This one just bloomed today! This is a day-booming Epicactus Epiphyllum “Fruhlingsgold” native to Central America. This is an extraordinary tropical succulent cactus or flowering Jungle Cacti, common name “Orchid Cactus”. It is part of a collection of fifteen epicactus of mine and I always tend these semi ugly plants just for the very spectacular, huge, fragrant blooms. Epiphyllums bloom in the spring on 2-3 year old potted plants and off and on during the year. This one has been blooming all summer and this bloom opened November 5th. However, the major blooming season for day blooming plants starts in late April, peaks in May and ends in June. During the other months of the year we are rewarded by the occasions “off season” bloom, especially from the 4″ top 2″ varieties.The blooms range from 2″ to 8″in size and the one you see here is 6″ in diameter. Related plants are rattail cacti, rhipsalis, hoyas, Thanksiving-Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus, and Night Blooming Cereus. They are easy to grow in hanging pots. They need night time temperatures of 45-50 degrees during the winter, where they do not receive artificial light after sundown. This is necessary for bud formation to take place. Their favorite temperatures are 45-70 degrees. In my area they are put outside in part shade and temps in the high 80’s in the summer and in the downstairs up against sliding glass doors with temp 50-70 degrees and seem to do just fine. Repot each spring.
When October 15th comes each year the major task is to reload the greenhouse with some 200+ plants!
Many of the orchids are in full spectacular bloom. Since they do have to come inside, they get to be the “show-off” specimens in the house for a while. Usually I try to leave them outside when they are in full bloom so they are not disturbed and drop their blooms.
Orchids bloom usually once a year; some bloom twice a year. There are over 7000 species and thousands of hybrids. When they bloom depends on what part of the world they came from and what their habitat was… and then we do our best to try to duplicate their original habitat to keep them happy so we can see their blooms where we live.
I am in Georgia and that means the orchids and tropicals have to go into a greenhouse or well-lit indoor circumstance for the colder months. Many growers in the Atlanta Orchid Club are set up with shelving and lighting to be able to grow in a room or in their basement. October 15th seems to be the date that they have to be indoors. Sometimes we get our first frost by Halloween. Most orchids prefer to be inside when the night temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Phalanopsis orchids don’t like it below 60 degrees and Dendrobium orchids can tolerate 40 degrees if they are dry. Tropical plants generally prefer 55 degrees as their low temperature. Before bringing them indoors spraying them with a systemic insecticide is important. In the winter months the fertilizer is used less frequently as some are more dormant.
My greenhouse is filled with plants and so is my home….there are plant friends just everywhere for my winter’s entertainment.