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Epiphyllum Propagation & How to Root Cuttings

Wondering how to root epiphyllum cuttings? Epiphyllums are stunning plants, and epiphyllum propagation is one of the easiest in the game! Learn how to get it right on the first try.

All about epiphyllum propagation & rooting cuttings

Hey, all! It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a houseplant propagation post. So when I decided to treat myself to a box of epiphyllum cuttings online (affiliate link), I knew this would be the perfect time to get off my butt and jump back into things.

What is an epiphyllum?

I have a couple of posts about different types of epiphyllum already—first, my Epiphyllum Oxypetalum Care post. This plant is otherwise known as the “queen of the night” for its stunning white blooms that open only at night. I also have a post on the Curly Orchid Cactus, or the epiphyllum guatemalense monstrose.

Epiphyllum is the name of the genus these plants below to. The genus has many types of cacti known for their stunning and exotic-looking flowers. These plants are native to Central and South America, particularly Mexico. They grow on trees and branches as epiphytes, meaning they attach themselves to other plants or objects for support rather than rooting in the ground (though they root in soil, too).

Epiphyllum flowers can be various colors, including white, pink, red, orange, and even multi-colored hybrids. Caring for epiphyllums can be somewhat different from caring for some other types of cacti—they prefer a bit more moisture.

In general, epiphyllums usually require well-draining soil (succulent soil is fine), bright but indirect light, and regular watering during their active growing season. I will say, however, that I have my big epiphyllum oxypetalum in a window that gets direct light in the afternoons, and it’s fine.

woman holding a large Epiphyllum plant
white Epiphyllum flower

Why propagate epiphyllum plants?

Epiphyllums are incredibly easy to propagate. I will outline a few different ways to do so in this post. But, rest assured, all will give you great results. I’ve tried them all, and I rarely experience failure when propagating epiphyllums. (Unlike some other plants, which can sometimes be a crapshoot!)

How to take a good epiphyllum cutting

My box of cuttings arrives to me already snipped off of their respective mother plants. However, I have taken epiphyllum cuttings myself, and it’s not difficult. Here are the steps.

  1. Clean a pair of shears or scissors to make sure they are sterile.
  2. Find a piece of the epiphyllum stem that is a few inches long; if the piece is too long, it will have a harder time rooting.
  3. Locate a leaf node. These are the growth points along the stem where new growth will emerge. Cut the piece off. This is what you’ll root.
  4. Let the cutting callus over for a few days; this is a crucial step in the process and helps prevent rot when you put the new cutting in whatever propagation method you choose.

Below is a picture with a few examples of good areas to take cuttings.

Epiphyllum plant with red circles showing where to take a cutting for propgation

Method #1: Epiphyllum propagation in soil

The first method is the easiest, but it’s generally not my favorite method to propagate any plant. That’s because I’m a bit of a control freak, and I like to monitor some of the root development before I transfer the cutting to soil.

You may be different, and you may choose to just plant your epiphyllum cutting directly in soil. To do so, make sure the end of your cutting has callused over. Then put any well-draining houseplant or succulent/cactus soil mix in a small pot with drainage holes

Stick the cutting down an inch or so—deep enough that it can stand up on its own when you lightly pat the soil in around it. Water the plant to dampen the soil, and then put the pot in an area with bright, indirect light.

Let the soil dry out completely before watering the cutting again. After several weeks, the cutting should begin to root. You can test this by gently pulling the cutting to see if you get any resistance. Or just wait for signs of new growth.

Here’s a small cutting I planted in soil. I’d poked holes in the bottom of this paper cup. Because these propagations don’t need that much water, I wasn’t too worried about the paper cup falling apart. I was passing this one along to someone else and didn’t want to give up a nice pot 🙂

Epiphyllum propagation in soil

Method #2: Epiphyllum propagation in water

I’ve also propagated epiphyllum cuttings in water before transferring them to soil. Generally what happens when I water propagate something is this—I prune a plant and throw the cuttings onto a table or something.

A few days later, I remember the cuttings are there and think, “oh I don’t want those to die.” So I throw the (conveniently callused over) cuttings into a jar of water. I swear I have so many jars of water around my house for this exact reason!

Then I watch the little roots develop in water. It’s a fun process. When the roots are sufficiently long, I’ll pop the cutting—or several cuttings—into a small pot with fresh, well-draining soil. Then I’ll water the plant roughly once a week or so as the water roots convert to their new soil home.

For the cuttings below, I left them in water all winter. When spring hit, I simply planted them right back into a bare spot in the back of my larger queen plant’s pot.

rooting Epiphyllum cuttings in water
rooting Epiphyllum cuttings in water
lightly rooted Epiphyllum cutting

Method #3: Epiphyllum propagation in LECA

And the final method I’d recommend for rooting epiphyllum cuttings is LECA. What’s LECA? It’s just a bunch of clay balls. I have a post all about how to propagate cuttings in LECA if you need a deep dive.

I love rooting plants in LECA because it helps them develop strong roots that generally suffer less shock when transitioning plants to soil. (That is, compared to roots grown in water).

You do use water when rooting plants in LECA, but generally the roots do not sit in the water. They thrive off of the moisture from a smaller reservoir of water at the bottom of your propagation vessel. Confused? Here’s a walk through!

First add about an inch or two of LECA to a glass jar. Then add the cutting in another inch or so above this area—fill in around the cutting with LECA. This will stabilize it and keep it in place.

Add water to the bottom inch or two of LECA that you added. The water should remain in the reservoir below the cutting. Monitor for evaporating and refresh as necessary. You’ll notice root grow quickly!

When you are ready to transplant the cutting to soil, follow the same steps you’d take with a water-rooted cutting. Plant in well-draining soil, water, and call it a day.

leca clay balls in a hand
Epiphyllum cuttings rooting in LECA

How long does it take an epiphyllum cutting to root?

The length of time it takes an epiphyllum cutting to root depends on many factors. From the time of year to the propagation method you choose and more. In general, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a month for an epiphyllum cutting to root.

How can I make my plant root faster?

No matter what type of propagation method you choose, you may want to considering using a rooting hormone. You can use rooting gels or powders to help cuttings grow roots faster.

To use them simply coat the cut end of the plant with your rooting hormone of choice before planting it or putting it into water or a jar of LECA. I sometimes use rooting hormone and I sometimes don’t. It just depends on if I remember and if I have it on hand.

large Epiphyllum plant

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collage that says all about Epiphyllum Propagation with pictures of the plant
Brittany Goldwyn
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