Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides is native to Brazil Southeast where the plant occurs as an epiphyte on trunks of trees in public parks but the original habitat was lowland forest. The plant can spread up to 600 m of altitude.
Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides belonging to the Cactaceae botanical family. The plant is an epiphyte, so in nature it can grow upon other plants or tress, initially it is erect and later is falling and branched. The epiphytic plants are able to absorb humidity from the air and nutrients from the tiny soil particles trapped in cracks in tree bark. The stem is woody at the base with a greyish and rough bark and bear many green branchlets covered with short hairs. The plant is spineless and has a falling habit so it is suitable for a hanging pot. Blooming occurs during the Spring and the blossoms are borne by the areoles of the branchlets. The flowers are numerous, funnel-shaped, very small, diurnal, white to pinkish in color. The fruits are small, fleshy berries, spherical to oblong, white or tinged with red and inedible.
The plant has a slow growth rate but it is easy to cultivate. The plant grows well in light shade or shade because the sun-light could burn the leaves. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The maximum resistance to cold is 10 °C so it is recommended not to expose the plant to lower temperatures. Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 10 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The soil should be mixed with pumice, clay and loam to allow the drainage and prevent the root rot, the plant is prone to it indeed. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well. In Spring and Autumn, the plant can be watered with half a glass of water every week; in summer it can be watered with two glasses of water a week; in winter stop the watering to allow the plant to enter dormancy. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. The plant is used to growing in poor soils, for this reason it does not need abundant fertilization, it is sufficient to fertilize once in spring and once in summer. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
The easiest and fast method of propagation is to use cuttings. By cutting you can use the offsets during the spring. Cut an offset and then let it dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C.
The name of these cacti comes from the Greek word “rhips”, which means reed or the work that is done with woven reed (for example, weaving a basket). It refers to the thin branches that tend to twist as the plant grows. It is the only cacti native to the Old World as well (Asia and Africa). The specific epithet refers to the shoots that are reminiscent of the plants of the genus Mesembryanthemum.
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