Rhipsalis - Plant of the Month

There are two different types of cacti - desert and forest. Most of us are familiar with desert cacti which can be identified by their thick, bulbous shape used for storing all the water they need to survive. Another identifying feature is the different spines or spikes they tend to have. However forest cacti, like our plant of the month - Rhipsalis, don't tend to look much like a part of the cactus family at all. They are usually spineless, unless still in infancy, and often have a mass of thinner stems that trail or branch out. 

Rhipsalis are naturally found in tropical rainforests growing harmlessly from other plants and trees. Because of this, they are used to being shaded so like bright but indirect light (they can take quite low light too), and humidity - the ideal bathroom plant!

As it is still a variety of cactus, watering moderately is best. Wait for the soil to dry out a little (not bone dry, but not too moist) between waterings, and be sure to ease up a little in the winter. It can handle drought in colder months but eventually you will notice it's stems start to shrivel - a good indicator that it could use some water! If you're keeping your rhipsalis in a dry room, make sure to mist it regularly to provide a semi humid atmosphere. 

Rhipsalis are otherwise known as the Mistletoe Cactus - this is because they send out little cream/green flowers in the summer which turn to little cream berries in the winter, giving it the appearance of mistletoe. 

When in the right environment, rhipsalis are a very easy to care for house plant and grow fairly quickly, allowing you to reap the rewards of your care!

To Propagate:

Growing rhipsalis from seed can be very tricky so we would always recommend propagating by stem cutting. 

Select a pot with sufficient drainage and fill with cactus soil or another free draining compost.

Cut any part of a healthy stem (or one with a dry end that you want to get rid of!) and allow the end to dry for a few days before re potting it into your cactus soil. Once potted, keep the top of the soil a little damp with a mister and keep the plant in a bright but indirect spot.

Rooting usually takes between 2-6 weeks but a gentle tug on the stem should help you to tell - if you feel resistance then the plant has a sufficient root base. 

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