notes, musings and rants from plant lovers

A Love-Hate Relationship

written by: Lisa Van Cleef posted: June 21, 2010


The orchid cactus has got to be one of the most outrageous teases in the garden.

Its beauty is so painfully fleeting, fading only a day or two later.  You gotta ask, why bother?

Orchid cactus

Outrageously beautiful, easy to grow

My epiphyllums are blooming.  This is when I love these plants.  The flowers are enormous, colorful extravaganzas that make you want to holler.  Then the love affair fades as soon as the flowers do, in a day or two, and I’m left with a gangly, large cactus for the next 363 days of the year.

Yet grow these I do, because they take so little effort, for the big annual reward.  Natives of Mexico, Central and South America where they grow as epiphytes–on trees.  In the Bay Area, that means they like partial shade, very good draining soil and a splash of water weekly.

Give one of these a go and plan a spontaneous party, or at least raise a cocktail or two when it flowers.  Epiphyllums are frequently available at our plant sales.

For more information check out this informative site:


3 Comments to

“A Love-Hate Relationship”

  1. On June 21st, 2010 at 8:24 pm Jeannine Says:

    Yeah, I ask myself that (why bother?) all the time. But seriously, I have a bromeliad I feel the same way about. I’ll send you a pic if it blooms this year.

  2. On June 21st, 2010 at 9:50 pm Mark Gunson Says:

    Love it! I’m getting an Epiphyllum tomorrow….

  3. On July 17th, 2010 at 5:32 pm mary crowell Says:

    I have been growing epiphyllums, actually epicactus hybrids, for over 40 years and have received a lot of mine from the SF Botanical gardens and the SF Epi Society and find them so rewarding even though they are short lived. since I now have so many, my season does last quite a long time, from april to july. as far as I am concerned, they produce the most beautiful and glamorous flower of any genus.

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