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Rhipsalis pilocarpa (Hairy Stemmed Rhipsalis)


Scientific Name

Rhipsalis pilocarpa Loefgr.

Common Names

Hairy Stemmed Rhipsalis, Hairy-Fruited Wickerware Cactus


Erythrorhipsalis pilocarpa

Scientific Classification

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


Rhipsalis pilocarpa is a cactus that grows as an epiphytic shrub with cylindrical, initially upright, later hanging stems that grow up to 16 inches (40 cm) long. At the top, stems branch into whorls. The stems and branches are dark green, tinged red in full sun, and covered with white hairs growing from the areoles. Flowers are small, fragrant, white with pink centers, bell-shaped, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter, and appear at the stems' ends. Fruits are spherical, red to maroon, with bristle-like spines and up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) in diameter.

Rhipsalis pilocarpa


USDA hardiness zone 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 its 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 a watering can help you measure the amount of water you are providing. The pot's size compared to the size of the plant, the humidity levels in the home, and the type of potting soil used can all affect the watering frequency. See more at How to Grow and Care for Rhipsalis.


Endemic to Brazil.


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