The way to Care For The Fern Leaf Orchid Cactus, Selenicereus chrysocardium

Once I first noticed this plant a few years in the past,  it was in a dangling basket at a neighborhood backyard middle tagged as a fern. It was a big plant and out of my worth vary. The label perplexed me, to say the least. The leaves resembled a fern, however the texture was rubbery like a succulent. I by no means came upon what it was till years later and I by no means noticed one on the market once more till just lately. I grabbed it up instantly! It’s a Selenicereus chrysocardium (previously Epiphyllum) or fern leaf cactus. Let’s speak about how one can take care of the fern leaf orchid cactus. 

Selenicereus chrysocardium

The fern leaf cactus does have a leaf that resembles a fern

Selenicereus Has Cladodes

As we talked about final week, these fern-shaped leaves are cladodes. Cladodes are stems, not leaves in any respect. These modified stems operate like leaves, in that they photosynthesize and make meals for the plant. The roots are what attaches it to the tree (or different merchandise)  it lives on and acquire vitamins for the vegetation. 

Selenicereus chrysocardium

The leaf is a cladode or flattened stem

Selenicereus is an Epiphytic Cactus

This cactus is considered one of many jungle cacti that develop within the crooks of bushes. Their roots cling to the tree and use vitamins produced from decomposing particles dropped from vegetation, birds, and different small animals. We use fertilizer in our properties to imitate the vitamins vegetation get from nature by way of soil or as on this case, particles. It’s a true cactus although this explicit one is a spineless selection. 

Selenicereus chrysocardium

Fern leaf orchid cactus

Potting Combine

As a result of this can be a true cactus and an epiphyte, this plant would favor a excessive porosity potting medium. Meaning it likes a number of air round its roots, so once I repot this, I’ll use some orchid bark combined in with my potting soil, in addition to added perlite and vermiculite. As this can be a jungle cacti, it will desire to not fully dry out like its desert cousins.

Mild Desire

As an epiphyte in its pure habitat, this cactus has a tree cover above it and leaves shading it. Meaning it doesn’t want or need a full solar scenario, however can reside in an east or west window or underneath lights with no drawback. If it had been in full solar, akin to a south window or exterior for the summer time, it might develop brown spots from sunburn. 

Selenicereus Blooms

In case you are fortunate sufficient to have this plant bloom, which I’ve not been, it is going to be a white flower, just like the queen of the night time or Epiphyllum oxypetalum. I’m fortunate sufficient to have the queen of the night time bloom in my house. I like it! Beneath is an image of my Epiphyllum oxypetalum blooming final month. 

Epiphyllum oxypetalum

Queen of the Night time attracts bats and moths to pollinate it


This cactus is straightforward to propagate by utilizing a cladode reducing. I lower roughly 3″ off the top of the stem and let it callus over or dry for a couple of days (this can be a should) Then I inserted the top right into a small pot of moistened potting combine and am wanting ahead to new shoots showing in a couple of weeks. 

You possibly can see within the image beneath, a bit of the cladode was inserted into the soil and progress comes from the sides. 

Selenicereus chrysocardium

Fern leaf orchid propagation space


I’m glad I discovered this plant once more and was capable of purchase it. It’s so cool and if it by no means blooms, I’m okay with that. Typically it’s in regards to the foliage! And everyone knows I really like ferns, so a fern cactus gave the impression to be a should for me. 

Have an ideal week, plant mates!


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