Orchid Cactus Disocactus ackermannii

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Ackermann's disocactus


The plant commonly known as the Orchid Cactus is a vibrant and eye-catching specimen renowned for its ornamental appeal. It stands out primarily due to its stunning flowers, which can showcase a range of colors from deep red to hot pink, with a satiny finish that gleams in the light. These trumpet-shaped blooms boast a layering of delicate petals that gracefully unfurl, typically revealing a contrasting white throat that adds to their dramatic presentation. The foliage of the Orchid Cactus is no less attractive; it consists of elongated, flat, and fleshy stems that drape and cascade elegantly. The edges of these stems are not smooth; rather, they have slight indentations that give them a somewhat scalloped look. This saw-toothed appearance adds texture and depth to the visual interest of the plant. The stems themselves are a rich green, contributing a lush backdrop that makes the vivid colors of the flowers even more striking. The Orchid Cactus, when not blooming, maintains its allure with these verdant stems, which have a trailing habit and can appear quite luxuriant. The overall structure of the plant exudes a tropical vibe that's well-suited for those looking to infuse their space with a sense of exotic tranquility. Endowed with these breathtaking flowers and attractive foliage, the Orchid Cactus is a favored choice for gardeners and plant enthusiasts who aim to cultivate a corner of paradise in their own homes or gardens.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Red Orchid Cactus, Ackerman's Disocactus

    • Common names

      Epiphyllum ackermannii, Cereus ackermannii, Phyllocactus ackermannii, Disocactus speciosus var. ackermannii.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Orchid Cactus (Disocactus ackermannii) is not known to be toxic to humans. It does not contain any known toxic substances that would lead to poisoning upon ingestion. Therefore, ingesting parts of the Orchid Cactus typically should not cause any adverse symptoms in humans.

    • To pets

      Orchid Cactus (Disocactus ackermannii) is also not considered toxic to pets. This means that if a pet, such as a cat or dog, ingests parts of the Orchid Cactus, they are unlikely to experience poisoning symptoms as there are no known toxic compounds in the plant that would pose a risk. However, as with any non-food plant, ingestion may potentially cause mild gastrointestinal upset due to the foreign nature of the material, even though it is not poisonous.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: The Red Orchid Cactus (Disocactus ackermannii) is known for its striking red flowers, which add color and vibrancy to any garden or indoor space.
    • Low Maintenance: This plant is relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal watering and only moderate light conditions, making it suitable for busy plant owners.
    • Humidity Tolerance: The Red Orchid Cactus thrives in a variety of humidity levels, making it a good choice for homes in different climates.
    • Long Blooming Season: The flowering period of Disocactus ackermannii can last for several weeks, providing a long-lasting display of its beautiful blooms.
    • Drought Tolerance: It has the ability to withstand periods of drought due to its succulent nature, making it suitable for xeriscaping and water-conscious gardening.
    • Propagation Ease: It can be easily propagated from stem cuttings, allowing gardeners to create new plants and expand their collection without additional cost.
    • Heightened Mood & Wellbeing: The presence of flowering plants like the Red Orchid Cactus can elevate mood and contribute positively to mental wellbeing through its natural beauty.
    • Seasonal Interest: Disocactus ackermannii can provide seasonal interest in gardens or as a potted plant, especially when it blooms in late winter or spring when few other plants are flowering.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Ornamental display: The vibrant red flowers of the Orchid Cactus make it a popular ornamental plant for hanging baskets and indoor decoration.
    • Cultural symbolism: In some cultures, the striking appearance of the Orchid Cactus is associated with love and beauty and is used in ceremonies and festivals.
    • Photography subject: Due to its unique and colorful flowers, the Orchid Cactus is often used as a subject for botanical and artistic photography.
    • Education and research: Botany students and researchers use the Orchid Cactus to study epiphytic plant structure and pollination strategies in tropical plant species.
    • Crafts and art: The distinctive form of the Orchid Cactus is sometimes replicated in art and crafts, such as in textile designs and botanical illustrations.
    • Garden design: Gardeners can use the Orchid Cactus to add vertical interest in tropical and subtropical garden designs.
    • Bee and butterfly attraction: The flowers of the Orchid Cactus can attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, beneficial for garden biodiversity.
    • Green roofs: In suitable climates, the Orchid Cactus can be used in green roofing projects to add color and diversity.
    • Floral arrangements: Although not commonly used for cut flowers, the long-lasting blooms of the Orchid Cactus can be included in tropical themed floral arrangements.
    • Color dye source: Historically, some cactus species have been used to extract natural dyes, though this is not a common use for the Orchid Cactus specifically, it is a potential for exploration.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Red Orchid Cactus is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Red Orchid Cactus is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Exotic Beauty: As a tropical cactus with vibrant red flowers, Disocactus ackermannii, commonly known as Red Orchid Cactus, is often associated with unique and striking beauty.
    • Resilience: Being a cactus, it symbolizes the ability to withstand harsh conditions and thrive in challenging environments.
    • Adaptability: The Red Orchid Cactus can adapt to various growing conditions, which can be seen as a metaphor for flexibility and the ability to adjust to life's changes.

