Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus) an ornamental, epiphytic cactus with long thread-like green pendent stems, up to 0.5 cm in diameter and can reach up to 9 m in length. Areoles are bristly when young, but otherwise, the stems are very smooth. The little greenish-white blooms to appear in late winter or spring. The flowers are followed by white fruits that look similar to the berries on mistletoe. The globose fruit is 5 – 8 mm in diameter. The fruits are also edible, with a soft sweet taste. Rhipsalis baccifera makes an ideal choice for hanging planters.
Scientific Name: Rhipsalis baccifera
Synonyms: Cactus caripensis, Cereus bacciferus, Cassytha baccifera, Cereus quadrangularis, Hariota cassytha, Rhipsalis cassytha, Rhipsalis bartlettii, Rhipsalis fasciculata, Rhipsalis tetragona.
Common Name: Mistletoe cactus.
How to grow and maintain Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe cactus):
It thrives best in bright indirect sunlight. Shade from direct sunlight, particularly in summer, which makes the stems to turn red and look wilted.
It grows well in slightly acidic, well-drained, mix of two parts peat moss and one part sand with one part fine-grade fir bark.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil evenly moist but never allow your plant to sit in water. You can allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering. During the winter months, reduce watering.
It prefers an ideal temperatures between 70 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 21 – 24 degrees Celsius at daytime and 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit / 16 – 21 degrees Celsius during nighttime.
Fertilize once a month with a balanced, general-purpose fertilizer during the growing season. Do not fertilize the plant during winter.
It can be easily propagated by seed or stem cuttings. Use a sharp knife to take stem cuttings. A milky, white sap may ooze from the cuttings, so allow the cut ends to dry for one day. Then insert the cut end into a sterile potting medium. Keep the medium barely moist until the plants germinate.
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pest or disease problems.
Medicinal uses of Rhipsalis baccifera:
The stem is crushed and used with the juice of Lonchocarpus chrysophyllus to treat the bites of coral snakes.