This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
We find Epiphyllums very useful, there being so many varieties, several of which flower much earlier than others. When grown on stems about 18 inches high in 6-inch pots, nothing looks handsomer when placed in a nice vase as a single plant for dinner-table decoration. We also find that grown on the Pereskia stock they stand cool treatment better than on the grandiflora; the latter will make large plants more quickly, but they require stove temperature to keep them in good health. When done blooming, have the required number of pots, if not new, washed clean, and well and carefully drained to one-fourth their depth, sprinkling a little moss over the crocks to keep the soil from getting amongst them and stopping the free passage of the water. Although they delight in plenty of water when growing, if the soil gets soured by its not passing freely through, they soon begin to show signs of it by a yellow sickly appearance. The soil we find them do well in is a mixture of good fibry loam, a little peat with a good quantity of cow-dung which has been laid up for some time, adding a little sand and charcoal the size of beans.
Those plants that require a larger pot get one a size larger than the one they came out of; but if not very well rooted, a little of the soil round the outside of the ball is carefully taken away, and they put into the same size again. When all are shifted, look to the staking of each, as the heads, being so heavy, if not properly fastened, are apt to break off at the top of the pot. Then place them in a temperature of 65° by night, where they can have a slight shade from the mid-day sun for a short time. If the soil is at all moist when potting, give little water till the plants show signs of growth, when they should be regularly attended to with plenty of water. From potting up to this time, and all through the growing season, let them have at least one good syringing once a-day. This treatment should be continued up till about the middle of September, when we gradually give less water, and reduce the heat until we place them in a house where the glass falls no lower that 40° at night. From this house a few are taken at intervals into the forcing-house, where they soon show their flowers.
The following twelve are effective varieties: - magnifi-cum, purpureum, tricolor, Russelianum, rubrum, superbum, violaceum, Bridgesii, salmoneum, elegans, spectabile, amabile.