Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.
Epiphyllum Cactus Repotting Tips
Epiphyllums, or orchid cactuses, are popular house and greenhouse plants that produce enormous, often scented flowers in summer. The giant flowers are quite remarkable and certainly a talking point for whoever visits.
Epiphyllums are quite unfussy plants in many ways and can continue for a long time in the same pot and medium, flowering every year without needing a repot (they prefer to be pot-bound), but every once in a while, they do need to be repotted.
When to Repot an Epiphyllum Cactus
Though these cacti generally like to be pot-bound, there are a few indications that your epi needs a repot:
- When a regularly flowering plant stops flowering.
- When roots start to come up out of the pot or through the base.
- When the top growth becomes so tall that it unbalances the plant or looks very disproportionate.
Alternatively, you may just want to repot your epi to put your plant in a more appropriate container.
Note: Young epiphyllum plants do need regular repotting until they get to flowering size.
How to Repot Epiphyllums
If your plant needs a repot, it's best done about a month after blooming. Remember to wear gloves for this job, as epis have many spines that can hurt!
1. Choose an Appropriate Container
Sometimes, terracotta is the best choice for epi pots, because it helps weight the top-heavy plants, stopping them from falling over. Alternatively, you can place a plastic pot in a terracotta one.
In the video above, I repot an Epiphyllum ackermannii, which has a pendulous habit. For this reason, I chose to pot it in a plastic hanging basket.
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The important thing is to choose a pot that offers a maximum of one-inch space all the way around and has good drainage holes.
2. Remove the Cactus From Its Pot
Firstly, remove the plant from its pot, gently squeezing the pot sides if it's a plastic pot. You can soak the plant to make this job easier, but you may still need to use a blunt knife to detach the plant from the pot edges.
3. Gently Knock Off Any Loose Soil
Epiphyllum root balls typically look very dense and crowded. If any loose soil knocks off easily, let it. Otherwise, leave the root ball intact.
4. Prepare Your Potting Mix
For my potting mix, I use one part inorganic to one part organic. The inorganic component of the mix can be perlite, orchid bark or horticultural grit.
I like using horticultural grit to help weight the plant better, and ordinary potting compost for the organic half. Your recipe may vary depending on your climate.
5. Place Your Plant In Its New Pot
Place your plant in the pot and backfill with your mix, burying it to the same level as before. Firm down well.
6. Don't Water for the First Week
Place your plant in a slightly shaded position and withhold water for about a week until it has a chance to adjust.
With these tips, your plant should go on to flower magnificently for you. If you're curious to learn more about caring for these plants, here are a few more tips for you.
Ultimate Guide to Epiphyllum Care
How to Propagate Epiphyllum
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Rachel Darlington