The Rhipsalis belongs to the plant family Cactaceae and is pretty much a kind of Cactus. Native to the American country, Rhipsalis is a major plant species on its own, containing more than 39 epiphytes as their subspecies.
The Rhipsalis primarily grows as an epiphyte, off the barks of other trees. Some species are perfectly able to grow on rocks and even directly on the ground.
Fun fact! The word ‘Rhipsalis’ is derived from a Greek word that means ‘wickerwork’. This is a perfect term for the plant as it refers to the shape of the plant.
The Rhipsalis is one popular kind of plant. It is mostly grown in different households to admire the tiny numerous flowers that the plant produces. However, it is important to remember that not all the Rhipsalis plants produce flowers, only some of them do. These plants, the ones that bloom, also produce berries after flowering.
The Rhipsalis plant can produce blooms only when it is met with proper care. The proper Rhipsalis care involves placing it in a spot that receives an ample amount of sunlight throughout the day. Ensure that the bright sunlight does not fall directly on the plant but is filtered, conveniently through a curtain. A Rhipsalis plant thrives best in a temperature range of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and when placed in a clay pot, as it gives the soil enough aeration facilities.
Rhipsalis Varieties / Rhipsalis Types
As mentioned earlier, the Rhipsalis has several varieties as their subspecies. Most of the Rhipsalis varieties are also listed in the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species. Out of these threatened species, three species of the Rhipsalis plant are known to be critically endangered.
Some of the most popular Rhipsalis varieties are listed below.
- Rhipsalis Red Coral/ Red Rhipsalis
The RhipsalisBaccifera is more popularly known as the Mistletoe Cactus. Undoubtedly, the RhipsalisBaccifera is one of the most popular kinds of cacti out there.
Native to coastal regions and tropical and subtropical rainforests, the Mistletoe Cactus is known for producing beautiful blooms. It is also one of the Rhipsalis varieties that produce tiny berries after the blooms fade away. What’s better, you ask? These fruits are edible and are also great in taste.
The Mistletoe Cactus and even general Rhipsalis, for instance, are different from the usual Cactus as it does not prefer to grow in dry and harsh sunlight. It is also the only member of the Rhipsalis genus that can be found growing in the African region.
The RhipsalisBaccifera prefers to grow in a warm, slightly humid condition and can thrive even in a low light setting. The plant thrives best when placed in a spot that receives lots of bright sunlight. However, make sure that this sunlight is filtered before it reaches the plant. This can be easily ensured by placing a curtain on the window that you place your Mistletoe Cactus by. Some morning sunlight is the most ideal for the plant.
As for the potting soil, you can easily use any store-made Cactus potting mix for your RhipsalisBaccifera plant. You can also use any other good quality potting soil. Just make sure that the potting mix is blended even with some amount of sand. The sand is very essential while planting a Mistletoe Cactus.
The Rhipsalis needs to be watered just the perfect amount; there should be no question of the plant being over-watered or even under-watered. Water the plant enough so that the soil remains moist. Do not let it turn soggy by pouring heaps and heaps of water on the plant. To find out an ideal time of watering, keep an eye out to determine whether the top layer of the soil is drying out. If it is, you can water the plant.
The RhipsalisBaccifera is one plant that does not favour extreme temperature levels. It can thrive well in the temperature range of over 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant does not like the winters at all, it is not at all tolerant of the frosts. Thus, it is advisable to use a humidifier during the winter season.
The Mistletoe cactus is known to produce tiny white blooms that add to the beauty of this plant. The RhipsalisBaccifera flowers are tiny in size and bloom in numerous proportions. This makes the RhipsalisBaccifera a rather popular plant to have indoors.
An important step in ensuring that your RhipsalisBaccifera flowers are to ensure that the plant is taken well care of. Make sure that you meet all the RhipsalisBaccifera care requirements. This care involves ensuring that the plant is placed in bright light. Yes, it does tolerate low light pretty well, but the low-light conditions do not let the plant produce blooms.
Different ways can help one efficiently carry out RhipsalisBaccifera propagation. However, one of the easiest ways to propagate a RhipsalisBaccifera is through the process of division.
The division is a process of propagating plants wherein a piece of the plant is cut off to grow separately, as another individual plant. It is a simple process.
- Just cut off some healthy stems from your main plant, around 6 to 8 inches of it, using a sterilized knife of course.
- Let the stems rest for days, allowing the sap on the cut side to heal.
- Prepare a planter with some good quality and well-draining potting soil and plant your cuttings in a cluster, in the centre of the planter.
- Place the planter at a spot that receives bright sunlight and maintains a temperature around 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cover the cuttings with a transparent bag to hold the moisture in place. This helps to make sure that the soil remains moist, and doesn’t turn soggy. Remove this bag for a few minutes every day to allow the plant some ventilation. In around 3 to 4 weeks, the cutting will be developed enough, having established roots in the soil, and you will be free to do away with the transparent bag altogether.
This process of propagation is best done during the spring or the summer season as these are the growing season of the Rhipsalis plant. You can also propagate RhipsalisBaccifera using flower seeds, but it takes a lot of effort and patience. The division is thus a much better option for propagating RhipsalisBaccifera.
