No, not spineless as in ‘weak’ or ‘cowardly’! This cactus, like its brothers and sisters, is tough as nails – it just doesn’t have those spikey bits that cacti are famous for.
How to Grow Rhipsalis
Flowering time: the common name for Rhipsalis is the “Mistletoe Cactus,” and it received this name because of the green, red, and white flowers that bloom around Christmas time. For this to happen, the plant must experience a strong decrease in temperature and receive bi-weekly fertilising.
Location: anywhere with bright, indirect light – these plants are semi cold-resistant!
Soil: use a cactus or succulent mix that has plenty of drainage.
Light: bright, indirect light with occasional direct sunlight.
Water: most Rhipsalis are not drought-tolerant, so water every 1-6 weeks, depending upon the time of year, letting the top half-inch of soil to dry out in between.
Care: extremely easy to care for but can be sensitive to overwatering and dropping its tendrils.
When you think of a cactus, most of us envision the thick, rounded, upright cactus depicted in movies and paintings of desert landscapes. However, the Earth grew creative with how its plants learned to adapt to different environments, giving us the weird, other-worldly spineless cactus! The Rhipsalis is the most common of this type of plant, with its prickly leaves and tendrils growing in more of a vining pattern than the vertical cylinders of the cactus we’re most familiar with. Other varieties that grow like this include the Epiphyllum genus with its well-known Orchid and Fishbone cacti, and the Pseudorhipsalis sub-genus that grow thin leaves you could easily mistake for a skinny Philodendron or super thin Hoya.
These plants are known as epiphyte, growing on the surface of other plants rather than in the soil like most plants. While this may sound like a one-sided relationship, you’ll be happy to know that the plant on the receiving end of the deal isn’t stealing anything from the host plant like a parasite – it’s a completely harmless arrangement. Plants that are epiphytes just really enjoy letting their roots breathe instead of sinking them in the ground to find oxygen.
Most Rhipsalis or spineless cacti are laid back and easy going, not requiring too much hands-on work for the majority of the year. Through the spring, summer, and autumn seasons, this plant loves its fair share of light and likes to make it obvious when it’s thirsty with the slight puckering of its stem-like tendrils. The wintertime is the only portion of the year when your Rhipsalis will need a little extra care – however, this is totally optional! Also known as the Mistletoe Cactus, this plant requires colder temperatures to enter its flowering season. For this, you’ll want to either move your Rhipsalis somewhere cold or closer to a drafty window in order for it to produce flower buds. As it flowers, you will need to fertilise and water your plant more often, but it will thank you with sweet little blooms all Christmas season long!
Where can you find a Rhipsalis cactus of your own?
Each species of the Rhipsalis genus, while somewhat similar in appearance, is unique in its care needs and preferences. At Pretty Cactus, we carry a wide variety of spineless cacti, including some Rhipsalis, and can recommend care requirements and guidelines for each. Every plant we bring into our store is carefully chosen in small batches for their health, rarity and beauty by the local nurseries we trust to source from. Because of the one-of-a-kind look to these plants, we also carry gorgeous pots to perfectly match any spineless cactus you bring into your home.
Pretty Cactus Plants (www.prettycactus.co.uk) currently has stock of these fun and quirky houseplants, which can be ordered online for direct delivery to your door!
ABOUT PRETTY CACTUS
Pretty Cactus is run by Donna and her lovely team from the shop in Brooke, South Norfolk.
Donna started the business in 2018, growing a passion into a business. Donna had always been a plant lover, spending hours in the garden centre and DIY stores picking up sad and reduced pants – nursing them back to health. The homegrown plants were sold at country fayres and craft markets. Before long, Donna was so busy she decided to give up her corporate job and run Pretty Cactus as a full-time venture. Opening her very first shop and website to sell online.
Donna now works with a team or growers and distributors in the UK and Holland to source plants, trying, where possible to get hold of more unusual cacti, succulents, and houseplants.
Donna and the Pretty Cactus team are always looking for new ways to style plants. Displaying these ideas in the shop and on social media. The Pretty Cactus shop has become an inspirational hub for plant lovers near and far who love to visit the store for ideas, plants, pots, and a bit of friendly plant chat too.