Epiphyllum ‘Bolinas’

orchid cactus
Sprawling epiphytic succulent thrives in pots or mounted in baskets. Big pink blooms in late spring. Not good in garden soil. Regular summer water.
height 8–12in
width 1–3ft
tolerates Cool Summers, Drought, Fog, Heat, Pots
Low – Moderate
Epiphyllums prefer to go mostly dry between waterings during summer and totally dry during winter. They are forgiving of overwatering given a fast draining medium (of cactus mix or orchid bark) and warmth, especially during their summer growing season. If the medium isn’t fast draining enough, cold winter rains can lead to yellowing, brown spots on the branches or roots rotting. Keep an eye out for shriveling leaves, as this is a sign that your plant would like some water.
exposure Full Shade – Part Shade
In or Out
drainage In Pots: Cactus Mix, Orchid Bark
fertilizing Bloom
origin Tropical Americas
16, 17, 20–24, H2

Sunset Zones Map


Growing Notes

This epiphytic plant does well in tight spots, and hanging planters where the beautiful cascading branches and flowers can be enjoyed. As such they can remain rootbound for many years without issue.
Many growers claim that a dry winter rest and cool winter temperatures help encourage blooms, but we have seen plants grown exposed to winter rains bloom well in Central California.
Fertilize from spring through fall with a low nitrogen fertilizer to encourage blooms.
If grown in too little light a curious phenomenon happens to epiphyllums; instead of putting out flat wide smooth leaves they put out thin rounded spiny leaves. We have seen epiphyllums grow happily like this in shady spots, so this isn’t necessarily detrimental to their health, but if you’d like flowers and the big flat leaves they are known for you should move your plant into more light.
Typically we do not recommend planting this plant in the ground, as an epiphytic plant it prefers an exceptionally airy growth medium.
Tolerates more inland shade and more coastal sun.

Special Interest

This cultivar was collected by our team growing in Bolinas at the garden of the late Herman Schwartz.

The common name orchid cactus refers to this plant’s oversized vibrant flowers, though they resemble a cactus flower much more than an orchid flower.