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Disocactus ackermannii (Red Orchid Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Disocactus ackermannii (Haw.) Ralf Bauer

Common Names

Red Orchid Cactus, Orchid Cactus, Strap Cactus

Synonyms

Epiphyllum ackermannii (basionym), Nopalxochia ackermannii

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Hylocereeae
Genus: Disocactus

Description

Disocactus ackermannii is an attractive epiphytic cactus with with green or reddish stems. The stems consist of a short rounded base, up to 7 inches (17.5 cm) long, followed by longer flattened, leaf-like portions, up to 30 inches (75 cm) long and up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, with wavy edges. The plant branches from the base and arches downwards, being altogether up to 3.3 feet (1 m) long. The scarlet flowers are with greenish throats, funnel-shaped and up to 5.6 inches (14 cm) long. In cultivation, it has been confused with Disocactus x hybridus.

Photo via kammlott.net

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Many of the cultivated plants known as Epiphyllum hybrids are derived from crosses between species of Disocactus (rather than Epiphyllum) and other genera in the Hylocereeae.

Disocactus should be grown in a rich but still well draining soil. They should be watered regularly and fertilized as well. This is essential for good growth and flowering. During the growing period the plants need frequent watering. The waterings should be rather abundant, so that the soil becomes completely soaked, but let dry between watering. Keep relatively dry in winter or when night temperatures remain below 50 °F (10 °C).

These cacti dislike extreme heat and cold, so they are best green-housed during the depth of winter and heat of summer in hot dry climates. They also prefer shade to sun and like a little extra humidity in the air.

Disocactus can be reproduced both by seeds and cuttings.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Disocactus.

Origin

Disocactus ackermannii is native to the tropical forests in the states of Veracruz and Oaxaca in Mexico.

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