Disocactus phyllanthoides – Cactus Plant

Disocactus phyllanthoides - Cactus Plants

Disocactus phyllanthoides is one of the most attractive epiphytic cactus with green or reddish stems, branching, primary stems up to 40 cm long, 6 mm thick, woody at base, flattened at apex. The secondary stems are flat, lanceolate, acute with coarsely scalloped margins, toothed. It produces funnel-shaped, pink flowers and the fruits are ellipsoid, with low ribs, green at first, later red. The seeds dark brown. It does well in leaf mould in a hanging basket.

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Genus: Disocactus
Species: D. phyllanthoides
Scientific Name: Disocactus phyllanthoides
Synonyms: Cactus alatus, Cactus elegans, Cactus phyllanthoides, Cactus speciosus, Cereus phyllanthoides, Epiphyllum phyllanthoides, Heliocereus phyllanthoides, Nopalxochia phyllanthoides, Opuntia speciosa, Phyllocactus jenkinsonii, Phyllocactus phyllanthoides, Phyllocactus plukenetii.
Common Names: Nopalxochitl, German Empress, gaint empress, pond lily cactus.

Disocactus phyllanthoides

How to care and grow Disocactus phyllanthoides?


Disocactus phyllanthoides thrives best in bright filtered light or partial shade. They do not like the direct full sun, but morning and late afternoon sun are okay.


It will grow in soil with a pH of 5.0 to 9, however, they prefer soils with a higher-alkaline pH of 6.2 to 7.0. Adding organic fertilizer can add nutrients to the soil, and can likewise help balance pH levels, as most organic fertilizers have a pH of around 7.0.


Normal room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C. To set blossom buds, the plant needs 8-10 weeks of cool 60-65°F/16-18°C days and 45-55°F/7-13°C evenings in winter.


Keep the soil wet spring through fall, while the plant is growing. In winter, water sparingly until the point that new growth starts in spring. Never enable it to dry out. Shriveled, limp stems are a sign the soil is too dry. After blossoming, rest one month before fertilizing. Don’t over-fertilize.


Apply a diluted NPK 10-10-10 fertilizer once a month during the growth period and cactus fertilizer (NPK 0-10-10) to promote flowering.


Disocactus phyllanthoides can be easily propagated from the seed in spring or late-spring. Also, propagate from stem cuttings in early summer. When propagating the plant from cuttings, cut a leaf from the mother plant carefully with a clean knife or scissors. Before replanting, wait for a few days to allow it to callous. Use well-draining soil for your new succulent plant. Don’t forget to water when the soil dries out.

Pest and Diseases:

It has no serious pest or disease problems. Watch for mealybugs and scale insects. Also prone to fungal leaf spots and stem spots.

Last updated on August 8th, 2021

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