Orchid cacti exists in 13,000 kinds all around the world. It is a cactus, genus ephiphyllum, also popularly known as a Christmas cactus and it is native in Brazil and Central America. From spring towards summer, an orchid cactus blooms large flowers in colors white to pink to deep crimson. Its beauty, just like other orchids, (and with some that normally blooms at night!) makes it suitable to decorate homes and gardens and enjoyable even in the dark of the evening. Growing an orchid cactus is not complicated and its flowers can grow on surfaces of other plants without causing harm. The following are basic steps to maintain a healthy orchid cactus.
Light and shade. The plant can be kept inside or outdoors, in a pot or on a hanging basket, depending on where it would be more desirable. It is essential that the plant gets enough light but, contrary to common notions, it should not be directly under the sun, so that its blooming will be encouraged. When indoors, put a curtain or blinds up to avoid too much sun exposure. As much as possible, keep it in place where it will not be exposed to artificial light at night. If outdoors, make sure that the orchid cactus is safely under adequate shade.
Pot indicators. An orchid cactus blooms best when it is pot-bound. If any repotting has to be done, it should be in between February to April. Once a week, water the orchid cactus and twice if the weather is warmer. When the topmost layer of the pot soil is completely dry, it is the indication that the plant has to be watered.
Water, fertilizer and soil. Too much water damages the root and causes it to rot, therefore it is ideal to plant the orchid cactus in a quality mix of potting soil, some sand, perlite, and orchid bark. This would allow the water to drain more easily. Fertilize the plant with a fertilizer having an N-P-K ratio of 5-1-4. Do this every time the plant is watered. When its blooming season is over, stop fertilizing the plant.
Humidity. Maintain also a level of humidity around the plant by putting its pot over some pebbles that would keep its surroundings moist. Typical home humidity is enough for an orchid cactus to survive, however, checking the humidity should not be taken for granted.
Miscellaneous care. Aphids, scale or spider mites may attack the plant, therefore spray insecticides on it. Hand pick slugs or snails when they appear and eat the plant. Be very careful when picking insecticides. As much as possible, stay on the green side with less environmental effects by means of getting organic options.
Enjoy your orchid cactus by introducing various layouts and designs that will help you get more motivated in caring for more plants of this type. Also, get involved with other experts in orchid cactus planting so that you can get better tips, discounts and other things that can help you improve as you continue to care for orchid cactus plants in your home.