, immediately a lot of sun and wind can cause serious damage to plants. After 5-8 days of getting used to, during which it is better to shade particularly valuable plants from the bright midday sun, most species provide a sunny, well-ventilated place. An exception is the so-called leaf-shaped cacti, which feel better in partial shade.
Cacti, originating from the North and South American highlands, endure fairly significant frosts, as well as snow and ice cover. In our much more humid climate, only some of these species are really hardy - these are primarily lower prickly pears. The term "winter-hardy" means that plants can live in open ground without a protective winter cover. Many winter-hardy cacti still require protection from the harmful effects of dampness from autumn to spring. In winter, humid weather with high humidity and frequent precipitation predominates in our climate. There is not enough solar heat and light, so characteristic of places of natural growth of cacti. Constant dampness during prolonged cold wintering is harmful to cacti. Unpleasant surprises can be avoided if the bed with cacti is not located in the middle of the garden, but on the sunny side of the building. Under the ledge of the roof, cacti develop perfectly, since they were sufficiently supplied with water and nutrients during growth, but from the end of September they must already be kept without moisture.
1. Seven secrets of success:
Botanical name: Epiphyllum.
Family . Cactus.
Cactus Epiphyllum - Origin . Central and South America.
Epiphyllum is distinguished by numerous, drooping, flat, green stems. The stalks epiphyllum can be segmented or similar to long tapes.
Large denticles, in which rare areoles with short spines. With age, the stems are lignified, become rounded in cross section and are covered with brown bark at the base.
Flowers very bright, large, appear at the ends of the shoots - white, pink, purple, orange, yellow or red. In diameter, the flowers reach 15 cm. During the flowering period, plants often fill the room with a wonderful aroma.
Plants have close family ties with phyllocactus and easily form hybrid specimens with them.
Height . In length, shoots can reach 1 - 3 m.
Blooms in late spring or early summerrare flowers can appear on large plants at any other time of the year.
From each areola, only one flower is able to appear, which remains open and attractive for 5 days.
Most often, buds appear on flat shoots - leaves. With proper care and suitable conditions, it can occur. repeated flowering during the season.
2.2 Growing, pruning
Flower epiphyllum unpretentious and content with modest top dressing and rare watering. Provide him large space for development and tame periodically too long shoots.
Adult plants stand periodically thin outremoving old and sick shoots. Since the flowers form on flat, young branches, the trihedral adult stems can be removed without regret.
For pruning, you can use a secateurs with a sharp blade, and sprinkle the places of cuts with charcoal powder.
Do not move plants during the laying of buds and flowering - they can lose flowers.
During late spring and summer take cacti to fresh air. Do not immediately leave plants on the street for a day - temper cacti gradually leaving them on the street for only a few hours during the day. Make sure that the plants are protected from strong gusts of wind and rain. Put cactus pots shaded from direct sunlight.
During restwhich last from October to March, the epiphyllum does not grow and this is quite normal - new shoots will form in spring and summer. In some cases, plants begin to wake up already at the end of winter - in February.
If desired, you can use epiphyllum for vertical gardening - for this, long stems are worth provide support or drop him off in a hanging planter and apply as ampel flower, the long stems of which will hang in a beautiful cascade over the edges of the pot.
What it is?
The homeland of the epiphyllum is the tropical forests of South and Central America, partly Mexico, and therefore it is also called the “forest cactus”.
The plant was discovered by the English biologist Adrian Haworth in 1812. He gave him the unusual name "epiphyllum", which is translated from Greek as "at the top of the sheet" (epi - on top and phyllum - sheet). Apparently, the scientist took the wide flat stems of a cactus for its leaves. The latter in the form of small processes are also present and are located in the hollows of the stems under the thorns.
The shoots are very long - in some varieties of phyllocactus they reach 3 meters. More often they are flat in shape, with serrated edges and a few needles, although there are three-sided options.
The flowers of the epiphyllum are conical and rather large: the size can vary from 10 to 30 cm in diameter, depending on the variety. Their color is also different: there are white, pink, red and yellow buds.
Epiphyllum blooms in spring and summer, exuding an incredible fragrance.
The fruits of phyllocactus are edible, sweetish in taste, in appearance they resemble a plum covered with rare thorns. In the ripened state, they are most often red, but can also correspond to the color of the flowers. However, the appearance of fruits must be preceded by cross-pollination, so at home to achieve that the plant bears fruit is very difficult, but possible.
