Epiphyllum cactus are also called orchid cactus due to their lovely flowers. The flowers turn into a chubby little fruit filled with tiny seeds. Growing Ephiphyllum seeds will take some patience but it is a rewarding endeavor that will give you more of these beautiful epiphytic cacti.
Epiphyllum have flat-leaf stems set in disjointed connections. The stems produce brilliantly colored flowers that may span up to nearly 10 inches in diameter but are more commonly an inch or two. As epiphytes, these plants grow on trees in their native regions. As houseplants, they prefer a lightly gritty soil with peat moss as an addition.
Epiphyllum Cactus Fruit
Epiphyllum flowers have a similar structure to any other bloom. The ovary is at the heart of the flower and will foster the formation of the fruit or seed pod. The petals on Epiphyllum are arranged differently, depending upon the variety. Some are cup-shaped, others bell-shaped and still others funnel-shaped. The arrangement of the petals may be irregular or spoke-like.
Once the pollen tipped stamen are ripe, busy insects move from flower to flower, transferring the pollen. If you are lucky and your cactus flowers get pollinated and fertilized, the bloom will drop off and the ovule will begin to swell and turn into Epiphyllum seed pods or fruit. The pods on Epiphyllum plants are the result of a successful fertilization. They are round to oval slightly bumpy bright red fruits, filled with soft pulp and small black seeds.
Is Epiphyllum fruit edible? Most cactus fruits are edible and Epiphyllyum is no exception. Epiphyllum cactus fruit have variable flavor, depending upon the cultivar and when the fruit is harvested, but most say it tastes like dragon fruit or even passion fruit.
Epiphyllum Cactus Seed Info
The pods on Epiphyllum plants are edible. The best taste seems to be when they are plump and bright red. Once the fruit begins to shrivel, the seeds are ready to harvest, but the flavor will be off.
Epiphyllum seed pods need to have the pulp scooped out in order to harvest the seed. Soak the pulp in water and scoop the pulp. Any floating seeds provide important Epiphyllum cactus seed info, as these are duds and not viable. They should be discarded. Once all the pulp and bad seeds are out, drain off the good seeds and let them air dry. They are now ready to plant.
Growing Epiphyllum Seeds
Create a growing medium of potting soil, peat and fine grit. Choose a shallow container in which to germinate the seeds. Spread the seed across the surface of the soil and then lightly sprinkle some soil mixture over them.
Mist the surface deeply and then cover the container with a lid to keep in moisture and promote heat. Once the seedlings have appeared, grow the plants in a bright location with indirect light. Keep the babies lightly moist and remove the cover occasionally to allow them to breathe.
Once they are too tall for the lid, you can dispense with it and allow them to continue growing for 7 to 10 months. Then it is time to repot them individually. It can take 5 more years before the new plants bloom, but the wait is worth it as you watch the plant develop.