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Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Rhipsalis baccifera (J. S. Muell.) Stearn

Common Names

Mistletoe Cactus, Spaghetti Cactus

Synonyms

Rhipsalis baccifera subsp. baccifera, Cassytha baccifera, Rhipsalis cassytha

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Rhipsalideae
Genus: Rhipsalis

Description

Rhipsalis baccifera is an epiphytic cactus with narrow, cylindrical, pale green pendant stems. In nature, it can reach up to 30 feet (9 m) in length. Stems are up to 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) in diameter. Areoles are bristly when young, but otherwise, the stems are very smooth. It blooms all season sporadically long, with the best flushes in mid-spring and again in late summer. The very small, yellow to greenish-silvery-white flowers are up to 0.25 inch (0.6 cm) across. The flowers are followed by small white fruits.

Photo via adenium-doma.ru

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

With its long, elegantly drooping stems and low-maintenance care needs, the Mistletoe Cactus makes an ideal choice for hanging planters. Place your cactus in an area that receives partial to full shade.

Use a gritty, well-drained, slightly acidic soil mix of two parts peat moss and one part sand, with bark chips mixed in to promote soil drainage.

Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, during its growing season, which occurs from the early spring to late summer. Never allow standing water on the surface of the soil, but don't let the soil dry out completely. Let the topsoil dry out between waterings, but not the subsoil.

Apply a balanced, general-purpose fertilizer every 2 to 4 weeks during the plant's growing season. Follow any instructions or warnings provided by the manufacturer when applying the fertilizer.

Cut back on watering throughout the fall and winter, the dormant seasons of the Mistletoe Cactus. Water just enough to keep the plant's stems from shriveling. This practice promotes healthy blossoming in spring. Do not fertilize the plant during this time. Resume regular watering and fertilization practices as soon as the first buds appear in spring.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Rhipsalis.

Origin

Rhipsalis baccifera is endemic to Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Florida.

Subspecies

Links

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