After a brief description of the appearance and structure of the forest cactus, we turn to its varieties.
Oxypetalum (it is acute-flake or acid-flake)
This variety has another name - "Queen (or queen) of the night." He received it for his royal luxurious huge white flowers, 20 cm in diameter and surprisingly fragrant. True, they can only be admired for one day. Oxypetalum is one of the largest types of epiphyllum: the bush grows up to 3 meters in height. Its stems are flat and wide - up to 10 cm - with wavy edges and a wooding base.
In nature, there are 2 varieties of this variety, both with a very original wavy form of stems. At the first shoots look like oak leaves connected to each other. The second variety has wider and darker stems, which freely twist and twist, changing the direction of movement and even their shape. The flowers of the Guatemalan epiphyllum are pink, medium in size.
Angular (or anguliger)
In nature, it grows only in Mexico. Branched shoots of a zigzag shape reach up to 1 meter in length. At the base, they are round or trihedral and with time become wooden. Lateral shoots are flat, up to 8 cm wide.
Anguliger blooms in late spring. The flowers are large, up to 15 cm in diameter, can have a diverse color, but most often there are white or red buds.
Its shoots are saturated with bright green color. Primary stems can grow up to 1 meter, secondary ones only up to 50 cm. Flowers with soft pink petals and a yellow core are quite large, up to 25 centimeters in diameter.
Phyllanthus begins to bloom in June as single buds, and several areoles can bloom at once.
This type of epiphyllum has earned the love of flower growers not so much because of its beautiful appearance, but because of its healing properties. So, it relieves the body of poisons and toxins accumulated, for example, as a result of intoxication. It is also able to reduce the harmful effects of electromagnetic waves. But also, apparently, the Dreamland cactus is very spectacular. He is the owner of bright and very fragrant flowers, which can be of different colors: pink, red, white and yellow.
Hooker (or Hooker)
It has stalks in the form of an arc with wavy edges and distinct veins. The flowers of this cactus variety are white, with long, narrow and sharp, petals. In its homeland, Cuba, it can reach impressive dimensions.
A fast-growing cactus with wide secondary stems (up to 7 cm) and long yellow-brown needles. True, it also fades quickly - the life of each blossoming bud is no more than 2 days. Flowers open only in the evening.
On the main stems of a round shape, secondary shoots of a greenish-blue hue are formed, which can reach a length of up to 1 meter. Soft cream buds bloom at night and delight the eye for up to 10 days. Flowering is accompanied by a pleasant aroma.
Based on the species that grow in nature, about 200 varieties of epiphyllum, also suitable for house breeding, were bred. The most famous hybrid representatives are Just Prue, Johnson Epiphyllum, King Midas and others.
How to choose?
It is worth approaching the purchase of epiphyllum very responsibly. Not only the period of its life, but also how efficiently the plant can bloom and bear fruit depends on which instance you choose.
When buying phyllocactus, pay attention to its appearance.
The stems and leaves should be uniform, saturated green without spots, cobwebs and dried areas, as these signs may indicate the presence of pests or diseases, including viral ones. There should also be no damage on the stems - choose a plant with dense shoots, the integrity of which is not broken.
Get a cactus without flowers and buds, because when transporting the epiphyllum, they can crumble and more these areoles will not bloom.
Epiphyllum, like any cactus, is quite simple to maintain, especially during dormancy. He requires increased attention only at a time of active growth and flowering, which lasts from mid-spring to mid-summer.
The plant needs good lighting, however, direct sunlight is contraindicated. Therefore, it is better to place it on the western or eastern side. If you put the pot in the north, then it will not have enough light, and in the south - you risk burning a cactus. If it is not possible to provide an optimal location, then with strong sun, remove the pots from the windowsill or curtain the windows.
Temperature and humidity
Comfortable temperature during flowering is + 22-25 degrees. With the end of the vegetative period, it must be gradually lowered so that it reaches a mark of + 12-15 degrees in winter.
Humidity should be average, approximately 50%. In very hot weather and during the heating season, the epiphyllum must be sprayed with warm water or wiped with a sponge moistened in it. However, if the sun is too bright, this cannot be done, otherwise the plant will get burned.
