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  #51  
Old April 28th, 2008, 08:13 AM
Cereusly Steve Cereusly Steve is offline
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

Not a big Aroid enthusiast other than Zamioculcas zamiifolia and a few others. I'm primarily interested in succulents and bulbs.

That article about "Epiphyllums" on the CSSA website is a bit out-of-date and has several glaring errors. The list of allied genera is all mixed up too. Not a big fan on anecdotal reviews of plant genera. Common knowledge is usually wrong.

I wonder just who are the qualified experts. Regretably, there still remains the same disparity between horticultural enthusiasts and botanical accuracy in most plant groups as there did during the days when Liberty Hyde Bailey was still alive.
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  #52  
Old April 28th, 2008, 09:29 AM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

I rarely deal with horticulturists but have a fairly long list of botanists as contacts. Most of their names can be found with their quotes throughout the pages of the site.

Once I have good information back I will gladly quote them with their permission and credit them as I normally do on my web pages. As for errors on the CSSA site, I would suggest you take up your differences in opinion with their staff. The only cacti I have any interest in is the Epiphyllum group and that is very limited. And as a result of this thread I am receiving a mail box full of information, much of it from CSSA members.
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Last edited by photopro; April 30th, 2008 at 04:24 AM. Reason: spelling error
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  #53  
Old April 30th, 2008, 06:02 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

I have run into a most peculiar problem and as a result have elected to no longer participate in this thread.

I received an email today from a gentleman who claimed I had been recommending on this thread that Epiphyllum species could tolerate a freeze and should be grown in very cold weather. Apparently I was quoted either in email or on a forum as having said so. I went back and read this entire thread and the only post I made that could even be construed as saying that is one in which I spoke of our plant being left in the yard in Florida on a night it dropped just below freezing for a short time. You can go back and read precisely what I wrote if you choose. As a result, I gave the gentleman the link directly to this discussion.

I believe you will find my consistent responses have been this species prefers tropical temperatures as a result of their being found in southern Mexico, all of Central America, and South America down through Bolivia on the west and across the top of the continent and into Brazil. In one post I urged caution on putting them in cold temperatures but others appear to have been doing that with no problem. Personally, I wouldn't recommend that, but I don't believe you can find any place I recommended to do so. I've been reading scientific material for almost 2 days on the genus and still believe it is exclusivly a rain forest plant that lives primarily in either damp or moderately wet forest but also in dry forest.

I have never made a claim to be an expert in this or any other genus and don't find it useful for me to be quoted as saying things that are scientifically fictitious. In regards to my query to Dr. Dr. Kimnach, I am hopeful to hear from him shortly. I received several nice unsolicited emails today from Mr. Leo A. Martin, director of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and he recommended I purchase a copy of The Cactus Family by Edward Anderson. He also said he would personally urge Dr. Kimnach to respond to my query. Although cacti are not within the scope of the plants I collect and study, I enjoy having good reference material in my library and have ordered the text. He did include one quote of interest I would like to share, "The whole group of epiphytic cacti is not that well studied other than the group of small cacti Rhipsalis - Lepismium - Hatiora and related species, which were extensively revised and published in radleya, the British Cactus and Succulent Society's scientific annual. To identify a plant as an Epiphyllum one would need to see the flowers, not only the plant. As I mentioned E. chrysocardium does indeed live in wet forests." So it would appear the director of CSSA has either observed or is aware of an Epiphyllum that lives in wet rain forest. I also received this quote from Dr. Tom Croat Ph.D., P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Dr. Croat has made countless trips into the rain forests of all of Mexico, Central America and almost the entirety of South America. He is the author of many major botanical journals as well as the botanist of record who discovered and then described an incredible number of plant species to science. This was Dr. Croat's response, "While it is true that Epiphyllum does occur in Tropical dry forest and even drier biomes some species are common in Tropical moist forest, perhaps also in Tropical wet forest." Two other trained botanical researchers reported to say they had personally observed Epiphyllum species in all types of rain forest environments.

