From the Greek epi, upon, phyllon, a leaf; the flowers are produced on the leaf-like branches (Cactaceae). Succulent greenhouse plants, epiphytic cacti, previously known as Phyllocactus. introduced in the early nineteenth century when they became very popular in stovehouses. Many now in cultivation are not true species but hybrids between a Selenicereus and a Nopalxochia.

Species cultivated

E. anguliger, bushy growth with erect stems, well notched, very few spines at areoles, flowers tubular, scented, greenish-yellow outside and white inside, southern Mexico. E. crenatum, branches thick and notched, to 3 feet high, flowers greenish-yellow to white. Guatemala. E. oxypetalum, branches thin and long, flowers reddish on outer petals, white inside, Brazil and Mexico. The hybrid type usually found under the name of E. x ackermannii is the one often grown as a house plant and flowers every year, if grown under good conditions, especially in a sunny window. There are hundreds of named varieties of this hybrid, with very large flowers in a wide range of colours.


These plants are easily grown and will thrive in almost any type of compost. The best results, however, are obtained in a rich soil composed of 6 parts of loam, 2 parts of peat and 2 parts of sharp sand. Repot plants when they become potbound, water them freely from April to September. Keep them in the greenhouse in winter and spring, but place them out of doors for summer. Plants do not like too strong sunshine in an unshaded greenhouse.

Epithelium Propagation is by seeds sown as for cacti, or by cuttings. These are easily obtained from young shoots, even a section of a shoot will make roots if dried at the cut part first. Root in sharp sand.

10. July 2017 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Cacti and Succulents | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Epiphyllum


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