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Epiphyllum hookeri (Hooker's Orchid Cactus)


Scientific Name

Epiphyllum hookeri Haw.

Common Names

Hooker's Orchid Cactus, Climbing Cactus


Cereus hookeri, Cereus marginatus, Epiphyllum phyllanthus var. hookeri, Epiphyllum phyllanthus subsp. hookeri, Epiphyllum ruestii, Epiphyllum stenopetalum, Epiphyllum strictum, Phyllocactus hookeri, Phyllocactus stenopetalus, Phyllocactus strictus

Scientific Classification

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


Epiphyllum hookeri is a climbing cactus that produces a loose mass of long, flat, strappy foliage that results in a lovely sculptural effect. Mature plants produce big, fragrant white flowers in summer. This is a night-blooming cactus and the flowers open only at night and close by morning. The flowers are up to 9 inches (22.5 cm) long and up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter.

Epiphyllum hookeri (Hooker's Orchid Cactus)

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USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Epiphyllums are hardy to about 50 °F (10 °C), but require at least 60 °F (15 °C) during the growing season, so are best grown in a heated greenhouse, conservatory or indoors. Place the pots in bright, filtered light, with moderate to high humidity. To increase the humidity, position the pot on a tray filled with gravel and keep this topped up with water, but not enough so that the water reaches the surface. These cacti require sharply-drained growing media. Grow them in a standard cactus soil with added grit or perlite. Alternatively, mix 3 parts loam-based compost with 2 parts grit or perlite and 1 part peat-free multipurpose compost.

Overlong stems can be cut off or shortened. New shoots will usually develop just behind the cut. However, be careful not to overwater after pruning as the plant's water requirements will be reduced. Large Epiphyllums can become unstable in their pots. Either repot into a heavier pot, such as terracotta or a wider container, such as a pan. Alternatively, try using canes and tying the stems up, but this can look unsightly.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Epiphyllum.


Epiphyllum hookeri is endemic to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico.



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