Epiphyllums are called epiphytic because they grow on other plants. They are not parasites. In their native habitat, these epiphytic species often grow in the forks of trees or in rock crevices where their small, fibrous roots take hold in decaying vegetative matter and bird droppings. This light, loose medium allows water and oxygen to reach the plants’ roots, which absorb the moisture and dissolved nutrients. A few epiphytic species are rooted in the ground and use their aerial to climb up tree trunks. Water-soaked soil will suffocate the plant root system. Therefore good draining soil and filtered sunlight is a must.
So the big question is, What kind of potting mix should you use?
Ask ten people and you will get ten different answers.
Here are some suggestions from our members. Try the one most similar to your area, the coast, inland, amount of heat and moisture, etc. The one thing everyone agrees with is that epiphyllums need a media that drains well. Epiphyllums just don’t like wet feet.
Jackson - Sorrento Mesa (San Diego, CA) purchases commercially available cactus mix. She mixes three parts cactus mix with one part perlite and one-half part oyster shell.
Dias - Chula Vista, CA also uses cactus mix that she purchases from Home Depot. She uses two thirds cactus mix, one-third perlite and tosses in a little sand and vermiculite.
Peck - North Park (San Diego, CA) uses 50% perlite (#2 and #3) and 50% peat moss, with a little crushed charcoal and about 2-tsp. bone meal per seven-inch pot. They are experimenting with and replacing peat with coir.
Chapin - Rancho Bernardo, CA uses a combination of one part Coir (ground coconut husks), one part potting mix (see the attachment of its contents), one part 1/8 to 1/4 inch orchid bark, and two parts #3 perlite with a dash of blood meal and bone meal. This has produced some good results. I add a measuring cup of both blood and bone meal to a two-bushel tub of potting mix.
If you prefer, a pre-made mix it is available along with other supplies at the San Diego Epiphyllum Society meetings.
Learn more by attending pre-meeting workshops at 7:00 p.m. Which is 1/2 hour before our meetings start.