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Epiphyllum laui (Orchid Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Epiphyllum laui Kimnach

Common Names

Orchid Cactus

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Epiphyllum laui is a fast-growing cactus with soft and shiny stems that are up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) wide. They are crenate, with sparse hair-like spines, branching basally or laterally. Flowers are funnel-shaped, up to 6 inches (15 cm) long with equal diameter. They open in the evening and remain fully expanded for two days. The outer petals are yellow, and the inner are white. Fruits are pink when fully ripe, oblong, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter at the middle.

Epiphyllum laui (Orchid Cactus)

Photo by cesarschuster

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °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 they 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 three parts loam-based compost, with two parts grit or perlite and one 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 Epiphyllum 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. See more at How to Grow and Care for Epiphyllum.

Origin

Native to Mexico (Chiapas).

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