Please help my orchid cactus

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by marhil, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. marhil

    marhil Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canmore, AB
    I have had this orchid cactus for at least five years. It has bloomed twice. This year after a hot spell, it developed dry spots on the leaves, and shrivelled up. I did not treat it any differently, but it seems to be dying. Any options?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,135
    Likes Received:
    392
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    It seems strange to me that both this plant and your other one seem to be showing the same symptoms. I don't have any experience with these, but the fact that it appears on both suggests to me some sort of pathogen.
     
  3. marhil

    marhil Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canmore, AB
    I thought so too, but I took it into a nursery, and was told it was overwatered and developed root rot. This seems strange as I have had both plants for many years. I'm just hoping they survive.
     
  4. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,455
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Siloam Springs, AR, USA
    From the photo this appears to be the relatively common Epiphyllum oxypetalum (DC.) Haw.. Commonly called a night blooming tropical cactus. This species is an epiphyte. It does not grow in soil. It normally is found in Mexican rain forest growing off the limb of a tree. It collects "trash" from falling leaves and other debris which it uses to retain moisture. But most of the water simply runs through the plant's root system. It does not sit in wet soil.

    Most successful growers plant these in a mixture of sand, a descent moisture control soil, a good helping of peat, and an orchid mix. They grow just like orchids on trees. The idea is to simulate what the plant expects in nature. If you use such a mixture in a wire basket with a coconut liner once you water the moisture will quickly drain through and the plant will retain only what it needs. You didn't say how you have it planted but if you have it in any soil that stays wet you'll encourage root rot.

    Consider repotting the specimen in an inexpensive wire basket with a liner. Even fancy ones cost only a few dollars. Use about 1/4 sand, 1/4 moisture control potting mix, 1/4 peat, and the balance a good orchid potting mix which includes charcoal and gravel. Mix all of that thoroughly and put the plant in the mix. Water only as often as is necessary to keep it slightly damp. In winter, allow it to dry between watering but water more often when the weather is hot.

    Our specimen is now enormous (close to 6 feet long, almost 2 meters), at least 8 years old, and blooms often in summer. I water every single day in summer with this mixture but much less often in winter.

    The name "orchid cactus" comes from the similarity in growing condtions to an orchid. It has nothing to do with any simiilarity to an orchid plant other than being an epiphyte.
     
  5. marhil

    marhil Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canmore, AB
    Thanks, will try almost anything!
     
  6. cafernan

    cafernan Active Member

    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Mar del Plata, Argentina
    Marhill
    Take it easy. Your plants are fine. This is common after hot or dry periods. Epiphillums used to have this spot areas or even holes. Let the tip where you cut dry out and then plant it.
    Regards from Mar del Plata, Argentina
    Carlos
     
  7. marhil

    marhil Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Canmore, AB
    Thanks for the information. I have replanted some parts as the original one shows no signs of recuperating.
     

Share This Page