Step by Step guideline to Propagate Orchid Cactus

Blooming Orchid Cactus
Orchid Cactus (Source: Pinterest)

If you’ve ever had or wished to buy an Orchid, you’ve undoubtedly heard that they’re notoriously difficult to care for.

I, too, experienced a similar sensation at first!

Yes, they do require some particular attention and are, admittedly, a little more work than other plants, but you will be rewarded handsomely for your efforts.

But now that I’ve been growing for a while, I can confidently say that Orchids are one of the most gratifying plants to cultivate.

To propagate, cleanly cut off a 4- to a 6-inch-long piece of a stem in the spring. Allow a week for the end to harden into a callus. Then, in a container full of moist soil, plant the stem piece erect, callused- end downward. Place the planted container in a partially dark place and do not water until the plant forms roots. 

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This article features everything you need to assist you in handling Orchid care at home, whether you’re wanting to care for a new orchid you got or a seasoned grower trying to expand through propagation.

Orchid Cactus Hanging Basket

We’ll teach you how to grow them and keep them thriving for years to come. They’re lovely for indoor or outdoor hanging baskets, are simple to grow, and are available in tiny varieties if you’re short on room.

Things to Know Before Propagating Orchid Cactus

Orchids are one of the most delicate flowers that you can grow at home. There is an Orchid for every level of the grower, from shop blooms to exotic kinds.

Succulents like Epiphyllum Hookeri’s’ Orchid Cactus require a lot of light. If you’re going to plant this succulent in a garden, make sure it gets enough sunlight. In full to partial sunshine, it thrives. It is more likely to develop outside rather than indoors.

A warm environment is ideal for this succulent. It can withstand temperatures of -6.7 °C (20 °F) in zones 9a-11b.

If you live in a chilly climate, it’s best to keep your Orchid Cactus indoors. The plant will thrive as long as it receives adequate sunshine.

Epiphyllum hookeri should be fertilized once a month during its growing season, from summer to early fall.

Liquid fertilizers are ideal unless your Epiphyllum Hookeri is in a container. For a complete feed, sprinkle fertilizer around the plant’s base.

Requirements for Propagating Orchid Cactus

In most situations, propagating an Orchid is not tricky, and you don’t require much equipment. Even if you’re new to Orchids, you can do it at home with the correct instructions, even though the procedures are incredibly specialized.

  • Pruning shears that haven’t been contaminated (you can disinfect with rubbing alcohol)
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Your Orchid (make sure it’s in good health and isn’t in bloom!)
  • Glass: Any glass vase will serve. It doesn’t have to be see-through, but seeing the roots adds an exciting touch.
  • Water: You’ll need simple water for this.
  • Plastic wrap: This is a non-essential item.
  • Orchid planters or orchid hangers of appropriate size.

How to Propagate Orchid Cactus

In comparison to other varieties of cacti, Epiphyllum Hookeri is a simpler cactus to grow.

It is, on the other hand, a sluggish grower.

1. Prepare the Cuttings

Cut a healthy, lush leaf from your Orchid Cactus as the first stage in Epiphyllum propagation.

Cuttings should be around 4 inches long, although shorter may suffice if time is of the essence. Because Orchid cacti are succulents, you’ll need to help them develop calluses on their cut ends so they don’t rot when planted.

Gravity will draw the nutrients stored in the leaf down into the earth before rot sets in, leaving the leaf exposed to disease and rot and making it difficult for the leaf to bring up any rooting hormone or nutrients from the soil.

Leave your cuttings in a cool, dry place for 1 to 2 weeks, or until a callus forms on the cut end, rather than hurrying it. The cuttings are ready to plant for replication after the calluses have formed.

2. Propagate Orchid Cactus in Soil

In addition to understanding how to root Epiphyllum cuttings, you must also be familiar with the right sort of soil and pot for the plant’s growth.

The most delicate Orchid cactus soil is one that allows water to percolate quickly while also retaining enough moisture to keep the plant nourished.

Use regular potting soil with Perlite and sand mixed in for rapid drainage to attain this balance. You may also use regular cactus compost that has been supplemented with Perlite or Grit.

The trick is to avoid using soggy potting soil in this situation. The health of the roots will be harmed by thick, water-retaining mud.

3. Prepare Your Pots

It would help if you now prepared your pots. Combine your cactus mix and potting soil in a half-and-half mixture. Instead of potting soil, you may add African violet mix to take the earth to the next level. Fill the terra cotta pots approximately a third of the way with the mixed soils.

The fact that the soil is well-drained is crucial.

4. Plant the Cuttings

Plant cuttings may be added to your soil after your pots are ready to receive cuttings. Dip the calloused end of your cutting into rooting hormone, then insert it in the soil about one inch down. Now, put your planting stick into the dirt next to the cutting and tie it up gently to the stick to keep it upright.

