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Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens

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ORCHID CACTUS - Epiphyllum

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These strange-looking plants have droopy, strap-like leaves. Epiphyllum are not always the most elegant plants with their untidy growth habit. But what gets people hooked on them is their bloom habit. The flared, trumpet-shaped flowers with their many petals are sometimes as large as a saucer and can be very fragrant.

CULTURE: The needs of the Epiphyllum are not difficult, just a little different. Most plants have a definite rest period from December to February. During this time, keep the plant cool (maximum of 50°) and dry. Place in a cool, well-lit location. Water very little. In March, watch for buds to start, then increase temperature and water.

During the flowering season, water more often and keep the temperature above 60°. As outside temperatures warm, the plant can go outside in a bright shady spot. Bring in when the weather cools, watering when the soil becomes dry to the touch. As December approaches, let the soil dry more between waterings as it goes into its rest period.

This specialty plant is not often available. When it is, you will usually see it growing in 6" hanging baskets.