You might want to encourage the quick spread of your orchid cactus.
Rather than purchasing more plants, you can propagate your orchid cactus.
This means you make cuttings from the mother plant to grow new ones from it.
How To Propagate An Orchid Cactus
The exotic-looking orchid cactus (Epiphyllum spp.) easily propagates or grows from cuttings. Choose a plump, healthy leaf, and using clean pruning shears, diagonally cut off a 7-inch section (17.8 cm). The cut should occur between the areoles. Let the cutting heal in a cool, dry spot for about two weeks, then pot it.
How to Propagate Orchid Cactus
You can easily grow this plant from cuttings to provide yourself with additional plants of this tropical rainforest cactus.
Although native to South America and Central America, it can thrive in the US in USDA Zone 10. The typically epiphytic orchid cactuses can also grow on the ground.
You can choose from 15 epiphyllum species plus cultivars. Each of these grows with same requirements.
Once you choose your orchid cactus from the many varieties available, you can propagate it to spread its lovely colored blooms around your yard to enjoy its white, red, and yellow blossoms at night.
You won’t need to wear gloves when you make this cutting because, unlike most cacti, orchid cactus has no thorns.
You should have no problems trimming off a leaf from its spineless, scallop-edged foliage.
Follow this simple process to make, then plant a cutting from your orchid cactus.
1. Choose a plump, healthy leaf from your orchid cactus plant. Check both sides of the leaf to ensure it has no signs of disease or pests. It should be of good color and appear to experience good photosynthesis.
2. Use clean pruning shears or very sharp scissors to cut a seven-inch section of a leaf, cutting diagonally between its areoles. The term areoles refer to the zigzag sections on the face of the leaf.
3. Place your cuttings in a cool, dry place where they can avoid sunlight. Store them this way for between 10 and 14 days. The cut end of your leaf needs to heal before you can pot it.
4. Fill a well-draining seven or eight-inch pot with a lightweight cactus mix soil. Slightly moisten the soil.
5. Plant the healed end of the cut leaf two inches deep in the soil. Firm the soil around the leaf. Repeat this process three or four times. Your cuttings should get planted as a group. Plant three or four orchid cactus cuttings together in a pot.
6. Place the potted cutting in a location with partial shade.
7. Check your cuttings after two weeks to ensure they have begun developing a root system. Gently tug the cutting. If the plant resists, it’s a good indication that the roots have started to form.
8. Water your orchid cactus cuttings when they start developing roots. Watering before that can cause root rot. In normal humidity for this plant, about 50 percent humidity, you may need to mist the cuttings every few days. Water every five days. Only moisten the soil, since making the soil too wet causes root rot. In winter, water every 10 days.
9. It can take two to three years for an orchid cactus to become root-bound in a pot. It will only bloom once root-bound.
Divide and Conquer Your Orchid Cactus
You might have a massive orchid cactus and want to divide it.
You can propagate two plants instantly from one by doing this.
Unpot the plant and gently separate the soil from the roots to examine its roots. Many large plants actually consist of several cuttings, so you can separate their roots carefully.
Once you do this, you have as many separate plants as there were cuttings in the pot.
Repot each cactus in its own pot. Use cactus mix soil. Moisten the soil.
You can also divide a large orchid cactus plant by cutting it in two using pruning shears. You must allow the two halves to dry for two days before repotting them.
Then, put the newly potted orchid cacti in a shaded location for two weeks with no watering. After two weeks, they should be ready for water.
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Propagate An Orchid Cactus
Should you prune an orchid cactus?
You can prune orchid cacti to encourage healthy growth. Prune out the older, non-blooming stems to reduce overcrowding. This helps the plant grow healthy blossoms.
Can you cut a spotted leaf?
Spots on your leaf mean one of a few things. Spots on a leaf could develop during the sharply contrasting day to night temperatures. If the spots are raised, they could be insects. Scrape them off. If the spots are sunken and orange or yellow in color, the soil became too wet.
What if, after pruning, the plant is still too big?
Plants need to move to larger homes, too, sometimes. Your cactus can outgrow its pot, so you just need to repot it in a larger container. These orchid cacti have extremely delicate roots, so carefully move the plant.
How can you hasten the rooting process?
Growers at some plant nurseries say that rooting hormone used on the cut ends can help it better prepare for planting. The plants will also do better when potted together.
You can easily create a cutting of your orchid cactus to propagate the plant.
Trim off three or four of the leaves to create a group cutting in a pot, since this plant grows best from cuttings in a group.
You should see blooms on the cuttings within two to three years.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.