Better known as the Coral Cactus or the Rice Cactus, the RhipsalisCereuscula is one of the most common Rhipsalis varieties and a popular indoor plant. The plant is more on the bushy side and can grow up to a height of 60 centimetres. The RhipsalisCereuscula plant produces several tiny creamy white flowers.
The RhipsalisCereuscula grows best when placed in bright and even partial sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight for the plant as it can burn away the leaves of the plant, causing some serious damage.
The plant needs to be watered as per its succulent needs. Just water as and when the top layer of the soil starts drying out, and the plant will keep doing well. It needs to be planted in regions above 30 degrees Fahrenheit as the plant is not at all winter tolerant. Thus, the plant is best grown in an indoor setting that maintains a warm temperature, at least above 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
The RhipsalisClavata is another Rhipsalis variety that blooms. The plant produces several beautiful flowers, all tiny and shaped like bells. The beautiful RhipsalisClavata can often be spotted in different households as beautiful hanging plants that bloom all season long.
The plant is marked by its narrow pale green stems that can grow up to 2.1 metres long. To ensure the healthy growth of the plant, make sure that you keep it away from direct sunlight. However, they do need bright sunlight, so make sure that you use a filter before you allow the plant to soak in the bright sunlight. Make sure that the plant is at least 50 centimetres away from a window that allows exposure to the afternoon sun, as it is the most harmful for the plant.
You must water the RhipsalisClavata regularly. Water the plant when the top layer of the soil seems to turn dry, so keep an eye out for that. Also, make sure that you do not end up over-watering the plant as it can lead to root rot and weakening of the stems.
Another flowering plant among the Rhipsalis varieties, the RhipsalisEwaldiana is an epiphyte that can grow as long as 2 feet. The stems of the RhipsalisEwaldiana are 3-sided and sport a yellow-green colour as they start growing. These stems later take on a deep green colour as they mature.
The RhipsalisEwaldiana produces beautiful tiny white flowers that last all day from spring to fall. However, make sure that you take care of the plant to be able to admire the beautiful blooms. Make sure that direct sunlight does not fall on the plant, as it can burn away the leaves of the RhipsalisEwaldiana. Water the plant regularly, do not over-water or under-water the plant as these might lead to serious complications.
The RhipsalisGoebeliana is an evergreen epiphyte. The plant produces white flowers that are rather tiny, just around a centimetre in diameter. It is a very common and popular plant to have indoors and thus, is found in many households and office settings.
The RhipsalisGoebeliana does best when placed in a room that maintains a temperature that is more than at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It requires some partial sunlight to grow in and can thrive quite well in low light settings. The plant needs to be watered regularly in the growing season and needs to be kept a little drying during the winters.
The RhipsalisMicrantha is one of the more exquisite or unique Rhipsalis varieties. It is quite a rare terrestrial epiphyte that is just found in some regions of Ecuador. The plant also produces several tiny blooms on the stems that can grow up to 3 inches long.
The RhipsalisMicrantha prefers some bright yet indirect sunlight to grow. The plant needs to be planted in some good quality well-draining soil. This planting soil needs to be kept moist at all times, and should never be allowed to shift to a soggy consistency. Do not over-water so much that the roots remain drenched in water as this can lead to root rot.
An important care tip for the RhipsalisMicrantha is that it should never be fertilized in its first year of growth. The plant needs feeding only when the soil turns barren of all its nutrients. After the waiting period of 12 months, fertilize the plant once a month, just during the spring and summer seasons.
Rhipsalis Dropping Segments
It can be a cause of concern if the Rhipsalis plant starts dropping leaves. The dropping leaves of the Rhipsalis plant indicate that the plant is being over-watered.
When this starts happening, make some changes in the watering schedule. Water the plant only when the top layer of the soil starts to dry out. Do not water the plant if the soil is still moist, or even damp. Water it only when the soil starts turning dry.
Also, see to it that water does not accumulate on the top of the planter above the soil layer. If this happens, the potting mix isn’t suitable to be planting Rhipsalis.
The Rhipsalis is known to be a non-toxic plant. It is not toxic for human beings, and neither for animals such as cats, dogs, horses, etc. But it cannot be said for all the Rhipsalis varieties.
In some cases, pets might suffer from mild reactions to consuming Rhipsalis. Thus, the Rhipsalis plant should be better not ingested.
Here we have answered some FAQS to help you know more about the Rhipsalis plant.
How do you take care of Rhipsalis?
To take care of a Rhipsalis plant, make sure that you plant it in some good quality potting soil, with some amount of sand in it. Place it in some bright indirect sunlight and water it regularly. Also, make sure that the plant is kept away from frost.
How often should I water my Rhipsalis?
The Rhipsalis should be watered just enough, avoiding both over-watering and under-watering. To do this best, it is advisable to water the plant only as and when the top layer of the soil starts to dry out.
Is Rhipsalis an indoor or outdoor plant?
The Rhipsalis is a versatile plant. It can do very well in outdoor settings, provided that it is similar to the plant/s natural habitat. They also adapt well to indoor settings as the conditions seem much more favourable, especially during winters.
Does Rhipsalis need full sun?
The Rhipsalis is a plant that can do well in both bright sunlight and partial shade. For best results, and blooms, it is advisable to place the plant in bright yet indirect sunlight.