Epiphyllum - Delicious Grape fruits
Unbelievable Orange flowers with an incredible grape flavoured fruits!
This beauty revealed a wonderful surprise this year! Growing perched up in an old hanging basket, it produced not only a beautiful flower but a very unique tasty fruit! I do not the name or origin of this species. Epiphyllums often produce tiny fruits but they are not always tasty, this one rivalled the best dragonfruit with a sweet strawberry grape flavour. The fine spines on the fruit are soft, not like the irritating ones found on prickly pear fruits.
This cacti relative produces the most spectacular flowers and make wonderful plants for hanging baskets in the garden or on the patio.
Native to Central America and first described in the 1800’s, these plants have been hybridised with related species over the years to produce some jaw-dropping colours!
The original jungle orchid from which they came only flowered for one night, just like their relative hylocereous (Dragon fruit). However these hybrid now flower during the day and will last a few days.
Epiphyllum is Greek for "upon the leaf" as the flowers are produced directly from the leaves or rather, thick flattened stems.
Some epiphyllums produce ariel roots that cling to trees. Hylocereus species (Dragon fruit) also have this trait and since they are closely related, some interesting dragonfruit / epi hybrids have been created.
They are pretty easy and will tolerate neglect. I have often been surprised to see a gorgeous flower in spring from a plant I have ignored all year!
I have found they grow best in filtered light under a tree, shade cloth or on the patio. I keep some in my shade house and others are hanging under trees.
I have found the plants that get too much shade don't bloom, so they still need adequate light. They will not tolerate full sun or frost, so you must bring them inside over winter if you are in a cold zone.
How to grow your cutting:
No rush! When you receive your cutting you will need to wait a couple of weeks for the cut end to callous over. Just put in a cool dry place for two weeks.
It is important that you wait until the end is calloused and dry before you plant it, otherwise the cutting will rot once planted.
Epi’s love a crowd! Its a good idea to start with two or three cuttings in a 140mm pot or just one cutting in a 100mm pot. A degree of root binding encourages them to bloom.
Use a quality potting mix, ensure that the pot can drain well - wet feet will kill them. Lightly dampen the soil and plant them just deep enough so that the cutting can stand up on its own.
DON’T KILL THEM WITH WATER!
Just mist the stem for a few weeks when they are first planted don’t water the soil, don't begin to water the soil until you are sure the cutting is well rooted and you can see some new growth.
Let them dry out between waterings. Once established they usually get by on regular rain. Just keep an eye on them, they may need water once a week during our very hot weather.
I just use seasol and organic based plant food to keep them strong, they prefer the soil slightly acid so if your soil is tending alkali add a little peat moss in the mix.
Just keep an eye on them, as snails will have a go at them and so will scale insects.
Plant supplied as: Fresh Cutting Approx 15cm long.