Rhipsalis

Misunderstood and Misidentified Epiphytes

Rhipsalis come in many forms; some resemble Hatioria and Schlumbergera with pad like stems to fulfill the function of leaves, others are very similar to Aporocactus, or the Rat Tail Cactus.

Rhipsalis

There are many different plants in this genus; some of them you may know as 'Mistletoe Cactus' for their habit of growing in trees. 

Unlike real mistletoe, they are not parasitic, but perch on top of  the bark and get their nutrients from water running down the tree.

Oddly, some sources claim that this plant, Rhipsalis baccifera, originated in the Old World (Europe) unlike the majority of the other members of the genus which originated in South America. 

Various theories have been put forward for this, ranging from the possibility of it being used as a substitute for the real Mistletoe, or because migratory birds transferred the seeds. 

There is no proof for either of these possibilities, leaving it a true mystery.

Rhipsalis bacciferaRhipsalis baccifera, the Mistletoe Cactus

Whichever one you have, they have similar cultivation requirements.

Keep these plants on the dry side through the winter, and then give them a summer of fairly frequent watering, and a holiday outdoors on a lanai or covered porch.

They require this treatment to set buds so they'll bloom.

Keep in mind that many of these don't grow in desert like conditions, rather in the branches of trees where they get dappled shade, leaf compost to root into, and frequent rain showers.

Rhipsalis in bloomRhipsalis in bloom

Don't let their looks deceive you - they don't require hot and dry conditions, although they are perfectly adapted to withstand periodic drought.

Other similar plants are Schlumbergera and Epiphyllum.

Want More Pictures of Rhipsalis?

This board on Pinterest has a lot of different examples of this great genus;

Another very similar member of the same family, Hatiora, is often confused with Rhipsalis.

See more Rhipsalis pictures below...

Each link goes to another page about these fascinating plants...

Please, in need of a name! 
I have a thin pencil like succulent that hangs down and has tiny hairs on it. It blooms white tiny flowers and is not a Hoya Linearis. Please help! Thank …

Elderly African American woman in Mississippi had this growing in a basket... 
Short segmented stems that are upright for a short time, then droop over the edge. The person I got this from had it for many years and did not know the …

Woody trunk with spikes, broad thin leaves 
The plants are quite large, with a woody trunk that is brown near the base and green near the tip. Spikes are restricted to the trunk. There are …

Fingerlike segmented Succulent - What is it!? 
Hello I need help identifying my succulent. He has long, hanging segmented "fingers". They are cylindrical and grow in little branches. He has white …

wide bushy plant that has reddish tips but no leaves 
Please help me identify this succulent, I water it just once a week. It is bushy, no leaves just thick longish spikes with red ends. Hi Aman, this …

small pencil like succulent plant 
tiny branched ends..not a pencil cactus. all green. Hi Michelle, from your picture it's hard to tell if the 'leaves' are round or flat; if they're …

vine-like succulent with many roots on leaves and no buds 
Long, scraggy vine-like behavior. No flowers or buds, but many roots on fleshy leaves. Vines are 3-4' long. See photo. Drought Smart Plants reply: …

please help me id this...i found it in my backyard 
i found this in my backyard...i want to know the name of the plant...its uses??species...family...common name etc...for the school project...thank you …

Christmas Cactus look-a-like 
I bought this plant for $1.50 at my local nursery. It did not come with a tag. I have Christmas cactus and this plant looks similar. Drought Smart …

Little cigars strung on brown thread 
4 ft, hanging, very durable. Person I got it from does nothing to his plants. 'Leaves' are very green with new growth lighter green. No dead spots or …

Rice Plant? 
Please help me to identify this succulent. I acquired a slip of this plant from a dear friend that passed away a number of years ago. She called it a "rice" …

Pretty succulent with woody stems  
Hello. This succulent belongs to a friend -- I love it and am trying to figure out what it is, so I can locate one for myself or figure out how to grow …

unknown plant 
Recently bought this succulent from a local nursery. It is about 9 inches tall and has branches off of the main stem. There are no leaves.The bracts …




Want your succulents to survive the winter?  Learn how to bring them indoors and be happy and healthy with this free e-course;  Fill in your name and email address on the form below to enroll!

Winterizing Succulents E-Course

Winterizing Succulents E-Course - click here to sign up...

How can I keep my Succulents happy for the winter? Find out here!

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.
 

Please enter the word that you see below.