Rather than continue that discussion here I have begun to build a file of quotes from botanists who have told me they have observed Epiphyllum species in the wild in dry, damp and wet forest regions. That information, along with Dr. Kimnach's response if I am fortunate enough to receive one as well as responses I have received from an amazingly large group of botanical experts and researchers will be included on a page on plants of this genus which I have developed for my own website. If any are interested, you can find it on the site. Enjoy the rest of your conversation.
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  #54  
Old May 22nd, 2008, 07:15 AM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

Cereusly Steve wrote, "None of the species occur in tropical rainforest. They are commonly found as epiphytes in tropical forest with seasonal rainfall and a cool season not a constantly hot climate with year-round rainfall."


Simply for the sake of balance I have elected to make an additional post to this thread.

For some weeks I have been corresponding with several of the top rain forest botanists and experts within botanical science regarding the subject of whether or not Epiphyllum species are truly rain forest species. Virtually all agree that Epiphyllum species are in fact rain forest species. The only exception appears to be in the opinions of some of the cacti experts. Specifically, Dr. Leo Martin of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America does not feel these plants qualify as "rain forest species". I have included his comments in tact.

So just an observation if I may. Some months ago we installed an automatic misting system in our own "rain forest". Every plant in the building is now heavily misted every day of the week for a minimum of 10 minutes. We often press the button in the heat of the afternoon and soak everything for an additional 10 minutes. Our specimen is now blooming like never before! This morning there were 5 larger than normal blooms on the plant and I can see at least another 7 about ready to open! My problem is getting out there when there is enough light to take a good photo! Within an hour of dawn the blooms are beginning to close thus not permitting a good photograph of a fully open flower. But I am diligent and will get that photo yet!

Dr. Tom Croat, who is the top rain forest botanist in the United States gave me a great explanation of what is and is not a rain forest. Botanists are other botanical gardens who spend much of the year in the forest also commented and disagreed with the statement at the top of this post. Dr. Croat's explanation, as well as many others from other qualified experts is now on the updated webpage.

You should all be aware that any rain forest is composed of regions that are super wet, wet, moderately wet, and some almost dry. But the definition of a rain forest is based on the total annual rain fall, not if a forest has regions of wet and dry! Many of the top people have observed multiple Epiphyllum species in the wet and wettest portions of the forest! And these are not collectors but trained botanists that know their plant species!

So, if you prefer to think of your Epiphyllum species or hybrids solely as a cactus rather than a rain forest species, feel free. The true experts out there would strongly disagree. And my vote will always go with the bonafied experts.

Here's the link if you care to read the discussion:

http://www.exoticrainforest.com/Epip...thus%20pc.html
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  #55  
Old May 22nd, 2008, 07:48 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

Here's two photos of some of the blooms that opened tonight. All my photos are copyright protected so please, if you have a need to use a photo and like either of these send a request before using.

Photos Copyright 2008, Steve Lucas, www.ExoticRainforst.com

The species is Epiphyllum phyllanthus subspecies phyllanthus (L.) Haw.
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  #56  
Old January 9th, 2009, 10:27 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

Just an update to this rather unfortunate chain:

I grew my 8 epis in the plastic-covered hoop greenhouse (where it was warm but, after I installed an automatically-opening roof vent, not too hot) and then, when I took the greenhouse down to create space for my garden in June, I moved them to hang from my grape arbour.

My thought was that this would provide dappled light, but the grape leaves are so dense that they were probably better described as being in shade.

I extended my automatic sprinkler system so that each plant was watered for about 15 mins each morning. Of course the water drained right through

I even fertilized them

If they grew at all, I did not detect it.

