Thursday, October 4, 2012

Story Time and Rooting an Ugly Epiphyllum

I grew up in a house full of houseplants and fairly well manicured garden plants. We had an Aunt that lived close and has collected orchids for as long as I can remember. This is probably the reason I felt that we needed a houseplant or two to cheer up the place when I stopped moving about once every year and moved into this apartment with my then boyfriend/now husband.

Recently I found out it goes much deeper than that. I've been helping my father pack as he sold his house recently and came across a sad little Epiphyllum. It had been nearly crowded out of it's pot by cohabitants Crassula ovata (Jade) and Chlorophytum comosum (Spider Plant), no room left to grow it's roots. Seeing as how he's leaving his plants for the new owners, I yanked it out of the pot as best I could without disturbing everything else.

Unknown terrible looking Epi

Now apparently this plant and I have a history. When I was toddler sized my father woke me up at midnight to see this Epiphyllum bloom at midnight. I have a vague memory of being bitter about being woken up, but I do also remember the flower.

Now the moral of this story is to point out the hazards of such activities. When you ingrain something so deeply into someones childhood that they remember these events for life, well the consequences might just be this disaster of a plant hoarder, who is thrilled to set an alarm for a ridiculous hour to see something like an Epiphyllum or Echinopsis bloom before it fades by morning. I'm blaming my upbringing for this, because I'll be moving myself shortly and now I've got nearly 100 plants to figure out how to bring with me. Can you believe my father even considered me not moving mine?

So readers, What's your story? How did you end up with a plant collection? Go to the comments section, because I really want to know!

Part 2: Repotting the Epiphyllum

I decided to pot this guy up dry, with a little rooting hormone, and treat it as an un-rooted cutting. The mix is about 1:1:3 bark chips, potting soil, Hoffman Cactus & Succulent Mix. The Hoffman pre-bagged mix is mainly peat, bark chunks and perlite. I figured the peat/soil combo will keep it on the slightly acidic side and keep it from drying out once it's established, which Epis like.

All potted up
Rocks on the top and the twist ties are to keep it stable, as it's a little unbalanced with the weight of the leaves.

Close-up of the one good leaf.
I'm not sure if this is an Epiphyllum oxypetalum or not. The leaves look a little thick, but that might be the result of it's neglect. The color in the picture is accurate, it's been in nearly full sun all summer (resulting in the light green color.) It also does bloom white. If anyone had a different opinion please share.


  1. sounds good my epis like the water!

    1. I keep reading constantly moist, but is it tolerant of drying out, or will it die quickly dry?

  2. I chose plants because I wanted something to look after, also, I fell in love with all the colours, shapes etc. & Lithops are a spectacle to the eye. I like how you're rescuing this plant which has been in the family for many years. I hope it flourishes! Best! ;)

    1. Thanks, I hope it does well too. That's so cool that lithops was what caught your eye. I always liked them so much too, so different and beautiful. I'm so glad I finally decided to try them, they are addictive though, now I want a red one, and a blue one, and a pink one.... :(

  3. i must say, i blame my grandmother for the orchids, she had 6 "plants" and they were the only plants in the garden i wasn't allowed to touch, well when she died i quickly snaffled them up before someone else in my family did, well, 6 turned into 10, 10 turned into 50, 50 turned into over 300 in just a space of 3 years :) hehehe

    as for the epi, what a perfectly timed blog, i got some off my other grandma recently and i definitely need to get them potted.... oops

    1. Haha, too funny! Wow, I didn't know you had that many orchids. Hopefully you have someone to care for them if you decide to go away for college. Or, just get an apartment like I did and take them with you!