The frequency of watering also depends on the time of year and the phase in which the plant is located. In the spring-summer period, with the beginning of the stage of active growth and the formation of buds, the soil needs to be moistened more often - about 1 time per week. Water should not be cold and not from the tap, but settled and slightly warmed up. In winter and in the rainy season, it is enough to water the plant once every 2 weeks. The need for moisture is judged by the dry surface of the soil.
Ordinary land for planting epiphyllum is not suitable. Phyllocactus needs only fertile soil with a large number of nutrients and an acidity level of 5–6. However, it should not contain lime - it is contraindicated in the epiphyllum.
Of course, it’s easier to buy ready-made soil in the store, but you can prepare it yourself, knowing the necessary components of the mixture.
Here are the most suitable and simple soil options:
- leafy earth (4 hours) + turfy land (1 hour) + sand (1 hour) + charcoal (1 hour) + humus (1 hour),
- sand from large grains of sand (4 hours) + leaf mixture (1 hour),
- peat mixture (4 hours) + sand (1 hour) - this option is best used for already mature plants.
Transplantation is necessary primarily for young epiphyllums. It must be carried out once a year in spring, before the beginning of the flowering pore. But for plants older than 4 years, it is shown only if the roots begin to grow strongly and break out through the drainage holes.
An adult should be transplanted only after all the flowers have fallen.
Dishes for transplantation should be low, but wide. The weak roots of the epiphyllum are not able to penetrate into the soil to a great depth. It should be crowded - this will contribute to the rapid growth of new shoots and the active formation of buds.
A drainage layer consisting of pebbles (or crushed bricks), polystyrene and expanded clay is required to be placed at the bottom of the tank. Drainage prevents stagnation of water in the pot. A suitable soil substrate is already being poured on it.
Before planting, the cactus roots must be dry and free from the old land in which they were located. To do this, do not water the plant for 2 days before being placed in new soil.
Having planted a cactus, we place it in a shady part of the house inaccessible to sunlight, and only slightly moisten the ground.
In the active period of vegetation, epiphyllum needs to be fed with microelements. It is produced in spring and summer 2 times a month. Fertilizers can be purchased at the flower shop. The composition must necessarily include calcium, phosphorus and potassium.
When the plant begins to form buds, it is recommended to feed it with mullein diluted in water - with it the cactus will receive the whole complex of nutrients.
Epiphyllum trimming is necessary not only to maintain aesthetics. The plant needs to get rid of shoots that are not able to give flowers.
These are old stems on which buds had once formed. However, they can be removed only after 2-3 years from the moment of flowering, otherwise it will disrupt the functioning of the whole plant.
Shoots, on which a flower can never potentially appear, are subject to circumcision. These include trihedral or cylindrical stems, there is little chance of blooming in thin and too weak stems, so it is also better to remove them. We save cactus from shoots with a woody base, twisted and with cork formations - they will not only not give buds, but will also interfere with their healthy full-fledged “brothers”.
Cut the stems with a knife at the base, and then treat the cut with either fungicide or activated carbon.
2.3 Reproduction of the epiphyllum
Simple enough to breed stem or apical cuttings about 15 cm long, rooted in wet peat with sand. For cuttings it is not necessary to take rounded lignified or trihedral shoots - use only flat, young twigs.
The base of the handle is cut so that it forms an obtuse angle. The cut point is dried in order to avoid decay for 2 to 3 days outdoors.
- For rooting, small pots with a diameter of up to 7 cm are used, filled with nutritious soil based on peat and river sand.
- Sprinkle the earth on top with river sand - its layer should be about 2 cm thick. Sand will help to remove excess moisture from plants and they will not rot.
- Cuttings are immersed in a substrate to a depth of 1 - 1.5 cm. At a slight angle.
- Young plants are placed in a warm place shaded by sunlight.
- Do not immediately water the cuttings - the first watering is carried out 2 to 4 days after planting.
Young shoots that have appeared will speak about the successful completion of the rooting process.
Rooting cuttings can be carried out and above the water - make sure that the base of the cuttings do not come in direct contact with moisture, but are in close proximity to its surface.
For such rooting, a glass of water is covered with a piece of cardboard, in which they make a small slot. Insert the handle into the slot so that its base is a few millimeters above the surface of the water.
When the roots up to the length of the stem appear 1 - 2 cm., young plants are planted in the ground.
For some time, such cacti will not show any signs of new growth - but under the surface of the soil their roots will develop a new space.
