In their natural habitat, woodland cacti attach themselves to trees, and it is therefore not surprising that they are so different in shape and requirements from the thorn-covered desert cacti.
All types of woodland cacti have leaf-like stems and a drooping growth pattern, making them suitable for hanging baskets. Some, such as ripsalis, are grown for the shape of their stems, but their main merit is the flowering. Caring for forest cacti is not difficult, but it still requires certain knowledge and skills.
In this article we will introduce you to the names of forest cacti, the photos of which are presented on this page. The brightest group is made up of epiphyllums with large fragrant flowers.
Unfortunately, forest cacti bloom inconsistently, and therefore some rules must be followed in order for good flowering to occur every year. Provide a cool and dry dormant period, never move the plant when it is in bud, and let the stems establish themselves outdoors in the summer. Each type has specific needs.
Care of forest cacti
The optimum temperature is 13°-21°C. When caring for forest cacti during the dormant period, it is necessary to provide them with a temperature of 10 ° -13 ° C.
Light: Most varieties require a well-lit area, out of direct sunlight. Epiphyllum grows well on the windowsill on the east side.
Watering: Increase watering when the dormant period is over and buds are starting to form. Treat like a normal houseplant when flowers appear and during active growth – water generously when the compost starts to dry out. Use rain water if tap water is very hard.
Humidity: Spray frequently.
Repotting: Repot annually shortly after flowering ends. Epiphyllum is an exception – its flowering is stimulated by a cramped pot, so it is not necessary to replant annually.
Propagation: Cuttings of most varieties root easily. Take stem cuttings in the summer using the terminal segment or the top of the stem. Allow the cutting to dry out for a few days before planting in peat-based compost.
Types of forest cacti and their photos
Rhipsalidopsis Gartneri (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, or Schlumbergera gaertneri) is a related cactus that blooms in April or May. This type of forest cactus is similar to the “Decembrist”, but the petals of the flowers, which are pink to dark red in color, do not fold back, and the edges of the segments are finely scalloped.
In order for the “Decembrist” and ripsalidopsis to bloom annually, they need to be outdoors from June or July to mid-September. Then they are brought into the room and provide a period of rest by storing in a cool and dry place. A month or two before the expected flowering time, normal care is restored.
Epiphyllum, or Ackerman’s phyllocactus (Epiphyllum ackermanii) is an untidy plant, like all epiphyllums.>
However, the unattractive appearance of the plant is compensated by flowers that appear in May or June – wide multi-petal funnels that can be the size of a saucer. There are many varieties of different colors.
Forest cactus “Decembrist”
Schlumbergera Buckley (Schlumbergera buckleyi) is a well-known forest cactus “Decembrist”. Its branching and arcuate stems consist of flat segments 3-5 cm long, and there are sharp protrusions along the edges. Flowers appear between November and the end of January. There are white, pink, purple and red varieties.