Epiphyllum hookeri: Grow and Care Tips

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Epiphyllum hookeri (Hooker’s Orchid Cactus) has interesting stems as well as large daisy-like flowers that are white and fragrant. This plant flowers in late summer to early fall and the blooms only open at night. This variety is actually referred to as a climbing cactus because of its interesting structure.

The stems grow upwards and each node is quite long. It’s a nice plant to add to your landscape as it offers a sculptured look. It would look great planted at the base of some tall-growing trees where it can get protection from direct sunlight.

How to Plant and Grow Epiphyllum hookeri

Epiphyllum cactus is easy to grow and a popular plant for both its striking foliage and large stunning white flowers. It makes a great focal point in a sub-tropical garden or as an indoor specimen.

Bear in mind that the plant can become quite top-heavy as it starts to grow. Therefore, it’s best to use a heavier terracotta pot that can’t be easily tipped over.

How to Propagate Epiphyllum hookeri

You can easily propagate Epiphyllum hookeri from stem cuttings, just like other Epiphyllum varieties. It’s best to take the cuttings once the plant has finished flowering or if it needs a tidy-up.

Allow the cuttings to sit for a while until calluses form on the ends of the stems. Once this happens, you can plant your cuttings into some potting mix. Moisten the soil but avoid overwatering.

Leave these cuttings in a warm place and keep the plants moist but not wet. Roots should start to form within a few short weeks. Then you can re-pot your new plants and place them in a bright spot out of direct sunlight.

Care and Maintenance

Hooker’s Orchid Cactus plants are fairly low-maintenance plants. Once mature, all your plant needs is regular watering, some fertilizer during the growing season and a bit of a tidy-up if it starts to get too unruly. It grows quite happily both indoors and outdoors as long as the temperature doesn’t get too low. This variety is not frost-hardy and will not tolerate very cold temperatures.

Soil

This Epiphyllum benefits from growing in well-drained soil. You can use a quality potting mix but add some perlite to increase the drainage. 

Water

Unlike other Epiphyllum varieties, this one does not like the soil to be moist all the time. Therefore, you should only water your plant when the top inch of the soil is dry. 

Make sure you give it a good soak when watering but let the excess water drain away and don’t allow the roots to sit in water. If you’re growing your plant indoors and have a saucer under your pot, empty the saucer once the plant has finished draining.

Fertilizer

Epiphyllum hookeri benefits from a monthly feed during its optimum growth period which is summer to fall. Use a balanced fertilizer that has identical levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

Sunlight

Epiphyllum hookeri prefers to grow in partial shade. It should be protected from the harsh midday and afternoon sun, especially in the warmer months. Grow it in a large pot under the cover of a veranda or deck or indoors near an east-facing window.

Temperature and Humidity

This Epiphyllum prefers cooler temperatures and is happy to grow in USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b with temperatures around 25 degrees to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, during the warmer months, it prefers temperatures over 60 degrees Fahrenheit to put on new growth and flowers.

Epiphyllum hookeri also prefers a moderate amount of humidity. Therefore, consider misting the plant regularly during the warmer weather.

Pruning

This is one Epiphyllum that does benefit from regular pruning as the stems can become very long if left unchecked. When you cut the stems back, new shoots will start to grow behind the cut. This will make the plant a little bushier and not as elongated.

Pest and diseases

In general, Epiphyllum hookeri is quite pest and disease-free if it’s growing in an ideal environment. Avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot.

Regular houseplant pests may also find your Epiphyllum. Watch out for aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. These are all easily controlled with an insecticidal spray or some neem oil.

Conclusion

Epiphyllum hookeri is a stunning plant to add to your collection. You can either grow it outdoors in milder climates or indoors if your winters are cold. It also does really well in a greenhouse.

*image by Cavan/depositphotos