Going through my list of tropical plants that look like crap (so far Peperomia obtusifolia & Syngonium podophyllum and an Aglaonema ‘Emerald Queen’ which had tufts of leaves at the tips of long sprawling woody stems – it also had bugs so we decided it wasn’t worth saving) was inevitably going to get me to this plant, one way or another.

This is the best looking section.

It is either an Epiphyllum or something closely related. I’m going off leaves here alone as I’ve never seen it flower. The leaves are nothing to get excited about either.


I suspect that the plant is not getting enough light, not getting enough water, and likely has terrible soil.

Long round stems give the whole plant a very sparse look. The stem begins to flatted towards the end.

The plant is very sparse. Unlike many Epiphyllum pictures I’ve seen this seems to prefer to send out longer round stems with the “leaf-like” stems coming from those rather than the leafy stems coming from the pot or shorter round branches near the soil (effectively hidden by the flat stems). The flat stems are short. The plant also sends out long shoots which seem only to have aerial roots on them?

There’s nothing but roots all along this stem. It’s over 3′ long (and may have kept growing if it hadn’t dried out at the tip).

So… I’m not even sure where to start here. The soil’s crappy so it needs to be repotted. At least the one decent looking branch does. There’s another branch that could be cut back to make a decent looking second section and I’ve got another branch that apparently broke a while ago and was just hanging on by a tiny fiber. The part pictured above that looks good but on that long stem… Will that stem root? Could I just root that whole bit? And what’s the deal with the stems with nothing but roots? Can I get rid of them? For soil well drained but fairly rich is what I’m reading online – regular potting soil + extra perlite? Bark?


About Andrew

Plant lover living in Toronto, Canada where I grow a wide range of plants in a very small space.
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5 Responses to Epiphyllum

  1. Aerelonian says:

    I really don't know too much about epiphyllum care. The flowers are simply gorgeous though. They do like well drained but don't starve them with regard to water. I think some extra bark wouldn't hurt and may be helpful. I think most parts should root but check to be sure. That root stem is quite odd comparing to what I've seen in the greenhouses. mr_subjunctive will probably be able to answer everything and more with concise references!

  2. *gulp*I actually don't know a whole lot about Epiphyllum specifically. WCW would be a better person to ask, but she doesn't blog, so. When searching Garden Web to get some answers, I ran across a number of contradictory explanations for what was going on, and a link to a forum specializing in epiphytes: epiforums.com. Hopefully there are answers for you there somewhere. I do suspect, from what I was finding at GW, that low light is at least part of your problem. When WCW repotted an Epiphyllum at work once, as far as I can remember she just used the regular Ball mix we used for everything else: 55% composted bark, 30% peat, 15% perlite, vermiculite, and misc. I'd stay away from mixing too much perlite in there for the simple reason that they get really top-heavy with time, and you want something that's going to be heavy enough to hold the plant in the pot.

  3. Andrew says:

    Alright, I'll let you off the hook this time ;)I'll try asking at Cactiguide since I'm already registered there (vs signing up at epiforums.com to ask one question and leave) and hopefully get an answer there. In the meantime I'll work on repotting into normal potting mix at some point.I won't be able to do anything right away through due to an outbreak of some sort of incredibly tiny black dot that's happening in the African Violet collection. When viewed at 30x magnification they still look like black dots only then you can tell they're on the hairs on the leaf, not necessarily the leaf surface. The dots appear only above bronze coloured, slightly shiny material (that does not scrape off) on the underside of the leaf (or this stuff appears only under the dots), almost always on the petiole or veins of the leaves, rarely on the other parts. There they do occur on the interveinal portion of the leaf there is a depression in the leaf (on the veins there is a depression as well just not as pronounced), in one place it has nearly become a hole right through the leaf – the top of the leaf shows a depression in this spot but no discolouration or black spots (which are both present under that spot on the leaf).

  4. Andrew says:

    You might want to try semi-hydroponics for your epiphyllum, I noticed you've blogged about it before. Epiphyllums and orchids both have similar requirements.

  5. Andrew says:

    I've been giving that a lot of thought, especially since I have a small cutting I rooted in water that has been in the water now for months without any problems. It should work very well.

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