12 pretty plants that grow as an epiphyte
With so many plants in the plant realm, we have to highlight some to make sure that you know how beautiful some of these species are! Epiphytes are pretty special with their ability to grow on top of another plant and some plants might be epiphytic that you would not have expected it from. So if you are ready to see some stunners of epiphytes, then let's get into it!
Monstera Deliciosa Variegata
The Monstera Deliciosa Variegata is a gorgeous plant species with large fenestrated leaves and this rare variant has a stunning variegated print on top. These plants grow in trees naturally, where they can climb high in trees with their aerial roots. These plants can be holo epiphytic, but very rarely can live as hemi epiphytes.
Lipstick plant (Aeschynanthus Marmoratus)
This beauty has green foliage with flowers that look quite a bit like lipstick. That is also where her common name ‘Lipstick Plant’ comes from. Not weird that the plant lovers have thought of something that is easier to pronounce than her Latin name. This epiphyte grows very well inside sphagnum moss and is pretty easygoing!
This plant family has species that stay rather small and have the cutest foliage. This is the Dischidia Ovata and she is especially adorable due to her watermelon-like leaves. She will grow long trailing vines covered with these leaves. You can either grow her on wood covered in sphagnum moss or make a special potting mix to meet her needs.
As the Hoya family has so many stunners to choose from, we have decided to give the Hoya Carnosa the spotlight in this pretty epiphyte list. Her combinations of colours are quite eye-catching! This succulent plant will grow perfectly on bark or moss.
Fishbone Cactus (Epiphyllum Anguliger)
This pretty plant grows its foliage straight out of the pot. The Fishbone cactus is easily recognized due to the gorgeous but maybe a bit quirky shape the foliage grows in. This plant is a cactus, which makes it pretty low maintenance. It will grow best inside peat moss, sphagnum moss or coconut coir. Psst, this cactus doesn't need lots of water but doesn't like fully dry roots either. ;)
Staghorn Fern (Platycerium Bifurcatum)
Even though this plant species is the most common in its family, it doesn’t make it any less special. The Platycerium Bifurcatum, otherwise known as Staghorn Fern, has no visible roots. That is why you will have to wrap a substrate around the plant to make it happy. This plant can be displayed in all kinds of ways, on a piece of wood covered with sphagnum or make your own fun little project out of it!
Photos by @takako_in_pajamas
Blue Star Fern (Phlebodium Davana)
This beauty has a very special colour, a matt bluish green colour. The leaves are almost shaped like fingers, but plant lovers had decided to name it the Blue Star Fern, but her Latin name is Phlebodium Davana. This plant can be hard to please when it is grown in soil, to make it the happiest Blue Star Fern it can be you can place it inside a moss substrate. This will make your life as a PLNTSparents also a lot easier!
Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus Lyrata)
You might not have expected to find the Fiddle Leaf Fig between our epiphyte stunners, but indeed she is an epiphyte, an hemi epiphyte to be exact. The Ficus Lyrata has earned the name ‘strangler fig’, as it wraps its roots around its hosts. The Fiddle Leaf Fig will smother the host and eventually grow enough to ground its roots into the soil. It will live the rest of its life as a terrestrial plant. Pretty fascinating, right?!
This little cutie is known to be super easygoing! The Peperomia Pepperspot is a true holo epiphyte and would love to grow inside the moss. Maybe a cute moss ball, or anchored to whatever you prefer.
Yes, also the Anthurium family has many species that grow as epiphytes. The Anthurium Veitchii has glossy ribbed foliage, with leaves that can become huge in size. It is a holo epiphyte, so you will be very happy with our epiphyte potting mix with the ratios from the care guide, woohoo!
Philodendron Florida Beauty
Yes, also this unicorn plant belongs to the epiphytes! The Philodendron Florida Beauty is a hemi-epiphyte to be exact. Even Though it may be established in a soil mix, it would love to have some support throughout its whole life. Think of any growing tool, this will make a perfectly happy and healthy plant out of it!
To close off this list is another special type of epiphyte, the Tillandsia Usneoides. Tillandsia can be xeric, which is the type that grows in dry climates. Or they can be Mesic, which is the type that grows in humid climates. The xeric type has silvery foliage and trichomes (those little hairs) that help the plant catch water. The Tillandsia can be grown in all kinds of ornamental ways, inside shells, macrame hangers or whatever your mind can think of the options are endless!
So many pretty epiphytes, which one was your favourite? Maybe you are newly inspired and have added more plants to your wishlist! Our list keeps on growing pretty much every day. If you have epiphytes to share with us, you can tag us in your Instagram post and add the hashtag #PLNTS, then we can see your green stunners over there. If you would like to know more information about epiphytes, you might be interested in our other blog, What is an epiphyte and which epiphyte plants are the prettiest?
Carlijn is probably one of the biggest plant geeks ever. She is always on the lookout for new gems and loves to share all her plant knowledge, tips and inspiration with our community!