Epiphyllum thomasianum – Cactus Plants

Epiphyllum thomasianum - Cactus Plants

Epiphyllum thomasianum is an evergreen, perennial succulent cacti, often very large and scandent. The main stems are woody with thin and flexible side branches. It produces large, pure white nocturnal flowers, with golden-yellow filaments and cream anthers and the back petals can be greenish-orange with hints of dark orange and reddish streaks. The branches are commonly used locally for healing fractured bones.

Scientific classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Genus: Epiphyllum
Species: E. thomasianum
Scientific Name: Epiphyllum thomasianum
Synonyms: Phyllocactus thomasianus, Marniera macroptera, Phyllocactus macropterus, Epiphyllum macropterus.
Common Name: Orchid Cactus

Epiphyllum thomasianum

How to grow and care for Epiphyllum thomasianum


It thrives best bright, filtered light indoors and partial shade if it grows outdoors. Summer weather can be quite harsh, especially when the sun peaks during the day. Even though an Epiphyllum appreciates full sunlight, beware not to let it bake in these scorching conditions.


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. The addition of grit or perlite will give an extra layer of better structure and drainage while still giving proper aeration and drainage.


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.

It does not like being left in moist conditions from watering or even from the water level in the air, they are able to live in slightly higher humidity levels than most cacti species. It can withstand moderate to high humidity levels. In fact, they would need such moderate to high humidity for its growth.


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.


Propagate from the seed or by stem cuttings. sow seeds in spring or late-spring. Take stem cuttings in spring to late summer. Cut the leaf-like stem into 6-9 inches sections and let it callus (dry) for several days in a warm place. Fill a pot one third full with cactus compost and cover with a layer of grit. Insert the cuttings 1-2 inches deep. Keep the compost just moist and maintain temperature of 18-24°C. They should root in three to six weeks and flower the following year, if taken early in the season.

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. Spray with insecticides to kill bugs and stop serious infestation. Use insecticides like Neem or pyrethrins for visible bugs.

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