Lepismium floribundum

‘Floribundum’ means ‘with lots of flowers’, and this plant certainly lives up to the name. Even better, in this species the flowers can appear on different branches, at just about any time of the year. And in case all that was not enough, they are fragrant too.

17 01 Fig1 Lfloribundum

Fig. 1 Lepisium floribundum

Lepismium floribundum is a fairly recent discovery, and still very uncommon in cultivation. It is clearly related to the better known L. cruciforme. But in addition to the above features, L. floribundum tends to be a larger plant too. The stems are dark green, three-angled or flat, and 4–5cm wide. They start by arching from the roots but later become more or less pendent. Unlike some other epiphytic cacti, the stems do not seem to have any defined maximum size; but in practice they often stop at irregular intervals, with other new shoots then branching out and continuing the growth of the plant. Overall, the plant will reach several metres in length in cultivation, though it can easily be pruned to keep it more compact.

17 01 Fig2 Lfloribundumflowers

Fig. 2 Lepismium floribundum in flower

The flowers are pink, and 20–24mm across – again, larger and more showy than those on L. cruciforme.

The plant is easily grown in any open, organic based compost. To maintain vigorous growth it appreciates regular watering, with the addition of a (dilute) chemical fertiliser. The plant is tolerant of cold – down to at least zero Celsius – and can continue to flower, even at low temperatures, during the winter.

The plant comes from south Brazil. There seems only to be one clone of this plant in cultivation, but it is easily propagated from stem cuttings. These should be kept humid until the plants are well rooted.

Mark Preston

No part of this article or the accompanying pictures may be reproduced without permission. Copyright BCSS & the Author 2017.

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