The Rhipsalis plant is an extraordinary plant that will add a touch of mystery and drama to any home. This special specimen has a long history of being one of the most sought-after plants in the world, and yet, despite its widespread popularity, it is still a relative rarity.
Originating from South and Central America, the trailing, beaded clusters of tiny white or pinkish flowers of the Rhipsalis make it an exquisite addition to a home. It grows mainly on trees in its natural habitat, as it’s an epiphyte, meaning it uses the tree for physical support but does not take any nutrients from it. It typically grows in tropical forests, so it’s got an inbuilt love for warmth and humidity.
As a specimen, the Rhipsalis is always eye-catching and rarely seen anywhere else. Its unique shape and alluring colouring make it a statement piece wherever it is placed. In the wild, the Rhipsalis can reach heights of up to three metres, but because the plant is so sensitive, growth in a home environment is typically much slower.
Tips for nurturing your Rhipsalis:
Rhipsalis enjoys bright but indirect light and is best kept out of direct sunlight.
This tropical beauty prefers temperatures between 21-30 degrees Celsius (70-86 degrees Fahrenheit).
Soil and Drainage
Rhipsalis prefers airy, fast-draining soil. A general-purpose, free-draining potting mix is usually suitable. Plant your Rhipsalis in a pot with drainage holes to ensure the water can flow freely away from the roots.
The Rhipsalis loves warm, humid conditions, so if you can warm mist the plant regularly, that would definitely help it thrive.
Water regularly throughout the year and more often when in active growth. As with all plants, never let the soil dry out completely.
The Rhipsalis isn’t toxic to animals, so it’s safe for most households.
Fertilise the Rhipsalis in the summer and spring months with a liquid fertiliser. Reduce the frequency of fertilising to once a month in winter and fall.
Troubleshooting pests, diseases and common problems
A common problem with the Rhipsalis is pest infestation. Check your plant regularly, and if you spot any pests, spray the leaves with a mixture of soapy water and insecticide. Another problem associated with Rhipsalis is root rot. To reduce the possibility of this occurring, ensure you’re watering the plant regularly and never allow the root system to become and remain too wet or soggy.
Rhipsalis can be propagated in two ways – by division or stem cuttings. Division is simple and involves carefully dividing a large plant into two or more smaller, individual plants. Stem cuttings are also relatively straightforward and consists of cutting off a length of stem and planting it in a shallow container filled with moist soil.
You can count yourself very lucky to have a Rhipsalis in your care. With weekly misting, the right temperature and bright, indirect light, this exotic plant is sure to turn your home into a modern-day rainforest. It’s worth noting that this plant is for the more advanced gardener, so if you’re ready for a challenge, the Rhipsalis is definitely a great choice.