Rhipsalis paradoxa


Cereus pterocaulis
Hariota alternata
Hariota paradoxa
Hylorhipsalis paradoxa
Lepismium alternatum
Lepismium paradoxum
Rhipsalis alternata
Rhipsalis paradoxa
Rhipsalis pterocaulis


Rhipsalis paradoxa is a rare tropical species, endemic to Brazil. It inhabits tropical deciduos forests and it is threatened by habitat loss. It is an epiphitic plant and grows on big trees in the shade of the forest, and it survives absorbing its required nutrients from the little soil that forms on the branch of trees and by carrying out the photosynthesis.


Rhipsalis paradoxa is an odd succulent plant, with a peculiar stem divided into flattened, 3-lobated elements growing at the top of each other, creating elongated and often falling stems. The single article is divided into 4 centimeters wide ribs, bright green with purplish tinges that become more evident near the top of the stems. This structure makes it perfect for hanging pots in balconies or in office rooms. Although it doesn’t look like a cactus at all, it definitely is: the Rhipsalis genus belongs to the Cactaceae family. It doesn’t even have thorns: the few ones left are almost hidden in the internodes. The shallow roots have developed to keep the plant anchored to a tree, so they don’t develop in depth but rather horizontally in all directions. Stems have the capacity to put new roots as they find a suitable site, and this is an important way in which this species reproduces. Flowers, instead, have lanate floriferous areola, and turn out white or yellowish, depending on the specimens, taking on different shades.


Rhipsalis paradoxa is not so difficult to grow. Here below are our tips:

Place your Rhipsalis paradoxa in the shade, at least 50 centimeters from south and west-facing windows: the ideal solution is morning light. In its natural habitat, the lowland natural forest, it in fact grows
The minimum tolerated temperature is 10°C, so we recommend to place it indoors in Winter.
Unlike for most succulents, the substrate of your Rhipsalis paradoxa should be maintained slightly moist all the time. It is in fact a tropical succulent, used to a humid environment.
We suggest a standard soil for cacti as a substrate, better if poor in nutrients and well-draining.
Fertilize once a year during the spring, at the beginning of the growing season, with half the doses recommended on the label of a product rich in phosphorus and potassium but poor in nitrogen (a specific product for succulents will do good).
Repotting is necessary every 1-2 years. Choose wide, shallow pots to host its shallow roots.


Rhipsalis paradoxa can be propagated both by seeds and stem cuttings.


The name of this genus 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).

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