Dear Master Gardener,
What is your thought about this plant? How old is it and how to take care of it so that it would bloom in the next few months? In general, how to grow and take care of Disocactus Ackermannii properly in Toronto? Is it similar to German Empress Epiphyllum in terms of growth and health requirements?
Thanks for your information and guidance.
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.
Disocactus ackermannii, also known as orchid cactus, is a perennial epiphytic cactus originally from southern Mexico. Its scientific name has recently been changed to Disocactus ackermannii from the previous Epiphyllum ackermannii. German Empress Epiphyllum has also been renamed. It is now known as Disocactus phyllanthoides. So, these two cacti belong to the same genus. They have similar care requirements, but German Empress needs more humidity.
Disocactus ackermannii likes bright filtered light and moderate to low humidity. Locate it near a south-, east- or west-facing window.
It is not frost hardy, and here in Toronto is grown as a houseplant, at least in winter.
Keep this cactus between16-24ºC during its active growing cycle.
Orchid cactus likes moist but well-drained soil that is acidic. Water it regularly, but do not overwater. Let the top third of the soil dry out in between watering.
During the growing season from April to the end of September, feed it with a balanced fertilizer for acid loving plants at half strength every two weeks.
To ensure blooms the following year, these plants require a winter dormancy period. In December, move the cactus into a room where the daytime temperature is 16-18ºC, the night-time temperature is 4-12ºC and there is only daylight during the normal winter daylight hours. Reduce watering and do not fertilize. Remove from resting room in early March or when buds form.