This summer I converted 1/3 of my garage into a greenhouse, insulated like crazy. In the Fall I moved all my tender plants for which I do not have space in the house into it, including my epis. A small heater keeps it from 15 C at might to 18 C during the day (sometimes it has gone as high as 22 C; I am still fine tuning it). It is very well lit (and the walls are windows obtained via Craigs List). I hope that they will grow! The summer's non-performance was very disappointing, and they are reaching their fourth anniversary.
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  #57  
Old January 10th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

soccerdad, I don't get here as much as I would like but wanted to say. Be patient, some of these take a while to bloom. I waited 7 years so see ones from seeds bloom.
Some grow slower than others. Just enjoy when they do bloom, they are worth growing.
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  #58  
Old January 19th, 2009, 09:05 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

I stabilized the greenhouse at 14 C, 24/7, a week ago. I started watering my epis every day (sometimes every second day). They have grown like mad in that week. Very promising.
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  #59  
Old January 20th, 2009, 06:46 AM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

soccerdad, we keep ours in the Brug House and that is around 50 degrees but only water them a few times in the winter months. I do mist them
this time of year instead of watering them. If I remember right they don't like to be kept wet all the time.
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  #60  
Old June 16th, 2009, 10:55 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

Well, I kept them in the greenhouse where the temps got pretty hot - close to 30 C which is really really hot to me - and watered them every day or two. They grew like mad. A few weeks ago I put them outside, again under the grapes because I really have no other place for them, all other options being either total shade or total sun. They show no signs of blooming - after 4.5 years!!! - but I realize that they were supposed to enjoy a cool period during the spring and I never gave them one. Maybe next year ...
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  #61  
Old June 17th, 2009, 06:50 AM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

soccerdad, one might fertillize them with a bloom booster, but I would only do it half strength. We currently have one blooming in our greenhouse due to she pulled the hook out of the studs of the shed where they hand during the summer.

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  #62  
Old June 17th, 2009, 07:21 AM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

Your bloom is beautiful. I sure hope mine will bloom eventually. They are all about 3 feet (1 metre) long now.

I have been using an all-purpose fertilizer, Miracle Gro, which I use on all my indoors plants (just because my Mom did, you see... mind you, she was using it 45 years ago so maybe I should see if anything has changed since then).
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  #63  
Old June 17th, 2009, 07:34 AM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

I was reading the other day that all they need is a little help on the bloom and not all the ferterlizer that some folks give them. Wishing you the best!
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  #64  
Old October 10th, 2011, 04:57 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

A bit over two years since I last posted ... so over 7 years since planting ... and still not a hint of a hope of a flower.
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  #65  
Old October 10th, 2011, 05:17 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

soccerdad, are you neglecting it?? I haven't been here much either and just to busy!
This last couple years I have neglected them to no get out. No fertilizer and very little water. I have 10 bloom this year. I did give them extra water when the temps got over 90 for a week here. I water when they go into the brug house and will water at Christmas again in February and then April when they go up for their summer place. Other than that nothing more. Make sure this is root bound!!
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  #66  
Old October 24th, 2011, 03:22 AM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

You can force them into bloom almost any time of the year; even multiple times per year by using a combination of their bloom triggers: cool & dry.
But before you use the bloom triggers the plant should have a few basics ready:
- Somewhat mature plants with hardened-off 2nd-year stems bloom best.
- The plants should be healthy with long, plump stems before you start the trigger
- They need to have had very bright light during the growing season or they won't bloom well or at all. Under the edge of a patio where they are protected from midday sun but still get a couple hours of direct sun will give them the barely-red edges that say they're perfect for blooming (see pic).
- They should also have had regular fertilizer during the growing season. A little bloom booster (high phosphorus/ low nitrogen) can also help after you wake them up from the cool/dry rest.
Once these are met then you can use the triggers. Down here in Marysville (similar climate to Vancouver) I stop watering at the end of Sept. I leave them outside right up until almost Nov 1 (sometimes even up to the first barely light frosts), but they sure need to be dry during this time. They come indoors under lights but may not get any water yet for a little while. I want a month or two dry (total time incl the outdoor dry time) so that the ribs on the leaves look start to stick out a little (see pic), but well before any of the flesh becomes wrinkly (permanently damaged) from too-dry.
When I decide they've had enough then I start to water (very sparingly!), perhaps including a little bloom booster. The buds will form so don't water heavily or they will fall off. So it's low temps during a dry rest period that really pushes blooms.
If they recover & grow well for me in the winter under lights, sometimes I'll push another flush in Spring by putting them out early so they get nipped by those low night temps near freezing, combined with a dry period. This way they'll bloom in early summer also. Everybody's climate is different, but that is what works well for me. :)
If all else fails; big huge, mature, root-bound plants will usually always bloom somewhat if kept outdoors for most of the year (no freezing of course).
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  #67  
Old October 26th, 2011, 10:44 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

I've been looking after a small epidendrum for the past 11 months. It's living in a hypertufa pot, with German expanded-clay balls, in partial shade in my Florida yard (Atlantic coast in a climate where freezes don't happen every year). The plant popped out two flowers earlier this month in full-summer heat (around 30 during the day).

