What are epiphytic cacti and how to cultivate these plants native to rainforests?

Epiphyllum ibrido

Cacti are plants that have made drought resistance their strong point. These are “xerophytic” or “xerophilous” plants, i.e. plants capable of accumulating water reserves for surviving in arid and semi-desert environments. If this is the rule, there is no lack of exception, which is represented by the epiphytic cactaceae. We are still in the Cactaceae family, but these are very particular genera, starting from their habit, which thrive in rainforests and which in sub-desert areas would not be able to survive. Epiphytic cacti are widespread on the market and in cultivation, just think of the Epiphyllum genus, but they have particular and very different needs compared to most cacti, starting from the substrates, passing to the water regime and to the exposure. And this is why it is important to know which genera of cacti belong to the “epiphytic branch”: because in cultivation we will have to ensure very different conditions for these plants compared to those we can – and must – guarantee for genera such as Ferocactus, Echinocactus, Ariocarpus, etc.

In this article, therefore, we see what the epiphytic genera are, what their needs are and how they should be cultivated (…).

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