Orchid Cactus (Disocactus ackermannii) an ornamental, epiphytic perennial cactus. It forms clumps about 30 cm high with a 60 – 100 cm spread. The stems of Orchid Cactus consist of a short rounded base, about 4 – 7 inches long, followed by longer flattened leaf-like portions, 4 – 30 inches long and 2 – 3 inches wide with wavy edges. The plant branches from the base and arches downwards. The scarlet flowers have greenish throats and are funnel-shaped, 11–14 cm long. Fertilized flowers are followed by green to brownish red fruits, 4 cm long and 2 – 2.5 cm wide. It blooms in spring, the flowers tend to open in the afternoon or evening and remain open both night and day for several days.
Species: D. ackermannii
Scientific Name: Disocactus ackermannii
Synonyms: Cactus ackermannii, Epiphyllum ackermannii, Heliocereus ackermannii, Nopalxochia ackermannii, Weberocereus ackermannii.
Common Names: Orchid Cactus, Strap Cactus, Red Orchid Cactus, Leaf cacti.
How to grow and maintain Orchid Cactus (Disocactus ackermannii):
It thrives best in the bright, but indirect light. Direct sunlight should be avoided, as it can cause brown spots.
It prefers to grow in neutral, Well-drained soil. Use a mixture of 1 part potting soil and 1 part fine-grade fir bark.
To set flower buds, the plant needs cool 60-65°F/16-18°C days and 45°F-55°F/7-13°C nights. Once buds set, 70°F-75°F/21-24°C days and 60°F-70°F/16-21°C nights. Plant death can occur at below 50°F (10°C).
Water regularly, keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. After flowering, water sparingly until new growth begins in spring.
Fertilize every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. After blooms have dropped, stop fertilizing for a month.
It can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. Take stem cuttings from one to four segments. Allow the cut ends to dry for 24 hours before placing upright in moist perlite. Rooting occurs between 3-4 weeks. It is rarely propagated by seed, sow seeds in the spring. From seeds, this cactus takes 12-15 years to mature to the blooming stage.
Re-pot every year or every 2 years in the mid-summer. Never re-pot during the bloom or following resting period. Re-pot by removing only the loose soil around the roots. Transfer immediately to a wider pot.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest or disease problems. Watch for spider mites, mealybugs, and fungus. Add an insecticide to the water 2 to 3 times a year to combat pests as well as a systemic fungicide to prevent the orange and brown spotting that sometimes affects them.