Fernleaf Cactus (Selenicereus chrysocardium) is a broad, epiphytic, spineless cactus up to 1.8 m wide, with branching stems holding long, arching, flattened, leaf-like, pale green leaves. They are technically called cladodes, that have rounded lobes in a zig-zag pattern. It can produce huge, white flowers with long, golden stamen filaments but it is pretty shy blooming so don’t expect to see these often (or at all).
Scientific Name: Selenicereus chrysocardium (Alexander) Kimnach
Synonyms: Epiphyllum chrysocardium (basionym), Chiapasophyllum chrysocardium, Marniera chrysocardium
Common Names: Fernleaf Cactus, Fern Leaf Orchid Cactus, Golden Heart Epiphyllum
How to grow and maintain Fernleaf Cactus (Selenicereus chrysocardium):
It thrives best in bright indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight. Exposure to afternoon sun can burn the leaves, turn them yellow, or lead to spotting.
It grows well in a slightly acidic, well-drained, mix of two parts peat moss and one part sand with one part fine-grade fir bark.
Water is crucial to your success with epiphytes. Unlike desert cacti, epiphytic cacti should be kept damp, but not soaking wet. Allowing them to dry slightly between waterings is also acceptable. Watering deeply once a week is often all it takes to maintain these conditions, though in hot, dry weather you may need to water more often. If the top 1.2 cm of soil is dry, it’s time to water regardless. During their dormant period, water epiphytic cacti just enough to keep them from drying out completely.
It prefers ideal temperatures between 70 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 21 – 24 degrees Celsius at daytime and 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit / 16 – 21 degrees Celsius during night time.
Fertilize once a month with a balanced, general-purpose fertilizer during the growing season. Do not fertilize the plant during winter.
It can be easily propagated by seed or stem cuttings. Use a sharp knife to take stem cuttings. A milky, white sap may ooze from the cuttings, so allow the cut ends to dry for one day. Then insert the cut end into a sterile potting medium. Keep the medium barely moist until the plants germinate.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. Watch for scale insects and mealybugs.