Epphyllum also propagates by seed, sown in spring in a very loose and porous substrate.
- Before sowing for several hours, the seeds are soaked in a weak solution of potassium permanganate with the addition of drugs such as epin or zircon.
- For planting, a container with drainage holes and a plastic cover is prepared.
- At the bottom of the container lay a small drainage layer - for example, small expanded clay.
- The container is filled with very loose and well-drained soil based on peat and river sand with the addition of a small amount of humus or sod land.
- Planting material is laid out on the surface of the substrate.
- From above, the seeds are covered with a very thin layer of sand or just slightly pressed into the soil surface with your fingertips.
- Crops are covered with transparent plastic or glass to create a greenhouse effect.
- Crops are occasionally moistened from a spray bottle with room temperature water.
- Seedlings are regularly ventilated by lifting the lid for a few minutes a day and removing accumulated condensate. Daily airing time gradually increase.
- For successful germination, the container is placed in a warm (20 - 25 ° C) and well-lit place without exposure to direct sunlight.
The first sprouts appear within 2 to 3 weeks after sowing - at this time it is better to completely remove the shelter from them.
The first pick they do it when the sprouts are about 2 months old - they are planted in separate small pots, trying to minimally disturb the young, fragile roots.
Seed plants are developing enough long and at first did not resemble their adult counterparts.
Young epiphyllums have thick, juicy, branched, rounded shoots in cross sectioncovered with white, straight, thin needles. Over time, the thorns die off, and the shoots become more and more flat - at the age of 3 to 4 months.
Epiphyllum is distinguished by its early onset of flowering - subject to the basic rules of agricultural technology first buds will decorate cacti grown from seeds in the fourth or fifth year of life.
Adult plants can split during transplant. Make sure that each bush obtained as a result of division has its own root system and the ground green part.
If a wound surface appears during the section, then it is necessary sprinkle with crushed charcoal - this will allow to dry and disinfect the wound.
Delenki planted in their own pots and leave watering for 3 to 5 days in a bright place without direct rays of the sun.
The first buds will appear on such plants as early as next year.
Reproduction is good with air layering.
Aerial roots appear on the long stems of the epiphyllum in case of good humidity. Such shoots are pinned to the surface of the earth and instilled into a small pot placed near the container with the mother plant. The upper part of the shoot should remain above the soil surface.
Within a month new, young stems may appear in the tacked place. Such layers are finally separated from the mother bush a couple of months after the appearance of new growth.
Unlike most cacti, requires enough nutritiousporous soil with a high content of organic matter and acidic pH ranging from 5.0 to 6.0.
To make the mixture, you can use a substrate for succulents and cacti, in which leaf humus and sod land are added, which will enrich the soil with nutrients and make it loose.
For additional nutrition and as a baking powder, a small amount of charcoal is mixed into the soil. And of course, the soil must have excellent drainage - for this, coarse river sand, perlite or vermiculite is mixed into the soil.
The older the plants, the more acidic the pH should be and the substrate should contain more and more peat.
2.6 Diseases and pests
- Cacti rot when water stagnates, especially in the autumn - winter time.
- Relocation to another place after laying the buds and during flowering will cause the epiphyllum dump buds and flowers.
- Of viral diseases plants may be susceptible to mosaics - cacti affected by this virus cannot be treated, they are destroyed.
- Of fungal diseases on the flower you can see fusarium, rust, anthracnose. Fungal diseases occur with insufficient ventilation and keeping in a too cold and humid room - for example, black rot.
- With an excessive nitrogen content in the substrate of the plant, abundantly increase green massbut rarely form buds.
- Leafy shoots can become too meaty and juicyand then burst if you feed the cactus with nitrogen fertilizers.
- Epiphyllum does not bloom with a lack of light or the absence of a cool and dry period of rest.
- Plants are quite capable get burnsif they were watered under the direct rays of the sun and on the leaves remained droplets of moisture during the day.
- Chlorosis in the form of yellow spots on the surface of the stems appears in the case of irrigation with unstable tap water containing traces of chlorine.
From insect pests, mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scale insects sometimes appear. In the summer months, when cacti are taken out to the street, slugs and snails can take their fancy.
You should start with the theory, because knowledge in such things as the habitat, natural needs and biological belonging of a species will help us in practice.
