cactus, soil, sun, water, fertilize, LACSS, Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society, epiphyte, epiphytic, flowers 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; use 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.