Epiphyllums forum: Feeding the Epi

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Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seed Starter Winter Sowing Garden Photography Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California
Cactus and Succulents Annuals Garden Art Butterflies Seller of Garden Stuff I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
May 12, 2016 9:29 PM CST
I'm sure this has been asked before but any suggestions on what to feed my Epi's would be appreciated. The older ones look like they could use a boost.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 13, 2016 1:14 PM CST
I'm sure everyone has favorites but basically Bloom food in spring, any balanced fertilizer from spring to fall, and nothing during winter. I use a time release such as Osmocote for the summer to make it easy on myself.
Name: Linda
Pawleys Island, SC (Zone 8b)
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Ibartoo
May 13, 2016 6:21 PM CST
I fed mine osmocote for the first time today. Then it rained immediately after I fed them. I have been feeding them liquid food, but it was so much easier to use the osmocote. I will watch them closely to see if there is a difference in them.
Seas the Day
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 13, 2016 6:25 PM CST
Rain? lucky you!
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seed Starter Winter Sowing Garden Photography Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California
Cactus and Succulents Annuals Garden Art Butterflies Seller of Garden Stuff I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
May 13, 2016 9:04 PM CST
Thanks!!!
Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4a)
God made dirt! Dirt don't hurt!
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mnmat
Jun 8, 2016 6:47 PM CST
How often do you feed them? I've had an epi for over 25 years and it's bloomed once. I was told they like to have crowded roots but others told me not to crowd. Now I just acquired a new epi and want to get them both on the right track.
Meri
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 8, 2016 7:50 PM CST
I see you're in SD, so anything I can tell you should be taken with a grain of salt. Epis are a tropical that would be growing on tree branches in nature, with filtered sun, frequent rains, and pretty high humidity. In their habitat the only "food" would be decaying leaves, bird droppings and dead bugs...not heavy feeders. What you feed them would answer how much. I use a slow release that lasts 3 mo., but a liquid fertilizer would be applied more often...maybe once a month, during growth season, depending on how often it gets watered and what medium it's planted in. They do bloom better when crowded. I suspect that yours spend to much time indoors, and don't get enough light. They do need good light year round...even when not growing. All I can suggest is summer outdoors, and a south facing window during cold season. Fast draining medium, is essential. I live in the land of drought, so I water about once a week, depending on the size of the pot/basket, and they live outside year round. Microb lives in the land of 100+ " of rain so has to cover his to prevent drowning. It's all relative.
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seed Starter Winter Sowing Garden Photography Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California
Cactus and Succulents Annuals Garden Art Butterflies Seller of Garden Stuff I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
Jun 8, 2016 9:16 PM CST
SD, are we talking South Dakota? You're weather is so different from mine and probably most people growing Epi's. I think if I were you I'd be thinking more sun. Maybe morning sun would be a good thing to try. I agree they probably don't need much in the fertilizer department. I have under fertilized mine for 15 years and I still get blooms, not as many the last few years is why I was wondering what other gardeners do. You get hot summers, I wouldn't hesitate to spray them liberally with water, a lot.
Name: Mike
Mountain View, Hawaii
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microb
Jun 8, 2016 11:55 PM CST
I'm curious Meri. How long is your growing season? From when to when and what are weather conditions like through the years. Do you have any photos of the plant? Sounds like it might spend most of the time indoors so lighting could be the problem.
Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4a)
God made dirt! Dirt don't hurt!
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mnmat
Jun 13, 2016 9:01 PM CST
Thank you ctcarol, DomehomeDee, and microb for the replies. Sorry for my late reply. I still haven't exactly figured out the navigation of the NGA site.

I've only been in SD for a year. I spent the past 25 years in Minnesota but the growing season isn't much different. The last frost date here is May 15th and first frost is Sept 28th.

As in years past my Epis spend the summer outside in the shade. Either under trees or on a porch. Never in full sun. I wonder if I'm not watering them enough. I only water them every 3 weeks or so. Sometimes a month goes by before I water them.

For MN winter they were in South and West facing large windows. Now I'm in an older home with smaller windows & lots of shade.

