Mistletoe Cactus

minute flower and fruits

It’s not yet Christmas but since this plant started blooming the other day, I thought to give my Rhipsalis teres an attention. This plant is also known as the Mistletoe cactus or Wickerwork cactus. My friend Mrs.Tolero, a jet-setter and a plant collector, gave me this epiphyte as a present from her travels sometime in year 2000. She told me that this plant came from South America.

cactus on hanging basket

I knew so little about this plant and for years I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was just an air plant for it doesn’t resemble a normal cactus. It has no spines, just a few bristles here and there.

no spines, just bristles on stems

Its stems are slender, they’re about 0.5 cm in diameter. I also observed that the length of each stems vary but they’re commonly connected together in long joints. The young stems are short about 2 cm, angular and have bristles. The old stems, on the other hand, are long, rounded and smooth. Moreover, the branches are in whorls and they grow downwards, hence, they are usually potted in a hanging basket.

jointed stems

Anyway, what I like about this plant is its fruits; they’re like little round white pearls which decorate the plant. Then, there’s its less than 1 cm wide yellow flowers blooming on either the tip or on the side of the stems. I guess the flowers of my Rhipsalis is somewhat smaller than expected; I’ve been informed that the normal size of its flowers is 2.5cm wide.

growing downward

As per advise of my friend on how to care for Rhipsalis, I put this plant in a shady area where the cactus could avoid exposure from direct sunlight. I also watered it regularly during months of hot season. I cut down its ration of water during the rainy season though.

harmless epiphyte

Due to ignorance, I’ve used chunks of coconut husks as potting medium on this for plant for years. Just recently, I’ve learned that Rhipsalis requires soil rich in humus. So I did the logical thing, I re-potted it with sandy-loam soil. Hopefully, I’ll see bigger flowers the next time it blooms.

less than 1 cm yellow flower

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