HousePlant identification: Orchid Cactus

Could you identify this houseplant and tell me how to care for it?

Hi Tina,


I think your plant is an Orchid Cactus, Epiphyllum oxypetalum, though it doesn’t look happy.

An Orchid Cactus likes very bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light..

Water: Keep the soil of an Orchid Cactus moist but not soggy in the Spring, Summer, and Fall when the plant is producing new growth. Keep the soil fairly dry in the winter. Once the plant starts producing new leaves in the spring, increase the water.  Never allow the soil to totally dry out. The stems of your plant look pale and limp which usually means the soil is too dry. If the soil is wet and your plant looks this way, you may have over-watered and destroyed the roots of the plant.

Plant Food: Feed an Orchid Cactus about twice a month during the Spring and Summer with a plant food high in potassium. Always dilute the plant food to 1/2 the recommended strength. Do not feed an Orchid Cactus in the Fall and Winter.

Rest: Orchid Cactus need to rest in a cool, dry place during the winter. Resting for about 10 weeks helps the flower buds set. While the plant is resting, keep the soil fairly dry and do not feed the plant.

Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C. To set flower buds, the plant needs 8-10 weeks of cool 60-65°F/16-18°C days and 45-55°F/7-13°C nights in winter.

With the proper care, an Orchid Cactus produces beautiful flowers as shown in this picture. belEpiphyllum