The first mention of this epiphytic cactus is found for a long time. Back in 1812, the famous English naturalist Adrian Haworth described the cactus he discovered and named it epiphyllum, which means "flower above."
Species met in the tropics of Mexico. Thus, the scientist emphasized the peculiarity of the variety - a bright flower that appears on the stems. Over time, the description of the species was supplemented, and today we reliably know that the cactus has dense and juicy stems, which are very easy to confuse with the leaves due to the similarity of forms.
The edges of the leaf-shaped stems are covered with sharp spines, which perform protective functions. But the leaves occupy a place under the shoots, in a kind of recesses.
They are small in size, very much like small scales, but this affects the appearance of the cactus only positively, since small leaves add a touch of decorativeness and miniature.
The cactus grows, like a shrub, with a gradually lignified base. The large flowers, which epiphyllum is so famous for, emit a fragrance from a bud that keeps on a long flower tube.
The classification of cactus is mainly based on visual difference, since there are no fundamental differences between the varieties of epiphyllum.
Species have different shades of colors, from light cream to bright red. Of course, breeders could not bypass the epiphyllum and leave it without outlandish colors, but for some reason blue tones do not occur.
Perhaps it is precisely because of its color spectrum that the epiphyllum also received the popular nickname "Orchid Cactus."
Regarding the fruits, everything is rather ambiguous. Of course, the plant is able to bear fruit, and home-grown fruits are no worse than wild ones, but to get them you need to organize cross-pollination of flowers, and many beginners have problems with this. However, now we will tell you about the main types of epiphyllum, and you will see that the game is worth the candle.
In another article, we described a plant called Episcia.
Homemade Epiphyllum Varieties
Epiphyllum has many species and varieties. Let's consider some of them.
Semi-epiphytic plant. A short bush rarely stretches more than 100 centimeters. The stems, like most other epiphyllums, leaf-shaped and quite thick, they give the cactus recognition and their own character.
The length of the stems reaches 70 centimeters and a width of no more than 10. Flowering can be observed only at night, perhaps for you this will become a small problem.
A very large plant is suitable for outdoor use, since the height of the cactus sometimes reaches 3 meters.
Such a dimensional flower has long stems, which are gradually covered with a kind of bark, starting from its base. The stems are wide, about 10 centimeters, the shape is flat, with noticeable notches along the edges.
But the main "trump card" of this cactus is its flowers, which grow by 20 centimeters and smell great. The hue of the buds is closer to white, the flowers have tubes, which in turn are loosely covered with scales.
The fruits of acid-epiphyllum are red, but many hybrids will help you choose the plant that you like best.
It grows quickly, narrow and thin shoots grow on the sides of the plant. The cactus has few needles, about 5, and they are very small, so sometimes they may not be noticed.
The buds bloom later in the evening, bloom for about 2 days and begin to fade. During this short time you should have time to enjoy the beautiful flowering of the epiphyllum.
A feature of the cactus is the strong branching of the stems, which vary in their shape from round to multifaceted.
The areola is covered with small white bristles, and the flowers themselves are quite large and emit a viscous aroma.
The rigid structure of the stems has the shape of an arc, in diameter the stems reach as much as 10 centimeters. Areoles are approximately 5 centimeters apart, and white buds are visible even from afar.
Long stems can grow up to a meter, and the secondary shoots reach half a meter. Sometimes areoles are tilted closer to the ground, this does not worsen the image of the cactus, but adds its own zest. The large diameter of the flowers sometimes reaches 18 centimeters, which is quite a lot.
The bush-shaped cactus is equipped with very long, up to 4 meters, stems that are tilted into the ground, as well as the areoles of this flower.
Here from these varieties you can choose something specific to solve for sure, study the photos of the epiphilum, and in the meantime we will go on to describe the conditions for keeping the cactus.
Like any home culture, a cactus needs to be planted in the right soil and suitable container. Now we will discuss how to properly care for the Epifillum cactus at home.
The soil must be fertile. This seemingly obvious advice is neglected by many beginners, making an unsuitable substrate mixture.
You can either buy ready-made soil for cactus and succulents, or do the right thing, and mix a few simple ingredients yourself:
The ratio should be something like this: 1 part of turf, 4 parts of sheet land, 1 part of coal and a small percentage of sand. Such a proportion is the best suited for all the few requirements of the epiphilum. If you don’t have one of the listed components at hand or in the store, try using the following mixture, which also works well for cacti:
- Coarse sand any type.
