Hi folks,

I got this guy a couple of years ago but just thought to check it’s species now. I’m pretty sure it’s the monstrose variety of O. subulata, though mine’s a lot more gangly than most images I’ve seen.

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I live in Calgary, Canada, so this is a houseplant. We have long, miserable, dark winters, so this thing’s stalks grow in alternating thick and thin segments in tune with the sun’s position in the sky (the sun’s only up for about 7 hours on dec. 21, and very low in the sky). I’ve got it in a sun room with floor to ceiling east, south, and west windows, so it gets as much light as a plant can get in Canada without being outside or in a greenhouse, but I find it still gets gangly and topples over. I’m wondering if there’s anything I can do to encourage it to “wood up”, or if I’m better off just pruning the stalks that get so long they fall over.

Also, would you recommend allowing this to spend the summer outside? We’ve got about 3 months of guaranteed safe night time temps, but when I try doing that with my epiphyllums, it seems like our summer is just long enough to trigger much more robust growth than I can achieve inside, but not long enough for any new branches to fully mature. I usually find that anything that grows outside on those guys falls apart inside, melting completely by mid January. Not sure if I’d see something similar here.

Anyway thanks in advance, you’ve got a great and very useful blog!

Adam

Adam,

Two things you can do to keep your O. subulata monstrose’s growth more regular.

1. Repot into a bigger pot.

2. Reduce water to every 6 weeks when there is less direct sun.

These are hardier than the Epi’s and can take colder night-time temps by about 10 degrees F., so you might be able to have it outside for 4-5 months or so. And then when you bring it back inside reduce watering a lot.

Peter