Prepare Epiphyllum Cuttings

You will only require two tools to properly prepare epiphyllum cuttings.  They are a sharp pair of pruning shears, a black, fine-pointed permanent marker.

When selecting epiphyllum stems for cutting, try to cut healthy, plump, unblemished ones. This is especially true if you are preparing cuttings for sale or trade. If you are making more than one cutting, try to remove an entire stem at its base or where it connects with another stem. This will help to keep the plant you are cutting as attractive as possible without leaving a lot of truncated stems.

The one-foot ruler provides an idea as to the cutting sizes.

Using the pruning shears, cut across the stem between the areoles. These are four epiphyllum stems before and after they have been  processed into cuttings. 

Because the areoles tend to alternate in a zig-zag pattern up the stem, your cut will be at an angle across the stem rather than a straight 90 degrees.

Areoles are the vegetative buds on the edges of the stems at the base of each lobe. Areoles will eventually produce another stem, or a flower. Each cutting should be around seven inches long, a little longer or slightly shorter is OK. The length of the cutting is less important than it is to make sure the cutting has at least seven to nine viable areoles.

Some epiphyllum growers like to make a nice, neat, symmetrical chevron-shaped cut at the base of their cuttings. This is an optional step and really has no bearing as to whether the cutting will root successfully or not. If you like to do this, go ahead! It can’t hurt anything. Take your cutting(s) and your pruning shears and proceed as follows:

Starting at the midrib, cut diagonally across the longer side of the cutting while trying to approximate the angle of the original cut on the opposite side.

These pictures shows a close-up of a cutting with several viable areoles and bloom scars to show you what they look like. They don’t look like much! 

Again, each cutting should have seven to nine areoles do not count bloom scars. ​

Bloom scars are created when an ephiphyllum produces a flower.  it will not produce another bloom or branch from that location again.

The larger picture lets you see that a bloom scar is really easy to identify.  You can see that they look very different from the viable areoles.  If you have a cutting where all or nearly all of the areoles are showing bloom scars, it will probably root and if it does will not produce any new stem growth. So, avoid making or buying cuttings that have less than 7 to 10 viable areoles.