Saturday, May 14, 2011

Epiphyllum's Ephemeral Bloom

Saturday is the perfect day for Tiamat, our new Epiphyllum, to show off.  We're sitting over breakfast together for the first morning of the week, and there she is leaning towards us with a shocking fuchsia bloom called 'Dragon Heart'.  The bloom itself stretches 6 inches across by 6 inches high.  The weight of it bends her, but not to breaking.  We're both amazed at our little one.  The promise of the bloom was no exaggeration.

Tiamat is the all-birthing sea, the unconscious mind, ever-changing in form, the saltwater of blood and tears: elemental, both creative and destructive, neither evil nor good.  And certainly beautiful.  

If you've never owned an Epiphyllum, they're an easy and rewarding companion plant.  (By companion, I mean that the interaction with Epiphyllums is more personal than with many other plants.  Some you bring home, and they quietly hold up a corner of dappled light, but this one will always look like a guest.)  They are the "Orchid Cactus" or "Christmas Cactus" that used to be more commonly exchanged as household gifts.  Their short list of preferred conditions they easily adapt out of.  Discovered living in treetop debris in moderately warm, wet environments, they're considered tropical plants, but I've even had success growing them in the dry climate of central Utah, and feel confident these are a good houseplant for beginners and experts alike.

I've found a lot of easily read care information at the following website.  Don't be discouraged by the particulars.  Just find a tray of them in the houseplant section next time you're at Portland Nursery and pick the one that picks you.  If you missed the shipment, scour other nurseries for them, or order one online.  Keep it in a window with morning light, provide regular humidity, and do not overwater.  You won't regret it!

Tiamat in Bloom, May 2011

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