Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Crenate Orchid Cactus
Epiphyllum crenatum

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Epiphyllum (ep-ih-FYE-lum) (Info)
Species: crenatum (kre-NAY-tum) (Info)

Synonym:Cereus crenatus
Synonym:Epiphyllum crenatum var. crenatum
Synonym:Epiphyllum caulorhizum
Synonym:Phyllocactus crenatus
Synonym:Phyllocactus caulorhizus

» View all varieties of Orchid Cactus

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 ░C (40 ░F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 12 photos.
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7 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive paddingtonbear On Jan 3, 2014, paddingtonbear from ionion islands
Greece wrote:

I was given a cutting of this plant by a french botanist...a rather mean little piece...over the last 5 years it has become a spectacular and huge specimen producing not less than 5 flowers per month from May until November.Cuttings root very quickly in rather modest soil that is not enriched in any way,although my cockerel spends alot of time scratching around there and may be fertilizing the ground.Dappled shade is provided by a mature Pauwlonia but little or no water is given .
I cover the plant with netting in January to prevent the leaves from being destroyed by hailstones,it happened once to my utter horror! other than staking the very long new shoots which are forming now,January,this plant requires very little in the way of care and provides enormous joy.The scent of the flowers is overwhelming and attracts all manner of moths here.
We have typically wet mediteranean winters and long hot summers...seems to like it here!

Positive surhguh On Dec 23, 2004, surhguh from Seoul
South Korea wrote:

The beauty of its flower is incomparable and the fragrans is heavenly.
It requires little care, but, if you provide good care, it will compensate you with so many flowers. Keep it a little bit dry, but not too dry as you do to other succulents. If you keep it too dry, the stems will loose plumpness and the plant will become weak. Refrain from deviding into small plants unless you need to propagate it, because small plants will produce fewer flowers. You may need to stake the thin upright stems to prevent breaking off. I prefer 45 cm high clay pot to enjoy some of the side stems droop down gracefully and flower there.
I live in Seoul, Korea and I have to keep my plants inside during the winter.
You will like this plant.

Surhguh Park

Positive aussiejoey2003 On Dec 22, 2004, aussiejoey2003 from Sydney
Australia wrote:

We live in Sydney, Australia and have a large mature crenate in the home we moved into in 2003. We have had 4 blooms so far this year, and just got 3 new branches that are at least 4 feet tall and stick straight up in the air!

It has beautiful blooms that last one night, and the scent is great. We are very happy with ours & will try to propogate some using cuttings as described by another member above. Cheers, Mike & YVonne

Positive jermainiac On Sep 22, 2003, jermainiac from Seattle, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

My epis get pretty leggy. I don't treat them particularly well. I rarely remember to water one of them, but I figure it's ok since they are in cactus family. My flowers only last a couple of days.

Easy to grow: just break a 'branch' off (there's no spines on mine) and let it sit outside and dry a few weeks. Then, stick it 1/3 way into a pot (sturdy hanging pots do best!) of well drained mix (like cactus mix). Wait 2 years, while it gets new shoots, and then you might begin to see buds at the nodes of the 'leaves' or 'branch'. Blooms as early as November and as late as June. Usually February-ish.

If you visit the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park during early spring, be sure to check out the Epiphyllum House; a long greenhouse containing hundreds of amazing Epis in full bloom. Awesome!

Positive SueP64 On Sep 19, 2003, SueP64 from Centerbrook, CT wrote:

I have had Night-blooming Cereus as a houseplant for 5-6 years. I missed the first blossom (sadly). It failed to bloom again for lack of sufficient light until I moved to a home where I could put it outside during the summer. It currently has a large starry, red bud awaiting the perfect moment to open. I will be waiting and watching.

The gangly Orchid Cactus can hardly be described as a graceful plant but its blooms and fragrance are said to compensate for this. Cuttings root easily and it is forgiving to those of us too busy to water frequently. I strongly recommend a south window if you plan to raise them indoors. Be sure to plant them in heavy pots as their growth habit tends to make them a bit top heavy.

Positive niblet On Aug 5, 2003, niblet from Palm Harbor, FL wrote:

I got this plant from my mother. I have had it two years and it bloomed for the first time this summer in August. I am not sure it is the same plant because mine blooms at midnight. Smells great but butterflies and bees are not up at midnight. I have given it little care, it is in a clay pot out by my pool.

Positive PaulRobinson On Apr 18, 2003, PaulRobinson from Torrance, CA wrote:

My Orchid Cacti have done well in large pots, with ordinary soil and minimal feeding or attention. While they have bloomed in full, Southern California sun, they seem to do better in light shade: leaves are a more attractive green (almost yellow in full sun), and they bloom more profusely.

Sadly, the resplenent flowers last only a couple of days at most - then an entire year of waiting for the next.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gardena, California
Irvine, California
Merced, California
Morgan Hill, California
Spring Valley, California
Torrance, California
Palm Harbor, Florida
Church Point, Louisiana
Williamsburg, Ohio
Erie, Pennsylvania
Houston, Texas

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