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Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides (Clumpy Mistletoe Cactus)


Scientific Name

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides Haw.

Common Names

Clumpy Mistletoe Cactus

Scientific Classification

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


Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides is an epiphytic cactus with strong stems covered by tiny branchlets. Initially erect, the stems become pendent over time. The main stems are woody, cylindrical, up to 20 inches (50 cm) long, and up to 0.08 inch (2 mm) in diameter. The white flowers appear at the areoles of the branchlets. They are up to 0.3 inches (8 mm) long and up to 0.6 inches (5 mm) in diameter. The short-oblong fruits are white and up to 0.2 inches (5 mm) long.

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides (Clumpy Mistletoe Cactus)

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Rhipsalis do not thrive in direct sunlight. Exposure to the afternoon sun can burn the leaves, turn them yellow or lead to spotting. However, without sufficient sunlight, they will not bloom, and their growth can be stunted. These cacti do best with morning sun and full shade in the afternoon.

As Rhipsalis is commonly grown indoors, care must be given to the placement of the plants. They should be kept at least 20 inches (50 cm) away from windows that receive midday or afternoon sun. The glass in the windows can multiply the heat from the sun's rays, causing sunburned leaves. Keep in mind that in its native environment, Rhipsalis is accustomed to receiving light that has been filtered through dense, overhanging tree branches. Picturing this environment can help you adjust your lighting accordingly.

Rhipsalis is not a drought-resistant plant, so regular watering is essential. Overwatering, however, can cause weak stems and rotted roots. Using watering can help you measure the amount of water you are providing. The pot's size compared to the plant's size, the humidity levels in the home, and the type of potting soil used can all affect the watering frequency.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Rhipsalis.


Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides is widespread in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, on both sides of the Baja de Guanabara at an altitude below 2,000 feet (600 m) above sea level.


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