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Rhipsalis trigona (Mistletoe Cactus)


Scientific Name

Rhipsalis trigona Pfeiff.

Common Names

Mistletoe Cactus


Hariota trigona, Lepismium trigonum

Scientific Classification

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


Rhipsalis trigona is a pendent much-branched epiphytic cactus that reach up to 6.6 feet (2 m) in length. The stems segments are stout, 3-angled, often curved or twisted, and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in diameter. It has white or pale pink flowers. They are usually solitary (one per areole) and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter. The fruits are red, globose, and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter.


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 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 size of the pot, 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.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Rhipsalis.


Rhipsalis trigona is native to Brazil.


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