Tips for Taking Care of Your Orchid Cactus


Orchid Cacti, commonly known as “Night-blooming Cereus,” are beautiful houseplants that are loved for their stunning flowers. One popular variety is the Epiphyllum oxypetalum, or “Queen of the Night,” which blooms with large white flowers that emit a delicate fragrance. Another popular variety is the Epiphyllum ackermannii, or “Ackermann’s Orchid Cactus,” which has uniquely shaped flowers that resemble a rosary. These plants are native to Central and South America and are known for their thin, flat stems and aerial roots.

When it comes to caring for Orchid Cacti, proper watering is essential. They are somewhat drought-tolerant, so it is important not to overwater them. Watering once every two weeks or when the soil feels dry to the touch is usually sufficient. The temperature should be kept between 60-70°F (15-21°C) during the day and slightly cooler at night. These plants prefer bright, indirect light, but they can also tolerate some shade.

Repotting Orchid Cacti is not often necessary, as they prefer to be slightly root-bound. However, if you notice that the roots are filling up the pot or if the plant is not flowering as well as it used to, it may be time to repot. When repotting, use a well-draining soil mix and lightly tamp it down to secure the plant. Fungal problems can sometimes occur, so it is important to avoid overwatering and to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Orchid Cacti are relatively easy to propagate. You can take cuttings from the stems and allow them to callous for a few days before planting them in a well-draining soil mix. It is also possible to grow them from seeds, although this method requires more time and patience. To encourage blooming, make sure to provide the plants with a cool, dark room at night, as this will simulate their natural blooming conditions.

If you have any questions or are wondering what kind of care instructions are most appropriate for your Orchid Cactus, check out these frequently asked questions:

– Should I fertilize my Orchid Cactus?

– How often do Orchid Cacti bloom?

– What temperature do Orchid Cacti prefer?

– Can Orchid Cacti tolerate low light conditions?

– What is the cause of leaf edges turning brown?

With proper care, your Orchid Cactus will be happy and will reward you with its stunning blooms. Whether you are a beginner gardener or an experienced plant lover, Orchid Cacti are a great addition to any collection. So, if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add a touch of beauty to your home, look no further than the Orchid Cactus!

Epiphyllum ackermannii – Ackermann’s Orchid Cactus

Epiphyllum ackermannii, also known as Ackermann’s Orchid Cactus, is a beautiful epiphytic cactus native to Brazil. This stunning plant is prized for its fragrant flowers and unique foliage.

Epiphyllum ackermannii is easy to grow and can thrive both indoors and outdoors. It is not a true cactus but an epiphytic cactus, which means it grows on other plants rather than in soil. This plant is a quick grower and can reach heights of up to 6 feet, with stems that sprawl and droop leftright.

Ackermann’s Orchid Cactus features thin, monstrose-like leaves that somewhat resemble the leaves of a Monstera adansonii or Swiss Cheese Plant. The plant produces stunning white or brown flowers that are often fragrant. These flowers bloom for a short period of time and can be a spectacular sight when in full bloom.

Epiphyllum ackermannii does well in bright, indirect light and needs to be watered regularly during its active growing season. However, during dormancy, which typically occurs in the winter, watering should be reduced. It is important to note that overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal problems.

When repotting, be sure to use a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for cacti and succulents. Epiphyllum ackermannii can tolerate being pot-bound, so repotting should only be done when absolutely necessary. It’s also important to handle the plant with care, as its stems are fragile and can break easily.

If you’re new to caring for Epiphyllum ackermannii, there are many resources available online that can provide more detailed care instructions. Websites like have comprehensive guides and FAQs to help answer any questions you may have.

In summary, Epiphyllum ackermannii, or Ackermann’s Orchid Cactus, is a stunning epiphytic cactus that can be a beautiful addition to any plant collection. With proper care and attention, this plant can thrive and reward you with its fragrant blooms. Whether you’re a seasoned plant enthusiast or a beginner, Epiphyllum ackermannii is a great choice for anyone looking to add a unique and beautiful plant to their collection.

Orchid Cactus Care

Orchid cacti, also known as Epiphyllum, are beautiful plants that can bloom with stunning flowers. They are native to the rainforests of Central and South America and come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Caring for orchid cacti requires attention to watering, temperature, and light conditions.

Watering: Orchid cacti can be watered about once a week during the growing season. It is important to water them thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain out of the pot or container. During the winter, when they are in dormancy, reduce watering to once every two to three weeks.

Temperature: Orchid cacti prefer temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius). Avoid exposing them to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).

Light: Orchid cacti prefer bright, indirect light. They can be placed near a window with filtered sunlight or grown under fluorescent lights indoors. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause their leaves to burn.

