Rhipsalis: November Houseplant of the Month

Very unusual: Rhipsalis is actually a cactus, but without the spikes. This houseplant is a fast grower that hangs down in long messy tendrils or grows upwards in a bushy form. Dark green at the top, a bit wispy at the ends, fabulous for exciting peepholes and tabletop meadows. The plant is also known as mistletoe cactus, and is virtually maintenance-free. Rhipsalis copes pretty well with forgetful waterers, does not give up and is a richly branched beauty under ideal conditions. 

Credit: Thejoyofplants.co.uk

Rhipsalis is a tropical succulent which is native to the rainforests of Central and South America, Africa and a couple of islands in the Indian Ocean. It’s the only cactus to grow in the wild outside North and South America. There are some 60 different species, most of which grow on tree trunks. In the wild they flower with many small white, yellow, orange or red flowers, which produce berries when fertilised. This rarely happens in the home. Rhipsalis’ jungle background means that it’s a houseplant with air-purifying properties according to research by NASA.

Rhipsalis is available in many varieties, from a compact tabletop plant with coral-like greenery (R. pilocarpa) or a messy green tangle (R. cassutha) to a hanging plant with long tendrils (R. baccifera). The leaves can be slightly twisting ribbons or a sort of green spaghetti. All the varieties are offered in sizes ranging from S to XL. 

Sales and display tips for Rhipsalis
Display different varieties of Rhipsalis together and emphasise the jungle feeling of this green spectacle. Hence the hanging plants will appeal to the imagination more if they are hung off a tree trunk or a sturdy branch, and the plant varieties will look nice amongst some decorative wood and attractive stones. Select pots with a robust and natural appearance: ceramic with a bark pattern, wood or a dish with natural shades. November is a rather intimate, restrained month. The hanging forms of Rhipsalis particularly emphasise that sense of enclosure. 

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