I figure the plant might like more fertilizer and possibly sun, but so far, it's perhaps tripled in size. I don't recall whether I brought it indoors during two freezes in December. I probably did. Otherwise, it put up with cool winter temperatures and an absurdly dry spring and early summer without complaint. The seller had emphasized that they're easy to grow.
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  #68  
Old November 27th, 2011, 11:16 AM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

I have over the years tried watering a lot during the dormant winter season, watering a bit, and hardly watering at all - all to no avail. Last winter I tried watering them regularly. I am currently trying, yet again, not watering: I have not watered them for two months.

They get lots of light during this time but while outside there are only two options: almost no light, under the grape arbour, or full light, everywhere else: light during certain parts of the day is not available in my yard except in a few areas where I could not put these plants. I guess that I will go the full sun route next summer. Probably it is hopeless.
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  #69  
Old November 27th, 2011, 02:47 PM
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My young plant got moved into a slightly sunnier spot (a fan palm leaf had moved over it) and it seems to be reacting to the short days with a burst of flowers. Here it is.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/45621748@N05/6414288075/

And here it is attached:
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  #70  
Old January 31st, 2012, 07:46 AM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

As I said in my last post, this year I reverted to the "no watering at all over winter" plan. After 4 months without watering I started watering the plants a few weeks ago. They seem to have grown significantly in terms of the length of the "leaves", but I fear that as always this will not be reflected in any flowers. Wish me luck.
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  #71  
Old February 5th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

After over 7 years there are now 7 flower buds on one of the 8 cacti.
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  #72  
Old February 13th, 2012, 07:10 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by soccerdad View Post
After over 7 years there are now 7 flower buds on one of the 8 cacti.

Congratulations, soccerdad!!! I've read your posts here and saw how you have been struggling to get your Epiphyllum to bloom, which is more and less the same problem I've got.
This is my first post on these forums, I'm a new member and I registered here because I'm trying to find ways to make my Epiphyllum to bloom.

The major difference is that I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where we get hot, humid weather all year long. I found my plant on the ground, in a park, I believe it has fallen from a tree. I've had it for 2 years now, in a plastic pot. It has grown considerably since end of 2011.

Basically I've been wondering whether it would be best to hang it high on the wall (to sort of mimic its natural environment) where it gets a bit of sun during morning, or leave it on the window sill, where it gets very warm sun in the afternoon. In both cases, sunlight only last for a couple of hours.

Any suggestions are welcome!!!
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  #73  
Old March 19th, 2012, 10:09 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

Sorry, I missed this post somehow.

I doubt that I am the right person to answer, since as my posts show I am not very knowledgeable, but I would hang it up.

By the way, my first one has finished flowering - it was disappointing to find that the flower did not have any scent - and a second one now has one flower about to bloom momentarily. I hope that the ones that flower later will turn out to be different and hopefully nice-smelling varieties.

I will post a picture if I can figure out how to do so - more likely I will, like I do when I need the TV adjusted or a photo downloaded or the like, have one of my kids do it.
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  #74  
Old March 20th, 2012, 08:15 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

Now a third plant has a (very tiny) flower starting. All things evidently do come to he who waits.
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  #75  
Old May 4th, 2012, 10:16 PM
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Re: Epiphyllum questions

The reference to a third plant was a bit too optimistic. But...

The second plant bloomed and although there was only one bloom - with no fragrance - it was beautiful. And now a third plant does indeed have four buds growing on it.

Too bad they seem to favor consecutive blooming over concurrent blooming.
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