Family: Cactaceae
Habitat: Endemic to Brazil, in particular in the rainforests of Mata Atlantica.
Cultivation: Easy. Provide it with a semi-shaded position and a well-drained soil, and don’t expose it to low temperatures.
Curiosity: Hatiora owes its name to an important botanist named Thomas Harriot. The original name, given by Britton and Rose in 1923, was Harriota, but it then has been changed into Hatiora.


Hatiora is a genus of cacti which includes aroun ten species.

Hatiora owes its name to an important botanist named Thomas Harriot. The original name, given by Britton and Rose in 1923, was Harriota, but it then has been changed into Hatiora. Other plants, formerly included in the genus Rhipsalis, have been then placed into Hatiora genus.

Hatiora is native to Central and South America. Its natural habitat are the tropical, humid forests of Brazil, in particular, the one of the Mata Atlantica.

These plants are epiphytic. This means that, in their natural habitat, they grow clinging to other plants (usually large trees) or, more rarely, to rocks, like the orchids. They often have a falling attitude that makes them very appreciated and used for hanging pots by succulent lovers. In their natural habitat, Hatioras can reach 1 meter in height.

Stems of Hatiora are slender, bright green and cylindrical, usually rather branched and spineless. In H. salicornia and other species, they are divided into different segments equipped with tubercle and areoles from which, in some species, soft bristles are formed. In H. salicornia, as in many other species, the stems form soft, dense bushes of slender stems. Leaves are absent, and the photosynthesis is carried out by the stems.

The most appreciated species in the ornamental plants world is undoubtely H. salicornioides, a little succulent bush with an erect or falling habit, also called “Dancing bones cactus” for the above mentioned segments in which its stem is divided, that are similar to femores or little green bones. In this species, the yellow flowers sprout at the top of the stems. The numerous yello flowers and the falling bush habit makes this species particularly appreciated in the succulent world.

Blooming time occurs in late winter and the beginning of the spring. Flowers are small, yellow and solitary, developing on the areoles.

Flowers end up to form little fruits, which in botany are called capsules, that host numerous, black seeds.


Here below are the accepted Hatiora species:

  • H. epiphylloides
  • H. gaertneri
  • Hatiora × graeseri
  • H. herminiae
  • H. pentaptera
  • H. rosea
  • H. salicornioides

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Hatiora is not a difficult species to cultivate. It’s suitable for hanging pots or either, simply large port indoors, as its decorative bushy habit is perfect for a houseplant. Here are our cultivation tips:

  • Hatiora requires an exposure in partial shade, as long as it still receives plenty of light throughout the year. A spot in indirect light, exposed to morning and evening sun will do well.
  • It is preferable to keep it at mild temperatures and never below 5 °C, for this reason it is recommended to shelter it during the winter period.
  • Water moderately but only when the soil is completely dry. It is enough to water the plant once a week in spring and summer and suspend watering completely in winter. Also, water sparingly for a little while after flowering, as it needs a month’s rest after this period
  • The best soil is a well draining one, for example formed by a mixture of peat and pumice so that the water does not stagnate.
  • They do not need frequent fertilization, it is sufficient to dilute the fertilizer with watering once a year.
  • Repotting is not frequently necessary. Once a year is ok.

Hatiora can be easily propagated through stem cuttings. Take off cuttings 2 to 4 segments long, and then let them dry up for 24 hours. After that, plant them into a sandy soil. The ideal period to take off the cuttings is May and June (temperature of around 20ºC are ideal).

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