The picture is of the oldest plant. I received it in 1995 as a start from my moms plant which as far as I know never bloomed either. Mom did know it was an Epi, she called it an orchid cactus. About 5 years ago I forgot to bring it in and a hard freeze killed it. I brought it in the house and watered it hoping a miracle would happen. It did, but the plant has never looked the same. It developed a lot of long thin spine covered stems that never flattened out. I finally read somewhere that I should cut those out, which I did and it started developing the flat stems you see in the pic. But I have to periodically go in and do it again. Both plants you see here were potted in the small 4" pot. A week ago I repotted into the larger pot. I was really surprised that the roots weren't wound around the inside the the small pot. When I unpotted it the plant fell out in 2 pieces so both pots are the same plant.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Meri
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 13, 2016 10:04 PM CST
That's a tough one. If you're really attached to that plant for sentimental reasons, you might try a grow light, good potting medium, and checking water needs better. If it were mine, I'd toss it and start a new cutting. You could try starting a healthy looking stem from that one, I suppose. I personally don't recommend them as house plants. If you can keep them alive in the house, they get large. That being said, many people do manage to grow them indoors. Your photo is to small to see any detail, but they need a course, fast draining potting mix, and need to go almost dry between waterings. They also need filtered sun, or the equivalent grow light. I'm far south of you, so I really don't know about day length, but they are tropical...
Name: Marica
Northern Ca mountains 4000' (Zone 7b)
Hummingbirder
crystalview
Jun 25, 2016 8:11 PM CST
mnmat said:

It developed a lot of long thin spine covered stems that never flattened out. I finally read somewhere that I should cut those out, which I did and it started developing the flat stems you see in the pic. But I have to periodically go in and do it again. .
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My gallon plant that bloomed a bloom has several of boxy spine stems. I thought these were just new branchings. Should I trim them? or will they flatten?
I have my rooted stems and this plant in a bright lite room it get filtered sun through awning. My house is cooled by AC. so it is cool in the house. I was thinking it needs moved out to filtered lite under a tree. We are 90 and dry.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 26, 2016 12:30 PM CST
Several of mine have big triangular stems. I don't remove them. They bloom and they branch. The only growth I would remove are the round. skinny climbing stems. Yours would be fine out under the tree, if they get water occasionally .
Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4a)
God made dirt! Dirt don't hurt!
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mnmat
Aug 2, 2016 6:32 PM CST
Since I moved mine outside they are so much happier! They're in dappled shade under a large droopy tree. Lots of new growth. How do I distinguish between buds and new leaf growth? I'm hoping I'll get a flower or 2. Big Grin
Meri
Name: Marica
Northern Ca mountains 4000' (Zone 7b)
Hummingbirder
crystalview
Aug 3, 2016 5:03 PM CST
I moved mine outside too. The increased growth is fast. Some of my new tips looked colorful but turned out to be just new growth not buds. You can still hope for buds I do.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Aug 3, 2016 7:02 PM CST
At this time of year buds would be unlikely in our hemisphere. Hawaii is a different matter. Good growth now is likely to produce blooms next spring. There are a few that are late bloomers, like E. oxypetalum and my Ackermanii cross that will still keep going for awhile though.
Name: Mike
Mountain View, Hawaii
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microb
Aug 4, 2016 11:02 AM CST
This year has slowed down compared to last year. I spotted about a dozen new buds spread over 4 different varieties when I checked yesterday.
The title to this thread is in my sights right now. Just trying to figure out which fertilizer to use. I have some triple 16 left and might try some slow release this year or a mix maybe. Cutting next month!
Will take pics of the fruit that are now ripening nicely. Will have to make a decision about trying seeds again.
Lots of nice new growth with red edges around the tips.
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seed Starter Winter Sowing Garden Photography Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California
Cactus and Succulents Annuals Garden Art Butterflies Seller of Garden Stuff I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DomehomeDee
Aug 5, 2016 9:55 PM CST
Microb, please post some pics of the ones we grew from seed. Mine didn't do much this year, too cold and dry.
The cuttings I received from you like 2 years ago are going good though. I did some blooms on them. I love the one with the smaller yellow flowers.
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Name: Mike
Mountain View, Hawaii
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microb
Aug 6, 2016 4:28 PM CST
Refresh my memory, which ones did we do from seeds. The only seeds I did almost 2 years ago were Curly Locks, before that my seed attempts were like 8 years ago and no blooms yet. Help me out here. Smiling
Name: Dee Moore
Arroyo Grande, CA (Zone 9a)
Seed Starter Winter Sowing Garden Photography Greenhouse Container Gardener Region: California
Cactus and Succulents Annuals Garden Art Butterflies Seller of Garden Stuff I helped beta test the first seed swap
Image
DomehomeDee
Aug 7, 2016 9:49 PM CST
It was the Curly Locks. I know you had more success with them. Mine germinated fine but they haven't continued to grow much. I'd love to see what they look like when they're happy. It just didn't get hot enough here this summer.

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