Discover the wonders of the Lepismium cruciforme, also known as the Hurricane Cactus, in this comprehensive care guide. Learn about its unique appearance, ideal growing conditions, propagation methods, and common issues. With proper care, your Hurricane Cactus can thrive and bring tropical beauty to your indoor garden.


Are you looking for a unique and visually appealing house plant? Look no further than the Lepismium cruciforme, commonly known as the Hurricane Cactus. This epiphytic cactus is a fascinating addition to any indoor garden. In this article, we will explore the characteristics, care instructions, propagation methods, common issues, and more related to the Lepismium cruciforme. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of this captivating house plant.

Characteristics of Lepismium cruciforme

The Lepismium cruciforme, also known as the Hurricane Cactus, is a native to the tropical and subtropical rainforests of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Unlike most cacti, it is not a desert succulent but an epiphytic cactus. This means that it grows naturally on trees or rocks rather than in the ground.


The Hurricane Cactus has long, thick, fleshy stems that are covered in small whitish thorns, giving it a unique and intriguing look. The stems are green, but they can develop a reddish tinge when exposed to full sun. Nodules on the stems produce downward-growing leaves, and the plant blooms small flowers that can vary in color from white to cream, yellow, pink, or deep purple.

Growth Habit and Size

Lepismium cruciforme is a much-branched cactus with long segmented stems that have scalloped edges. The stems can be flat or angled and reach up to 20 inches long and 0.8 inches wide. The plant starts with upright and thin growth, eventually draping over as it matures. Most stems of Lepismium cruciforme have three ridges, giving them a triangular shape, but flat stems can also occur.

Growing Conditions

To keep your Lepismium cruciforme healthy and thriving, you need to provide it with specific growing conditions. Here are some essential factors to consider:

Light Requirements

The Hurricane Cactus prefers bright and sunny environments but cannot tolerate intense direct sunlight. Placing it less than one foot from a south-facing window allows it to maximize its growth potential. However, it is crucial to avoid direct sunlight exposure, especially during the afternoon, as it can burn the leaves and stunt growth. Morning sun and full shade in the afternoon are recommended.

Temperature and Humidity

Lepismium cruciforme thrives in warm rooms with natural light. The ideal temperature range for growth is 60°F-75°F during the growing period and 60°F-65°F during the dormant period. The plant prefers a humid, warm, tropical climate and should not be exposed to temperatures below 40°F. If grown indoors, ensure that the humidity levels are adequate, especially during the winter months when indoor air tends to be dry.


Proper watering is crucial for the health of your Hurricane Cactus. Like most cacti, Lepismium cruciforme does not like to be overwatered. It is best to water the plant thoroughly when the top one-third of the soil has dried out. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems, so it is essential to allow the soil to dry between waterings. During the dormant winter months, the plant requires less water.

Soil and Potting

The Lepismium cruciforme prefers well-drained soil. A recommended soil mix for this cactus includes a combination of cactus potting soil and mineral grit or bark chips. This mixture helps prevent waterlogging and allows excess water to drain away, reducing the risk of root rot. When repotting, choose a pot that is one size larger than the current one, provide proper soil mix, and handle the plant with care to avoid damaging the root system.


To promote healthy growth, you can use a balanced houseplant fertilizer for your Lepismium cruciforme. During the growing season, a weekly dose of fertilizer is recommended. However, during the dormant period, reduce the frequency to once a month. Following a regular fertilization schedule will provide the necessary nutrients for your plant’s optimal growth and overall well-being.

Propagation of Lepismium cruciforme

Propagation of Lepismium cruciforme can be achieved through stem cuttings or leaves. However, propagating from seeds is a lengthy and challenging process. When propagating from stem cuttings, select a healthy stem and allow it to callus for a few days. Plant the cutting in well-draining cactus soil and keep the soil lightly moist until roots develop. Once roots are established, treat the propagated plant similarly to a mature Lepismium cruciforme.

Common Issues and Solutions

Like any house plant, the Lepismium cruciforme is not immune to certain issues. Here are a couple of problems you may encounter and their respective solutions:

Overwatering and Root Rot

Overwatering is one of the most common problems faced by Lepismium cruciforme growers. To prevent root rot, be mindful of the watering frequency and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Ensure that your plant’s pot has proper drainage to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom.


Mealybugs can infest the Lepismium cruciforme plant and cause damage to the leaves. If you notice any signs of mealybugs, such as white, cotton-like substances on the plant, take immediate action to control the infestation. Quarantine the affected plant if necessary, and clean or treat it with soapy water or an appropriate insecticide.

It’s essential to regularly check your Lepismium cruciforme for signs of pests or health problems. Providing proper ventilation and practicing good hygiene and cleanliness in your plant care routine can go a long way in preventing serious issues.


Lepismium cruciforme, or the Hurricane Cactus, is an intriguing and visually stunning house plant that can bring charm and beauty to any indoor garden. Its unique appearance, growth habits, and care requirements make it a desirable addition for plant enthusiasts looking for something different. By providing proper lighting, watering, temperature, humidity, and soil conditions, you can ensure the optimal growth and health of your Lepismium cruciforme. Keep an eye out for common issues such as overwatering and mealybug infestations. With proper care and attention, your Hurricane Cactus can thrive and flourish, adding a touch of tropical beauty to your home.


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