Every 7 to 10 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2 to 3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Red Orchid Cactus prefers regular watering during its active growth period in the spring and summer, which is usually about once per week. Water the plant thoroughly, allowing water to run through the drainage holes, and then wait until the top inch of soil dries out before watering again. In winter, reduce frequency to once every three to four weeks. It is crucial not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. An average-sized plant might require approximately 8-16 ounces of water at each watering during the active growth phase, depending on the size of the pot and the plant's environment.

  • sunLight

    The Red Orchid Cactus thrives in bright, indirect light. It should be placed in a spot where it can receive morning sunlight and partial shade in the afternoon, as direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day can cause sunburn to the leaves. An east-facing window or a shaded south-facing window is often ideal for this epiphytic cactus.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Red Orchid Cactus does best in temperatures between 60°F and 80°F. It can tolerate a minimum temperature of around 50°F, but temperatures below this can cause damage to the plant. On the other hand, temperatures regularly exceeding 90°F may stress the plant. Maintaining the ideal temperature range ensures healthy growth and blooms.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Red Orchid Cactus is important for shaping the plant, encouraging more branches, and promoting better flowering. Prune after flowering by cutting back the stems to the desired length. This is typically done in the late winter or early spring before the new growth starts. Pruning once a year is usually sufficient.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Orchid Cactus (Disocactus ackermannii) thrives best in a well-draining soil mix composed of two parts potting soil, one part perlite, and one part orchid bark, which facilitates drainage and air circulation. The soil pH should be mildly acidic to neutral, around 5.5 to 7.0, to support healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Orchid Cacti should be repotted every two to three years or when they've outgrown their current container. It's best to repot in the spring or early summer to minimize stress on the plant.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Orchid Cactus prefers high humidity levels, typically around 50-70%. To maintain optimal humidity, you can place the plant on a pebble tray with water or use a humidifier if needed.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright indirect light, ensure high humidity, and use a well-draining soil mix.

    • Outdoor

      Grow in partial shade, protect from frost, and ensure soil has good drainage.

    • Hardiness zone

      10-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Disocactus ackermannii, commonly known as Orchid Cactus, begins its life cycle when a seed germinates in a moist, warm environment with indirect light. As it grows, it develops into a small seedling with embryonic leaves, which eventually transition into the characteristic flat, leaf-like stems, known as cladodes. These stems carry out photosynthesis and are the main site of growth for the mature plant. The Orchid Cactus typically enters a growth period where it will produce long, trailing stems that may reach lengths of over a meter, and during the appropriate season, it blooms with large, vibrant, and colorful flowers. After pollination, which is often aided by insects or birds, the plant sets fruit that contains seeds, completing the reproductive cycle. As a perennial, the Orchid Cactus can live and continue this cycle annually for many years if provided with proper care.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating the Orchid Cactus (Disocactus ackermannii) is through stem cuttings. The ideal time to take cuttings for propagation is during late spring or early summer, when the plant is actively growing. To do this, a healthy stem segment is cut, usually about 4 to 6 inches (approximately 10 to 15 centimeters) long, using a clean, sharp knife or scissors. The cut end should be allowed to callus over for a few days to a week in a warm, dry place, which helps prevent rot when planted. Once callused, the cutting can be inserted into a well-draining soil mix, keeping the soil moist but not saturated to encourage root development. In optimal conditions, the cutting should begin to root within a few weeks, after which it can start to grow as a new, independent plant.