Epiphyllum Cactus ( curly locks)

Epiphyllum Cactus ( curly locks)


Epiphytic plants live in trees and rock crevasses. The mother of the Epiphyllum cactus, curly locks, was from Guatemala. It was a plant that sprouted one or more abnormal curved stems. These were harvested and cloned to produce the crazy little cactus we propagate today. These plants are wonderful hanging basket specimens and make quite the conversation piece with their twisted, arching limbs. In nature, curly locks might be growing in a tree crotch or other almost soilless area. Epiphyllums are often called air plants because they do not rely upon terra firma as their growing medium. Curly locks have bright green, twisting stems. It produces 3-inch wide white flowers with 6-inch long tubes that open at night. This is because in nature it is pollinated by moths and bats, and these night animals can see the big white blooms easily. Oval, bright pink seedy fruits form once blooms are pollinated. These fruits are juicy and edible. The plant is also self-pollinating and fruits can form even without the intervention of insects and mammals. Epiphyllum plants are often called orchid cacti.

The biggest danger is overwatering. The cactus needs to have moist roots at all times but they should not be sitting in a dish of water. Make sure the top 1/3 of the soil is dry before watering. In late winter, expose the cactus to cooler temperatures to promote spring flowering. Keep them in the basement or a garage for a couple of weeks to spur bud formation. The other biggest danger when raising Epiphyllums is lighting. Consider that these plants grow in thick forests in the understory and are used to dappled light at best. Just like any plant, they need light but should be protected from bright midday light. Morning sun is preferable with indirect light the rest of the way. If you find a spot where the cactus is happy, make sure to leave it there, as they do not like change. Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer diluted weekly during the growing season. In February, feed the plant with a 2-10-10 to promote blooming. Repot every 7 years or so, but be warned, the plant only blooms when it is pot bound. It might be best to wait and see if you get flowers before giving the plant a new home.

Note: Plant come with a nursery pot

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