- Stale sheet soil.
Such a mixture is much easier to prepare, but still good for practice. The proportions are as follows: 4 parts of sand, 1 part of leafy soil.
Regardless of your choice, the finished substrate should not be acidic, the pH should be 5-6, so that the plant does not suffer from an excess of salts and acids. Pay attention to the purity of the earth from all unnecessary and dangerous impurities, such as lime.
Of course, without a drainage layer anywhere. Do not skimp on drainage materials so that moisture is evenly distributed throughout the pot. By the way, about choosing a pot.
We advise you to buy small containers, since a container that is close in appearance will perfectly stimulate the growth of the cactus root system. A wide and shallow flowerpot is the right choice.
We select a place and build light for a cactus
The choice of place for the flowerpot rests on the degree of illumination. Note that a cactus loves bright but diffused light. Thus, the western and eastern parts of the house are suitable, the windows located on these sides will provide the flower with the necessary volumes of sunlight.
You don’t need to choose the north side, since the pot on it will not receive proper lighting, while on the south side the plant will have to darken. In the summer heat, boldly take the flowerpot outside and leave it in the shade so that the plant is slightly aired.
The warm season implies a temperature of 20-25 degrees, that is, room conditions will be enough. Closer to winter, the plant must be cooled evenly, thereby preparing it for a well-deserved rest. Keep 15 degrees above zero, that's enough.
Despite the stereotype that cacti do not like water, the epiphyllum needs to be watered regularly, since in its tropical homeland the flower gets used to stable moisturizing.
When the soil surface dries, moisten the plant abundantly, make sure that the earth does not dry out, but does not turn into a swamp. Choose a mild, chlorine-free fluid.
With the onset of winter, watering is reduced, again, for the flower to enter hibernation. Spraying should be carried out when in a room with a flower it is hot even for you. Gently spray some water from the spray bottle; this will definitely appeal to the cactus.
Once every two weeks, cactus needs special fertilizers suitable for this family. When a plant has buds, it must be fed with mullein, which is diluted in water in a ratio of 1: 4. In winter, no fertilizer is needed, you can wake up the cactus and bring down its biorhythm.
See also the article on Peresius cactus.
The flowering period begins in April and lasts until the end of July.
Note that buds will not appear on the young epiphyllum - the plant only blooms after 3 years. The life span of each bud is about 5–7 days.
During this period, the pot cannot be moved and moved to another place, otherwise fragile flowers will simply fall away.
Seeds are planted in early spring. As a container for landing, it is recommended to use wide and shallow plastic containers - they better retain moisture. Drainage is placed at the bottom of the dishes, then sand is poured. After watering, seeds are placed there, sprinkled with another layer of sand and covered with glass or polyethylene to create a greenhouse effect. Seed containers are placed in a warm and sunny place at home, every day for several minutes opening them for ventilation.
Sprouts appear first with needles, similar to ordinary cacti, then the thorns fall off, and the stem becomes flat and smooth.
However, flower growers do not really like the seed method of propagation, since buds on such cacti begin to appear only after 5 years.
Cuttings (basal processes)
This is the most common transplant method. A healthy, flat shoot of about 12 cm high is cut from a plant that is in the active flowering phase or has just faded away. The cut is a wide part of the stem, which is then narrowed, making the base of the stem triangular.
Before planting, the shoots must be disinfected and dried in order to rid them of vegetable juice flowing from the cut area. To do this, place the cuttings in an upright position in an empty narrow dish and leave there for two days.
Dried shoots are planted in plastic cups and instilled 1-2 cm into the prepared soil mixture, which should be crowned with a layer of river sand. Then we move the containers to the shadow zone and refrain from watering the shoots during the day, so that they better take root.
Sometimes the so-called aerial roots appear on the tops of the stems. This happens most often due to excess moisture. In this case, we tilt the appendix “head” to the ground and dig in the upper part along with the roots. After the emergence of new shoots on the stem, carefully separate them from the mother plant and grow separately.
Dividing the bush
During the epiphyllum transplant, we divide the bush with rhizomes into several parts. We rid the plant of dried and not very healthy looking areas and apply an antifungal agent, for example, fungicide.
Then we plant the bushes in separate containers, put them in a darkened place and do not water them for 2 days.