Gray Davis Epies


Epiphyllums are very easy to grow and wil] tolerate more neglect than any other type of plant and still reward you with large, vivid blooms in the spring. They require filtered light under a tree, on a patio or in a lath house, even indoors if moved outside in the spring. They do not tolerate either full sun or freezing temperatures, in fact, they may show some signs of damage under 350 and do best if kept at 400 or more. They will not bloom if they don't have fairly bright light.


When you receive your cuttings, they are in no hurry to be potted - in fact - be sure the end is well calloused before plant ing. Epi's will not bloom until they are rootbound. It's a good idea to start three (same variety) cuttings together to fill a pot sooner, or one cutting in a 3" or 4" pot. Plant about 1½ deep in a slightly damp planter mix to which you might add 1/3 large sponge rock, 1/3 medium (or small) orchid bark or charcoal. You can experiment with other mixes as there are as many mixes as "Epi" growers. Just be sure it has good drainage.


Epi's should not be overwatered, especially when first potted. Just mist them for the first few weeks. Do not begin watering until roots are established. Small pots need watering about once a week in warm weather, less frequent in winter months. They should be kept on the dry side. Epi's love rain water, it helps to leach out the salts. The plants love to be misted, early in the morning is best.


A balanced fertilizer (8-8-8) can be used monthly from June through October. Give them rest from November through January. Then give them an application of low nitrogen (2-10-10) from February through April to produce better blooms.


Epi's are relatively pest free but watch for snail damage. Scatter snail bait in the spring. A good preventive measure for other pests is to give a dose of Cygon in the fall and again in early spring. An application of Malathion will take care of Mealybugs, scale and aphids.


Finally, it is a good idea to put a label in each pot as the original cutting with the name will eventually die back and the name could be lost.