This turbo grower makes the dark days of winter greener, cosier and more mysterious, whether you let it hang wild or drape it over your table.
It’s very unusual: Rhipsalis is actually a cactus, but without spikes. This rapid grower hangs down in long, messy tendrils or grows upwards in a bushy shape, as the mood takes it. As a houseplant it’s dark green on top, thinner at the ends and fantastic for exciting peepholes and tabletop pastures. The plant is also known as Mistletoe Cactus, and is virtually maintenance-free. Rhipsalis can cope well with forgetful waterers, doesn’t give up and makes a stunning feature.
Rhipsalis grows in rainforests in Central and South America, Africa and on a couple of islands in the Indian Ocean. Rhipsalis’ jungle origins make it a houseplant with air-purifying properties according to research by NASA.
November is an intimate, restrained month. It is particularly Rhipsalis’ hanging forms that accentuate that sense of enclosure
Rhipsalis is not fussy
- A light spot, full sun, partial shade: Rhipsalis is not fussy about where it’s placed.
- Moderate water once a week. The soil can dry out a bit between waterings.
- Spraying from time to time will make Rhipsalis very happy.
- A bit of plant food once a month keeps the growth going.
- If the tendrils get too long, they can just be cut back to shape.
Hanging or trailing?
Depending on how much space you have, it can look spectacular to place several Rhipsalis together or allow them to grow downwards standing in a line. You can emphasise the plant’s jungle roots with pots made of wood, bamboo or earthenware with a bark pattern, or by hanging them from a sturdy branch. If you want to use Rhipsalis for a table display, opt for a bowl that is not too shallow (the plant has fairly deep roots) and decorate it with attractive stones, conkers and other natural finds.
Houseplant of the Month
Rhipsalis is the Houseplant for November 2018. ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative by the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.