Selenicereus chrysocardium (Alexander) Kimnach
Fernleaf Cactus, Fern Leaf Orchid Cactus, Golden Heart Epiphyllum
Epiphyllum chrysocardium, Chiapasophyllum chrysocardium, Marniera chrysocardium
Selenicereus chrysocardium, formerly known as Epiphyllum chrysocardium, is a branched epiphytic cactus with spineless, flattened, leaf-like, pale green stems with rounded lobes in a zig-zag pattern. It spreads up to 6 feet (1.8 m). Flowers are huge, white with long golden stamen filaments. This cactus is pretty shy blooming, so do not expect to see flowers 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 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.
This species is native to Mexico.
- Back to genus Selenicereus
- Succupedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Click on a photo to see a larger version.