Choose a country to see content specific to your location

Skip to main content
A picture of a Orchid Cactus

Orchid Cactus

Epiphyllum spp.

Also known as

Climbing Cactus, Leaf Cactus

Epiphyllum pumilum286970600 by Eddie (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Full Shade
Moderate care
Moderate watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Orchid Cactus

A photo of Orchid Cactus
A photo of Orchid Cactus
A photo of Orchid Cactus
A photo of Orchid Cactus
A photo of Orchid Cactus

Orchid Cactus Overview

The genus Epiphyllum is commonly known by a few names, such as Orchid Cactus and Climbing Cactus. It produces distinctive fishbone-shaped foliage with zig-zag margins. This genus contains around 10 species with smooth, green, deeply lobed leaves. Lobes are rounded to rectangular and this species produces 6-20cm long, yellow or white, nocturnal and sweetly scented blooms. If you are an early riser and usually early to bed, you may miss the show! These plants appreciate cool temperatures and actually need to be exposed to between 10-15 degrees Celsius in winter for a couple of weeks to force their night-time blooms. They originate from Mexico and is commonly grown as an ornamental plant both in the house and outdoors in its native environment of tropical forests in Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit and Oaxaca. Epiphyllum plants are epiphytic and thus grow without the need for soil substrate, they are naturally found in the forks of tree branches or in rock crevices where enough humus has accumulated to retain moisture.

Common problems with Orchid Cactus

They have few insect or disease problems. Watch out for standing water around the roots and don’t over water or fungus gnats and stem and root rot will become a problem.

How to harvest Orchid Cactus

Take cuttings after flowering. Feed during spring during the growth season to encourage more long cane-like shoots and therefore more blooms.

How to propagate Orchid Cactus


Detach 4-6 in (10-15 cm) stem segments in spring and place upright in moist potting mix. Stem cuttings root easily, but you may wait a few years to see many blooms on a new plant.

Special features of Orchid Cactus

Drought resistant

Fleshy stems store water for dry spells.

Indoor plant

Bright indirect sunlight is suitable indoors.

Pot plant

Perfect for hanging pots. Repot every 2-3 years, moving up to a pot 1 size larger. Wait till early spring to repot, never while it's blooming.

Attractive flowers

Attractive leaves

Other uses of Orchid Cactus

Grown for its nocturnal flowers.


The fruit is edible.

Trailing | Special Effects

Explore all