Epiphytic Plants (10 Plants That Climb Up Other Plants!)


Epiphytic plants climb up other plants or tree as they grow.  Some of these plants can even survive and thrive in dry or shady conditions.

So, what are some epiphytic plants?  Epiphytic plants include: Air Plant, Arrowhead Plant, Christmas Cactus, Monstera, Moth Orchid, Pothos, Queen Of The Night, Queen’s Tears, Urn Plant, and Wax Plant.  Some of these plants have attractive foliage or flowers to add style to your garden.

Of course, some of these plants like full sun, while others can tolerate at least some shade.

In this article, we’ll talk about 10 epiphytic plants.  We’ll also take a look at what to provide for each one as far as light, water, and other important growth factors.

Let’s begin.

10 Epiphytic Plants

There are plenty of epiphytic plants out there, but here is a list of 10 to start with:

  • Air Plant
  • Arrowhead Plant
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Monstera
  • Moth Orchid
  • Pothos
  • Queen Of The Night
  • Queen’s Tears
  • Urn Plant
  • Wax Plant

Let’s start off with Air Plant.

Air Plant

Air Plant (Tillandsia ionantha) is an epiphytic perennial evergreen plant that produces showy, tiny (less than 1 inch) blue and purple flowers.  It is native to Central America and Mexico.

Air Plant
Air Plant is an epiphytic evergreen native to Central America.

Air Plant needs moderate moisture levels and tolerates humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Air Plant likes full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers acidic soil (pH of 5.5 to 6.0), although it can survive without soil by growing on other plants!

Air Plant cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10a (as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit or –1 degree Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 3 to 4 inches, with a width of 3 to 4 inches.

You can propagate Air Plant by offsets.

You can learn more about Air Plant from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Air Plant from Air Plant Shop.

Arrowhead Plant

Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum) is an epiphytic perennial evergreen plant that produces green or white flowers, possibly year round.  It is native to Latin America.

Arrowhead Plant
Arrowhead Plant is an epiphytic evergreen native to Latin America.

Arrowhead Plant needs moderate moisture levels and tolerates humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Arrowhead Plant likes partial or full shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.6 to 7.5).

Arrowhead Plant cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10a (as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit or –1 degree Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 to 12 inches, with a width of 18 to 24 inches.

You can propagate Arrowhead Plant by layering, division, or stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Arrowhead Plant from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Arrowhead Plant from Tennessee Wholesale Nursery.

Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) is an epiphytic perennial succulent shrub that produces showy flowers in various colors (red, orange, yellow, pink, white, or bicolor) in fall.  It is native to southeastern Brazil.

Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus is an epiphytic succulent shrub native to Brazil.

Christmas Cactus needs moderate moisture levels and tolerates both poor soil and humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Christmas Cactus likes partial shade.  It prefers acidic soil (pH of 5.5 to 6.2).

Christmas Cactus cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10a (as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit or –1 degree Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 to 12 inches, with a width of 12 to 24 inches.

You can propagate Christmas Cactus by layering or stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Christmas Cactus from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Christmas Cactus from Succulents Box.

Monstera

Monstera or Swiss Cheese Plant or Split-Leaf Philodendron (Monstera deliciosa) is an epiphytic perennial evergreen plant that produces showy white flowers.  It is native to tropical forests of Central and South America.

Monstera leaves
Monstera is an epiphytic evergreen with large leaves that have holes. It also produces showy white flowers.

Monstera needs moderate moisture levels and tolerates humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Monstera likes partial or full shade.  It prefers acidic to neutral soil (pH of 5.5 to 7.0).

Monstera cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10a (as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit or –1 degree Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 75 feet or higher in nature!

You can propagate Monstera by stem cuttings or air layering.

You can learn more about Monstera from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Monstera from Bloomscape.

You can also learn more about Monstera in my article here, and Monstera Thai Constellation (which has interesting leaf coloring) in my article here.

Moth Orchid

Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis) is an epiphytic perennial plant that produces showy flowers in various colors, including white, red, purple, pink, yellow, and bicolor, possibly year round.  It is native to India, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and Australia.

Moth Orchid
Moth Orchid is an epiphytic plant that produces flowers in various colors, including white.

