Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) is found in parts of Central America, northern parts of South America, and the Caribbean. They are also inhabited in remote parts of Africa and Asia. Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) is the largest and most widespread epiphytic cactus genus. Learn how to grow and care for the Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) plant in this article.
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) Picture
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) Info
| Botanical Name
| Common Name
| Plant Type
||llthophytic or epiphytic cacti
| Mature Size
||1–20 feet (depends on species and age of plant)
| Sun Exposure
||Part shade to full shade
| Soil Type
||Porous cactus potting mix with organic matter
| Soil pH
||5.0 to 6.5 (acidic)
| Bloom Time
||Year-round when grown in ideal conditions; varies by species.
Ecological Habits of Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus)
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) is also called chain cactus and grows epiphytically in its tropical forest home. The cactus has pencil-thin succulent stems that may reach 6 feet (2 m.) in length. The thick skin of the Rhipsalis baccifera stems do not produce thorns, but it does have almost imperceptible bumps on the surface of the plant. These Rhipsalis baccifera plants are found clinging to tree crotches, in branch nooks, and nestled in rock crevasses. The Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) is easy to grow and has very minimal needs. It is perfect for the home interior in a northern or western window.
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) Distribution Area
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus
) is a tropical succulent that is native to the rainforests of Central and South America, Africa, and a couple of islands in the Indian Ocean. It's the only cactus to grow in the wild outside North and South America. There are some 60 different species, most of which grow on tree trunks. In the wild, they flower with many small white, yellow, orange, or red flowers, which produce berries when fertilized. This rarely happens in the home. Rhipsalis baccifera's jungle background means that it's a houseplant with air-purifying properties according to research by NASA.
How to Grow and Care for Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus)
How to Grow Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus)
Rhipsalis baccifera can also be propagated by collecting the tiny seeds from the fruits and replanting them, but this is a tricky, time-consuming process that is not really necessary, given the ease with which cuttings take root.
Growing Rhipsalis baccifera
(Mistletoe cactus) from seed can be very tricky so we would always recommend propagating by stem cutting.
Select a pot with sufficient drainage and fill it 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 Rhipsalis baccifera 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 Rhipsalis baccifera plant has a sufficient root base.
How to Care for Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus)
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) is an extremely hardy plant and the best location for your Rhipsalis baccifera plant is at least a few feet from the window. Mistletoe cactus prefer bright and indirect sunlight, and they can also tolerate the morning and the evening sunlight.
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus
) does not thrive well in direct sunlight and the afternoon sun can burn the leaves of the Rhipsalis baccifera plant and turn them yellow. When the leaves turn pale, it means that the plant is not getting enough sunlight. Rhipsalis baccifera requires a lot of filtered bright light. The morning sun is the best lighting condition for the Rhipsalis baccifera. Rotate your plant time to time to ensure even growth on all sides.
Rhipsalis baccifera needs to be planted in well-drained soil. Mix one part perlite with one part potting soil, one part peat, and one part coarse orchid bark, this soil mixture is excellent for the Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) plant.
Depending on the light levels, Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) like to be kept more on the drier side. If yours is in a bright, indirect location or in deep shade, allow the majority of the soil to dry in between waters. For those in direct light, only allow the top half to dry for the avoidance of dehydration. Under-watering symptoms include little to no new growth, a much-needed transplant and drying leaves.
When Rhipsalis baccifera flower buds begin to form, use a tomato-type fertilizer every two weeks through the flowering period and then monthly for the rest of the year, except for the rest period following flowering.
The broom Rhipsalis baccifera does not need regular pruning for healthy growth, but pruning may prove necessary due to its long growth:
1.always remove old and dead shoots
2.cut off long and disturbing shoots
3.can be cut into the desired shape without any problems
4.slightly poisonous sap, better wear gloves when pruning
Read more: Rhipsalis baccifera: Grow & Care for Mistletoe cactus
Uses of Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus)Rhipsalis baccifera
is beautiful when grown as an ornamental, hanging accent plant. Rhipsalis baccifera is best grown near large west or west-facing windows, or on a shaded porch.
Because of its neutral colors, it goes beautifully with a number of different flowers.
If growing outdoors, add it to a shady spot like a porch as it will have ample space to grow and will not risk getting too much sun.
Rhipsalis baccifera is also edible. It has medicinal properties which make it popular for certain remedies such as herbal paths or as a salve to help treat wounds.
The small, orb-like fruit the plant bears in spring is also edible and tastes juicy in a way similar to small grapes when eaten.
Varieties of Rhipsalis
The four genera within the Rhipsalideae tribe are Hatiora, Lepismium, Rhipsalis, and Schlumbergera.
The most prominent genus is Rhipsalis, comprised of more than 40 species prized for their thin intertwining stems Most of these species are obscure tropical cacti that exist only in the rainforest and are never found in domestic cultivation. But some common Rhispalis species often grown as houseplants include:Rhipsalis baccifera
(mistletoe cactus or spaghetti cactus) is characterized by long thread-like stems and creamy-white flowers that give way to mistletoe-like fruits. This plant forms hanging clusters that are typically 3 feet long or greater when mature. This is by far the most commonly grown cacti in the genus.
Rhipsalis cereuscula (coral cactus) is a shrubby or bushy plant with branhes up to 2 feet long. Many long cylindrical stems emerge from the ends of long slender branches that form hanging clusters and flowers with small, creamy-white blooms.
Rhipsalis clevata has a pendulous habit with many branches and white bell-shaped flowers. It makes a good hanging plant.
Rhipsalis pirocarpa is another tropical epiphytic from Brazil. It has long hairy cylindrical stems and fragrant white flowers about 3/4 in diameter. The shoots have reddish/purple edges, making this a very attractive species.
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) Common Pests/Diseases
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) can experience a few pests. Mealybugs and scale insects are easy enough to get rid of and prevent.
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus
) appear as white blobs or raised brown scales on the Rhipsalis baccifera plant. You should remove them with tweezers and swab the area with alcohol to prevent future infestation.
Other pests such as spider mites or red spider mites are difficult to identify as they will become evident after making their first attack.
Get rid of them, spray your Rhipsalis baccifera plant with Neem insecticide or a mix of systemic pesticides.
Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) Companion Plants and Design Tips
Show off the form of trailing varieties, like Rhipsalis baccifera and R. burchellii, by planting them in hanging baskets or hanging macrame planters. Position Rhipsalis baccifera plants where the tendrils will have plenty of room to trail — some reach up to 6 feet long.
Upright and mounding forms of Rhipsalis baccifera work well side-by-side with other indoor favorites, like split-leaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa), staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum) and pothos (Epipremnum aureum), and bring foliage diversity. Or double down on quirky forms by pairing a mistletoe cactus with look-alike, but more upright, milk bush (Euphorbia tirucalli).