Sunday, August 27, 2017

Orchid Cactus - Care and Growing Tips

The Orchid Cactus, commonly known as Brahma Kamal, Night Blooming Cereus and Lady of the Night, is a beautiful cacti that bores large cup shaped flowers in varied colors such as red, pink, white, yellow and even mixed light an dark colored. With little care and regular pruning, one gets to enjoy a beautiful bloom which would go on for months. Though the plant is known as Orchid cactus, yet it is not an orchid at all but a cactus. The plant must have got it's name because of the beauty of the flower similar to that of orchid and the rest of the plant resembling a cactus. The flowers  do resemble the shape of the orchid but are large and have a lovely fragrance. The flowers of orchid cactus are known to bloom after sunset, as they start out blooming slowly. It takes around two hours for the flower to bloom fully but once it is done, it stays open throughout the night.  And hence Orchid Cactus are also called as 'The Queen of the Night'. In India the orchid cactus is known as Brahma Kamal and is looked upon as a sacred plant. The name Brahma Kamal is derived from the word 'Brahma' which is the name of Lord Brahma in Hindu Mythology who is the God of Creation and 'Kamal' which means a 'Lotus' for its resemblance with the flower. Lord Brahma is usually seen holding the Brahma Kamal in his hand. One is considered to be really lucky if he gets to see a fully bloomed Brahma Kamal. In India, Orchid Cactus are found in Himalayas and now is hugely popular as a house plant.

Care and Growing Tips for Orchid Cactus

Orchid Cactus can be the best hanging plants, as there is not much of tedious task taking care of them. Being a cactus, the plants do not need frequent watering. They can serve as the best indoor plant as they are less messy. Let us learn some care and growing tips for orchid cactus.

1. If planning to grow them outdoors, it is ideal to choose a wall or plant them in hanging containers which can be placed anywhere it gets filtered sunlight.

2. Regular pruning plays a main role in the orchid cactus care. Regular pruning helps the plant to grow as a fuller plant. And once pruning is done,  the plant starts  growing again actively. The ideal time for pruning is Spring. Once the plant is pruned, you should use the pruned stems to propagate by trimming the stem just below the portion where the leaf meets stem, trimming half of the leaf on the stem and dipping the stem in water for a while. Then just plant them back in soil besides the orchid cactus to get more and more of these gorgeous plants.

3. Being a cactus, the plant should be watered sparingly. But during growing stage,the orchid cactus needs water and shouldn't be left to dry out completely. It is best to spray out the stems and root area occasionally to unclog dust and other particles.

4. Instead of nitrogen rich fertilizers, it is advisable to use rich organic fertilizer for growing thee plants.

5. Never do overpotting of the orchid cactus. If you plan to repotting, try it with a new pot and new soil which is nearly dry. Repotting should be done once a year not more than that. Once repotting is done do not water for at least 2 to 3 days, then water sparingly for next couple of weeks.

6. Winter is the resting period, so do not bother them with much watering. Instead water them only as much would keep the stems strong and plump. 

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