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Indoor Plant | Mistletoe Cactus

CandideZA
Published on March 13th 2020
18
A vase of flowers on a plant
Next up on your must-have plant list, should be the Mistletoe Cactus. This guy comes with personality, speed, looks and the bonus of being maintenance-free!

Overview

Latin name | Rhipsalis spp.
The Latin name Rhipsalis is derived from the Greek word "wickerwork", referencing the plants from - interplaced pliable stems.
Common names | Mistletoe Cactus, Coral Cactus, Spaghetti Cactus, Rhipsalis
Family | Cactaceae
As one would assume with the word ‘cactus’ - dry, prickly and sun, for a Rhipsalis cactus, it’s the complete opposite. Rhipsalis requires moist and lower light conditions and generally has a very smooth feel to it.
A close up of a plant
The Rhipsalis genus contains numerous species many of which are primarily found in the tropical and subtropical forests of South and Central America, Africa and a few other islands in the Indian Ocean. They are naturally epiphytic which means that they grow on other plants in the wild but do not feed on these plants - you will find them on the trunks or branches of trees and shrubs.
A close up of a plant
They are generally leafless and are composed of branching stems, a lot of the time trailing ones, with no needles, but some species which do not trail. There are species that are covered in fine little hairs, very visible to the eye, whilst others are as smooth as silk. There are trailing Rhipsalis species that can reach a length of up to 1.8 m.

Growing Rhipsalis

When it comes to low-maintenance plants, you can’t go wrong with a Rhipsalis. They thrive in well-drained soil, medium to low light and in an area with a bit of airflow - especially if they are hanging. In South Africa, they will do well hanging in a window or placed on a windowsill that receives only morning sun. They can also be hanged outdoors and will benefit from the air circulation, but remember to keep them away from the afternoon sun!
A close up of a flower
Water them in spring and summer once a week if they are dry or postpone watering till next week if the soil is still moist. During autumn and winter, it is advised to reduce your watering regime. They don’t require feeding as regularly as other houseplants but will do well with a good foliar feed every so often. Consider repotting your Rhipsalis every 2 - 3 years.

For more information about Rhipsalis, read further in the plant profiles below.

A close up of a green Rhipsalis plant

Mistletoe Cactus

Rhipsalis spp.

A Rhipsalis baccifera plant in front of a brick building

Mistletoe Cactus

Rhipsalis baccifera

Dancing Bones

Hatiora salicornioides

If you are interested in more hanging, climbing or trailing indoor plants, have a look at this indoor plant collection:

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