Don’t let the cutting get wet! Withholding water for the first week after the cutting has been placed in the soil will push the cutting to begin roots for nutrients. Water sparingly after that week to avoid knocking the cutting over. It may be preferable to spritz the soil with a spray bottle then pour water into it since this will cause less disruption to the cutting.

Propagate Orchid Cactus in Water

Cactus is a succulent that can grow in both water and soil. Some cacti will grow easier on earth, but many may root in water as well. You may attempt obtaining additional plants by rooting your cactus in water instead of buying them because you’re using plants you already have.

There’s no assurance that any cactus will grow in water or earth; occasionally, the plant doesn’t want to be in that environment. The good news is that roots of your cactus in water are quite simple, and you have a decent probability of success.

Plants that don’t like a lot of water are placed in a glass of water, which may sound illogical, but it works. It’s better to propagate a cactus in water if you want to witness the root process.

Some people may also have difficulty propagating plants in soil or vice versa. You may quickly grow your cactus in water if you are having challenges propagating your plants on earth or want to check whether water would work as well.

Place the Cuttings in Water

Fill your container half with water. The length of the cutting will determine the quantity you put in. Fill the glass to the top with enough water to cover the root of the cutting but not the leaves.

Covering the top of the glass with plastic wrap and piercing a hole in the center to insert the stem is one alternative. This creates a barrier between the leaves and the water.

Place the cutting in the water with the stem slightly above or below the surface. This may need some trial and error. According to some, placing the stem slightly above the water promotes the plant to seep out moisture and root.

Place the jar containing your cuttings in a well-lit place. You must be patient at this time and allow the plant to root. Starting to root might take several weeks or perhaps a month.

Be careful to check the water level in the glass regularly. It’ll very certainly need to be changed and refilled. If the water becomes murky, you should change it to avoid the growth of fungus and germs.

How Long Does the Orchid Cactus Take to Bloom After Propagating?

Don’t be concerned about putting too many new growths into a single pot. Until the Orchid cactus is root-bound, it will not blossom. This might take up to two to three years.  This implies that new buds will not develop until the roots are tightly packed together.

Orchid Cactus are usually root bound before blooming. This implies that before they can develop blooms, their roots must fill the container—plants planted in a 4-inch pot bloom more quickly than those cultivated in an 8-inch pot.

Late April (white and yellows), May (pink and reds), June, and July are the months when flowers bloom (deep reds and purples).

Orchid Cactus (Source: Backyard Prime)

What is the Lifespan of the Orchid Cactus After Propagating?

Orchid plants don’t have set longevity, although they grow weaker after 15 to 20 years and produce fewer blooms. Plants have a natural immune system that is worn down over time by wild bacteria and fungus. To avoid infestation, repot Orchids every two or three years. You may want to consider replacing an old orchid as the plant becomes more troublesome and susceptible to diseases.

Five Tips to Take Care of Propagated Orchid Cactus

  1. The most serious hazard to a healthy Orchid cactus is overwatering. Never submerge your plant in water. You must, however, ensure that their roots do not dry out.
  2. Water when the top third of the soil is just slightly damp from mid-spring through mid-summer. The plant requires less watering in the winter. During these moments of idleness, drink only a small amount of water.
  3. Apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer every two weeks throughout periods of growth, from spring to fall. Use a fertilizer with a Nitrogen concentration of less than 10%.
  4. Apply a 2-10-10 fertilizer at the end of February and the beginning of October. Flowering will be encouraged as a result of this.
  5. Fertilize less throughout the winter since nutrient excess is too much for the plant during periods of natural dormancy.

Pro Tips to Propagate Orchid Cactus

  • It’s best to choose a place that gets enough light in the morning but is shaded in the afternoon.
  • Avoid exposing your Epiphyllum to direct sunlight in the afternoon. The South- or west-facing aspect is usually preferred.
  • You may see leggy or poor growth if your plant isn’t getting enough light. Excessive exposure results in a yellow or wilted increase. Your plant should have light- to dark-green stems with a faint red tint at the margins if given enough light.
  • Place your plant in a room where the lights aren’t turned on after daylight has passed throughout the winter. Artificial light exposure throughout the winter months may have an impact on subsequent flowering.
  • Finding the right mix of light and water is the key to successful orchid cactus maintenance. The orchid cactus will adorn your house for years with the appropriate sun exposure, humidity, and well-draining soil.

Conclusion

Growing, propagating, and caring for an Orchid cactus is simple. It requires slightly different care than other cacti and succulents, yet it is low-maintenance in its way. For one thing, it doesn’t require frequent repotting, and you can pretty much leave it alone as long as you keep the soil wet and not too dry.

Plant your Orchid cactus in an airy, well-draining potting mix, provide it with the proper nutrients, protect it from pests and direct sunlight, allow it to rest for a while, and offer it the necessary quantity of water, light, and humidity. Your orchid cactus will thrive in its new home. And it more than makes up for it by providing you with large, colorful flowers that will enliven your space.

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