jjb99
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My great-great-grandmother's cactus

Hello everyone :) I was at my grandmother's the other day, and I asked her about this droopy, kind of ugly plant she's had for as long as I can remember. She told me that it belonged to my great-grandfather's mother, and that she had no idea what it is. It's pretty obviously some kind of cactus, but otherwise, I'm stumped. I'm new to this whole gardening thing, so I apologize if this is a common plant of some sort.
Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Last edited by jjb99 on Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Countryladiesgardens
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Re: My great-great-grandmother's cactus

What a cool cacti! My Uncle had quite the collection of tall Cacti in his yard. They were pretty to look at but watch out! Lots of those things you don't want to touch! :-()
Happy gardening! :-()

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purpleinopp
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Re: My great-great-grandmother's cactus

Looks like an Epiphyllum of some type. Regardless of the possible name, it's definitely an epiphytic jungle entity, not a dweller of dry deserts, so please don't treat it like a cactus. This kind of plant likes to stay moist like any other denizen of moist, rainforest jungle, and too much mid-day sun can burn it. However, the roots can rot very easily, so a chunky/porous/airy soil is best, like that sold for cacti or orchids. If it blooms, you'll be blown away, and a specific ID should be possible if nobody recognizes it without flowers.

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ElizabethB
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Re: My great-great-grandmother's cactus

Epiphyllum Oxypetalum - frequently called Queen of the Night. It is a night bloomer. The blooms range from 6" to 10'+ in diameter. They are very fragrant. The blooms close and wilt after they bloom. A one night stand.

They are easy to propagate. All you need is a leaf cutting 6" - 8" long. Let it dry a little by putting it in a cool place for a week or 2 before planting. Plant in a well drained pot. Use a cactus mix to make sure you have well drained soil. The hardest part is avoiding rot while the cutting roots. Keep the soil just barely moist. Don't fertilize the first year. After that use a low nitrogen fertilizer. Keep them just moist during the growing season and let them dry between watering over winter. If you are growing it indoors place it in a west or south facing window. If outside under a tree or patio works well. Keep them away from drafts from vents. If indoors or if you live in a region with low humidity they benefit from frequent misting. The plant is not very attractive but the blooms are stunning. They are natives of South American rain forest so they do best in warm, humid conditions with. Years ago I had several in hanging baskets under the live oak. If a hard freeze was predicted I moved them inside and put them in a west facing window. I lost them all one winter when I was out of town and an unexpected, freak, ice storm hit. The temperatures stayed below freezing for 3 days. :(

Take a few cuttings and try starting your own. I love "pass along" plants especially those with a history.

Good luck

BTW - they probably won't bloom for 2 or 3 years.
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Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

jjb99
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Re: My great-great-grandmother's cactus

ElizabethB wrote:Epiphyllum Oxypetalum - frequently called Queen of the Night. It is a night bloomer. The blooms range from 6" to 10'+ in diameter. They are very fragrant. The blooms close and wilt after they bloom. A one night stand.

They are easy to propagate. All you need is a leaf cutting 6" - 8" long. Let it dry a little by putting it in a cool place for a week or 2 before planting. Plant in a well drained pot. Use a cactus mix to make sure you have well drained soil. The hardest part is avoiding rot while the cutting roots. Keep the soil just barely moist. Don't fertilize the first year. After that use a low nitrogen fertilizer. Keep them just moist during the growing season and let them dry between watering over winter. If you are growing it indoors place it in a west or south facing window. If outside under a tree or patio works well. Keep them away from drafts from vents. If indoors or if you live in a region with low humidity they benefit from frequent misting. The plant is not very attractive but the blooms are stunning. They are natives of South American rain forest so they do best in warm, humid conditions with. Years ago I had several in hanging baskets under the live oak. If a hard freeze was predicted I moved them inside and put them in a west facing window. I lost them all one winter when I was out of town and an unexpected, freak, ice storm hit. The temperatures stayed below freezing for 3 days. :(

Take a few cuttings and try starting your own. I love "pass along" plants especially those with a history.

Good luck

BTW - they probably won't bloom for 2 or 3 years.
Thanks so much! I will pass along the info to my grandmother.

purpleinopp
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Re: My great-great-grandmother's cactus

I was told my Epiphyllum couldn't be ID'd without a bloom. How do you recognize this species without one?

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ElizabethB
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Re: My great-great-grandmother's cactus

Knew it was epiphyllum. Looked up images and compared foliage.

https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/i ... oxypetalum
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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