Cactus and Succulents forum: Growing epiphytes in coarse soil

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Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
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skopjecollection
Aug 19, 2018 9:49 AM CST
Ive been told, read, and seen people grow "jungle cacti" like rhipsalis, epiphyllum, disocactus, selenicereus, hylocereus, lepisimium, hatiora, and schlumbergera being grown in "draining organic mix". Some of my experience agrees with this, but some doesnt. Anyone actually tried growing any of these in standard issue coarse soil, mostly inorganic?
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Aug 19, 2018 3:23 PM CST
I have grown cuttings of Rhipsalidopsis (which you didn't ask about, but still) in 100% perlite for several months. I didn't mean to, I was just taking cuttings from cladodes which had fallen off and absentmindedly left them in the perlite. They did fine, but I eventually put them in bark.
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Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
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skopjecollection
Aug 19, 2018 9:56 PM CST
Rhipsalidopsis is under schlumbergera now. Also, its not really my favorite name. I liked it when they were under hatiora.......
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Aug 29, 2018 12:07 PM CST
My Hatiora salicornioides and Rhipsalis mesambryanthemoides both grows in well draining coarse soil. It came in that media, so I did not bother changing it. These two loves being water sprayed thoroughly especially when our temps are soaring hot, I guess to cool them down too. It is in the shadiest side of the garden, but when heat is here, it needs almost daily watering and water spray. That coarse soil helps a lot so there is no problem with drainage.

I grow my epis like I am growing orchids, using bark mix, clay rocks, pumice. Initially I was using cact mix with lots of pumice, but observing them, and understanding more that these are epiphytes, I changed to orchid style of growing them. They are actively growing towards late winter to mid-Spring and that is the only time I get blooms too. But I grow them outdoors, at the mercy of the weather. Some will suffer our winter cold, but some endures it. I just remove dead ones. It quickly grows new ones anyways when weather warms up. No blooms all summer long, just hanging in there, trying to cope with our excessive heat. It resumes better growing in early Fall once temps cool down again. The bark mix media is helpful in winter, it is so easy to rot the base of the epis since we get winter rains, so I also try to layer, surround the base with pumice to help the water drain away faster.

Schlumbergera I grow them in cacti mix with lots of pumice. The are actively growing in late Fall to early Spring. I grow them indoors, it will not take our summer heat, will just get fried. And it usually is resting here during the dry season, so I have to be very careful in watering.

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