My neighbor, Chow, gave me my first epiphyllum about 15 years ago. He has pots of them all over his yard and balconies, and told me they bring good fortune. I’m not into superstitious stuff, but I’m also reluctant to call its bluff, if you know what I mean.
So I took pretty good care of my epiphyllums. I tried my best to keep them in the shade, and water them enough and pluck off the ravenous snails.
The first time one of my plants kicked out one of these blooms, I couldn’t believe it. Although I love the lines of the stems, they aren’t the prettiest plants around. Mine get pretty beat up looking, with the snails I missed and the few times they got burned in direct sun.
But they kept growing. And every spring, and usually one other time of year, they sprouted these large buds. Then one morning, the flower would just appear, fluttering and delicate, silently waiting for someone to notice.
(The flowers hang down, so you really have to get down on their level to appreciate them.)
And like many of the most beautiful things in the world, they don’t last long. (What’s with that, anyway? Butterflies, shooting stars, babies…) Maybe three to four days at the most.
To their credit, they are one of those plants that you can just snap off a stem,
and stick it in the soil, and it grows. Gotta love that!
You can see why they are irresistible.
The petals are super thin and opalescent. The flowers are about four to five inches across–big!
I ended up buying some other varieties from a guy who sold them in our canyon for a while, and they produced different colors, including one that was light pink and the other a soft peach. They are also known as “orchid flowers” and come from Central America. One popular type, (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) is very fragrant and only blooms for a single night.
As far as the good fortune prediction, we aren’t what you would call loaded, but we are holding our own. So the epiphyllums–lucky or not–are here to stay.