Prime destination for succulent lovers

Selenicereus chrysocardium (Fernleaf Cactus)


Scientific Name

Selenicereus chrysocardium (Alexander) Kimnach

Common Names

Fernleaf Cactus, Fern Leaf Orchid Cactus, Golden Heart Epiphyllum


Epiphyllum chrysocardium (basionym), Chiapasophyllum chrysocardium, Marniera chrysocardium

Scientific Classification

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


Selenicereus chrysocardium, formerly know as Epiphyllum chrysocardium, is an epiphytic, spineless cactus, up to 6 feet (1.8 m) wide, with branching stems holding long, pale green leaves. They are technically called cladodes, that have rounded lobes in a zig-zag pattern. It can produce huge, white flowers with long, golden stamen filaments but it is pretty shy blooming so don't expect to see these often (or at all).


USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 45 °F (+7.2 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Perhaps the most important aspect of epiphytic cactus care is the potting soil. Experts are strongly divided on the subject of using commercial cacti or orchid mixes, but they do agree that epiphytes need well-draining potting soil with lots of air space, since the roots would naturally be exposed to air. If you wish to create your own mix, start with a basic formulation of 60 percent potting soil to 40 percent perlite. Other amendments are often added, including peat, orchid bark, sand, fine gravel, and leaf mold. Aim for a pH of 5.0 to 6.0 and plan to repot every 2 to 3 years if you use ingredients that eventually break down completely, such as orchid bark.

Epiphytes do not exist in the open sun, instead of receiving bright filtered light in most situations. They thrive as houseplants because of their relatively low light requirements. Ideally, you should provide full morning sun and shade for the rest of the day. An east-facing window with nothing blocking it can create these conditions. Light will affect the plant's willingness to bloom, though these requirements vary widely between epiphytes. Many can be coaxed into blooming by simulating short days by placing them in dark closets for 12 or more hours at a time for 4 to 6 weeks.

Learn more at Tips for Growing Epiphytic Cacti.


Selenicereus chrysocardium is native to Mexico.


Photo Gallery

Subscribe now and be up to date with our latest news and updates.

Share this with other succulent lovers!