(e-pi-fill' lum)

Common name: Orchid Cactus

Family: Cactaceae, Cactus

Height x width: 3-10' x 1-3'

Growth rate: moderate

Shape: strap-shaped, flattened, fleshy stems, often deeply toothed; with 2 ribs when mature, small spineless areoles; trailing or pendent

Flowers: funnel-shaped 3-12" long (generally 6" for hybrids); many colors; often sweet scented and nocturnal; often more narrow and pale outer segments

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature: average to warm (dies at 100ºF)

Watering: moderate, less when inactive

Fertility: moderate, high potash when flowering

Humidity: humid

Soil: epiphytic cactus, pH below 6

Pests and Problems: fungal leaf and stem spots, root rots if too wet, virus (green spots or crooked stems), mealybugs (often common)

Growth habit, uses: flowering, hanging, for large areas

Other interest: native to rainforests of Central and South America; from the Greek epi meaning upon, and phyllon meaning leaf, refering to the flowers upon the leaf-like stems

Other culture: generally easy with proper environment

Propagation: seeds for species, stem cuttings


About 20 species exist, but most commonly found are hundreds of cultivars, hybrids among various species.

Cultivars: (hybrids, and flower colors) representing only a few of the more commonly seen

'Andromeda'--golden, white centers

'Fantasy'--bright magenta

'Fortuna'--light pink

'Hollywood'--reddish pink

'Honeycomb'--orange, deeper colored centers

'Ignescens'--bright orange-red

'Jennifer Ann'--bright yellow, lighter centers, fewer darker outer segments

'J.T. Barber'--orange

'Lynda Ann'--pink

'Paul de Longpre'--yellow, lighter centers, brownish outer segments

'Pegasus'--deep pink, lighter centers with deep pink center veins

'Reward'--light yellow, darker outer segments

'Showboat'--red, lighter centers

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

Return to  Perry's Perennial Pages | PSS121 course