Some of the largest and most beautiful flowers of allare produced on this jungle . In a desert, the plants are adapted to store water with their spherical shapes, but in the dark jungles, light is far more important. The plants’ stems have become broad, flat, leaf-like organs to collect the light, as moisture is normally abundant. The new growths are quite susceptible to drought until they harden and produce their toughened waxy stems. A look along the edge of the flattened stems will show little notches containing the areole, and it is from these that the flowers are produced. Normally, growth is produced in the early part of the year, ripening in Summer and producing the following year’s flowers.
Provided Disocactus nelsonii is kept above 13°C (55°F) and in a bright situation, it is very free-flowering, producing bright funnel-shaped flowers. If the flowers are pollinated, the plant will set many small, red, grape-sized fruits.
This cactus needs to be kept at a minimum temperature of 13°C (55°F) in Winter. During the Summer months, it prefers an will grow quite happily in a North-facing window.
Water well during the Summer, allowing theto dry between waterings. During the Autumn and Winter, keep the plant fairly dry, giving water only occasionally to prevent shrivelling. This cactus will soon rot if kept wet at low temperatures. If kept warm in the Winter, it may need a little extra water.
This plant prefers a more humid environment than most cacti.
Feed this cactus regularly every 1-2 weeks during the Spring and Summer with a cactus food, or one recommended for tomatoes at about half strength.
Disocactus nelsonii will do best if grown in a well-drained compost containing about one third horticultural grit. Repot the plant at least every two years.
Most of the jungle cacti are epiphytic and grow on trees in the wild, lodging in the crooks of branches, etc. As the plant gets older and the stems grow, they tend to root down where they touch other branches or other surfaces. As time progresses, most of them tend to ‘creep’, that is while they are growing at one end they will gradually die at the other, utilizing the new roots made further up the plant.
Because of this, it is best to start most plants again fromabout every five years. Cut off about five healthy, matured stems and dry them for about a week. Fill a 13cm (5in) pot with a very gritty compost and insert all five cuttings to a depth of 5-8cm (2-3in). Keep just damp in a warm spot and they should root in 4-6 weeks. By growing several cuttings together in one pot, you will have a new reasonable-sized plant within a year.
Pests: Although this plant is not particularly prone to diseases or pests, Greenfly may attack the buds; either spray with soapy water or treat with a suitable insecticide.