Moth Orchid needs moderate moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Moth Orchid likes partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.6 to 7.3).

Moth Orchid cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10b (as cold as 35 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches.

You can propagate Moth Orchid by division.

You can learn more about Moth Orchid from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Moth Orchid from White Flower Farm.

Pothos

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is an epiphytic perennial evergreen vine.  It is native to the Society Islands of French Polynesia.

Pothos
Pothos is an epiphytic evergreen vine that can grow quite tall.

Pothos needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Pothos likes partial or full shade.  It prefers slightly acidic soil (pH of 6.1 to 6.5).

Pothos cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9b (as cold as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or -4 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 feet indoors, and possibly more outdoors.

You can propagate Pothos by stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Pothos from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Pothos from Woodie’s Garden Goods.

Queen Of The Night

Queen Of The Night (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) is an epiphytic perennial evergreen succulent that produces 4 to 5 inch white flowers from late spring to summer.  However, it only blooms only during the night!

Queen of the Night white flower
Queen of the Night is a fascinating epiphytic evergreen succulent with dazzling white flowers that only bloom at night.
Image courtesy of user:
Adriano Makoto Suzuki via:
Wikimedia Commons:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:
Flower_Queen_Of_The_Night_
%22Epiphyllum_Oxypetalum%22.jpg

Queen Of The Night needs moderate moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Queen Of The Night likes partial shade and tolerates humidity.  It prefers acidic soil (pH of 5.1 to 6.5).

Queen Of The Night prefers warm temperatures.  As an outdoor plant it is hardy to Zone 10b (temperatures as cold as 35 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 to 20 feet in nature! (A smaller container will limit its growth).

You can propagate Queen Of The Night by stem cuttings.

Check out my article on Queen of the Night here.

You can learn more about Queen Of The Night from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Queen Of The Nights from Logee’s Plants.

Queen’s Tears

Queen’s Tears (Billbergia nutans) is an epiphytic perennial evergreen plant that produces showy pink flowers in winter.  It is native to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Queen's Tears
Queen’s Tears is an epiphytic evergreen that produces showy pink flowers.

Queen’s Tears needs moderate to dry moisture levels, but it tolerates humidity.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Queen’s Tears likes full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 5.6 to 7.5).

Queen’s Tears cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10a (as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit or -1 degree Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches, with a width of 9 to 12 inches.

You can propagate Queen’s Tears by rhizome division, tubers, bulbs, or offsets.

You can learn more about Queen’s Tears from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Queen’s Tears from Almost Eden Plants.

Urn Plant

Urn Plant (Aechmea fasciata) is an epiphytic perennial evergreen plant that produces showy tiny (less than 1 inch) pink flowers in spring, summer, or early fall.  It is native to Brazil.

Urn Plant
Urn Plant is an epiphytic evergreen that is native to Brazil and produces tiny showy pink flowers.

Urn Plant needs moderate moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Urn Plant likes full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.8).

Urn Plant cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10a (as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit or -1 degree Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches, with a width of 18 to 24 inches.

You can propagate Urn Plant by offsets.

You can learn more about Urn Plant from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Urn Plant from Bromeliad Paradise.

Wax Plant

Wax Plant (Hoya carnosa) is an epiphytic perennial evergreen succulent vine that produces showy, fragrant, tiny (less than 1 inch) white or pale pink flowers in late spring, summer, and possibly other times of year.  It is native to eastern Asia and Australia.

Wax Plant
Wax Plant is an epiphytic evergreen succulent with tiny white or pale pink flowers.

Wax Plant needs moderate moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Wax Plant likes full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.5).

Wax Plant cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 10a (as cold as 30 degrees Fahrenheit or -1 degree Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 to 15 feet.

You can propagate Wax Plant by leaf cuttings, stem cuttings, or division by rhizomes, tubers, corms, or bulbs.

You can learn more about Wax Plant from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Wax Plant from Pistils Nursery.

Conclusion

Now you know about 10 epiphytic plants and how to take care of them.  They might also provide inspiration to help you to fill in the landscape for your indoor or outdoor garden.

You might also want to learn about Philodendron White Knight (another epiphytic vine) in my article here.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!

~Jonathon

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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