Propagation: Orchid cacti can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. Simply cut a segment of a healthy stem and allow the cut end to callous over for a few days. Then, plant the cutting in well-draining soil and lightly water it. It will soon develop roots and start growing as a new plant.

Repotting: Orchid cacti do not require frequent repotting. However, if the plant has outgrown its pot or the soil has become depleted, it may be necessary to repot it. Use a well-draining soil mix and a pot that is slightly larger than the current one. Repotting should be done in the spring, before the plant enters its active growing phase.

Flowering: Orchid cacti typically bloom in the spring and summer, although some varieties may produce flowers year-round. The size and color of the flowers can vary depending on the variety. Some orchid cacti produce fragrant flowers, while others have bicolored or multicolored blooms.

Common Problems: Orchid cacti are generally easy to care for, but they can be susceptible to fungal diseases if overwatered. To prevent this, make sure to provide good air circulation and avoid getting water on the leaves. Additionally, if the plant’s leaves are dropping or turning yellow, it may be a sign of overwatering or underwatering.

Conclusion: Caring for orchid cacti involves providing them with the appropriate watering, temperature, and light conditions. With proper care, these plants can reward you with stunning blooms and add beauty to any indoor or outdoor space.

Pruning Orchid Cactus

When it comes to caring for orchid cacti, pruning is an important task to keep your plant healthy and looking its best. Pruning helps maintain the shape and size of the plant, promotes air circulation, and reduces the risk of fungal infections. Here are some tips on how to prune your orchid cactus:

  • Start by examining your plant and identifying any dead or damaged leaves or stems. These should be removed with clean, sharp pruning shears.
  • If your orchid cactus has grown too long or leggy, you can prune it back to a more manageable size. Cut the stems just above a node or joint to encourage new growth.
  • If your plant is not blooming as much as you’d like, pruning can help stimulate more blooms. Remove any old or spent flowers to redirect energy to new buds and blooms.
  • If your orchid cactus is growing out of its pot or has become root-bound, it may be necessary to repot the plant. Prune back some of the roots before repotting to encourage new root growth.
  • Some varieties of orchid cactus, such as the Ackermann’s Cactaceae and Cheese Cactus, are known to develop callous tissues when pruned. This is normal and should not cause concern.
  • Orchid cacti, like many cacti, go through a dormant period during the winter months. Pruning can be done during this time, but avoid doing it too close to when the plant enters dormancy.
  • During the pruning process, be mindful of pests such as whiteflies. If you notice any signs of infestation, treat the plant with appropriate pest control solutions.

Pruning your orchid cactus can help maintain its beautiful appearance and promote healthier growth. Remember to use clean, sharp tools to minimize damage to the plant. If you have any questions or concerns about pruning, there are plenty of resources available online or you can reach out to local plant experts for guidance.

Wondering Whether to Repot or Not

If you’re wondering whether to repot your orchid cactus, here’s some helpful information to guide you in making the right decision.

Orchid cacti are known for their hardiness and ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. They have strong and extensive root systems that often fill up their existing containers. If you notice that the roots are growing out of the drainage holes or that the plant is becoming top-heavy, it may be a sign that repotting is necessary.

Repotting orchid cacti is usually done every two to three years. However, if your plant has outgrown its current container and is experiencing stunted growth or lack of flowering, repotting may be required sooner.

When repotting, make sure to choose a pot that is slightly larger than the current one to give the roots plenty of room to grow. Use a well-draining potting mix that is specially formulated for epiphyllums and other orchid cacti. This will help prevent overwatering and root rot.

During the repotting process, be careful not to damage the roots. Gently loosen the plant from its old pot and remove any dead or damaged roots. Place the plant in the new pot and fill it in with the fresh potting mix, making sure to position the plant at the same level it was in the previous pot.

After repotting, it’s important to give your orchid cactus some time to adjust to its new environment. Keep the plant in a shaded area with indirect light for a few days to allow it to recover from the stress of repotting. Avoid direct sunlight during this period, as it can cause leaf burn.

Once the orchid cactus has settled into its new pot, you can resume your regular care routine. Provide it with bright, indirect light, such as a north-facing window or a few feet away from a south-facing window. Water the plant thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry, and fertilize it every two to three weeks during the growing season.

Orchid cacti are known for their beautiful flowers, which often bloom in the spring and summer. To encourage flowering, make sure your plant receives enough light, but avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for long periods, as this can damage the flowers.

If you’re unsure whether to repot your orchid cactus or have any other questions or problems, there are many resources available to help you. Online forums and discussion boards dedicated to orchid cactus care can provide valuable advice and troubleshooting tips. You can also consult plant care guides and books for more information.

By following these tips and taking the time to properly care for your orchid cactus, you can enjoy the beauty of its exotic flowers and lush, green leaves for many years to come.

✿ Read More About Cacti and Succulents.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.