Rhipsalis burchellii (Mistletoe Cactus)

Rhipsalis burchellii

The Rhipsalis burchellii, or mistletoe cactus, has long been a conversation starter in any group of succulent plant owners. Mistletoe Cactus, as it’s often called, is easy to care for and makes an interesting addition to any plant collection.

Mistletoe cactus is a species of flowering plant in the cactus family Cactaceae, native to rainforest and woodland in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. It has small pink flowers with yellow stamens, turning red as they age, followed by white berries.

In temperate regions, it needs to be grown under glass or as an outdoor container plant in well-drained soil and to be kept at no more than 13 °C (55 °F). Mistletoe cactus grows on trees, buildings, and fences in its native habitat.

While mistletoe cactus, Rhipsalis burchellii, does not fall into the category of high-maintenance or difficult to care for plants, it still requires some attention to do well as a houseplant. Fortunately, if you follow these mistletoe cactus care tips, caring for your own Rhipsalis burchellii will be no problem at all!

Origin and distribution

Rhipsalis burchellii is a species of epiphytic cactus native to the Atlantic Forest biome of southeastern Brazil. It is also found in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. The plant is named after English naturalist William John Burchell. Rhipsalis burchellii is an evergreen cactus that can grow up to 1 meter in length.

The plant has thin, cylindrical stems that are covered in small spines. Leaves are absent in this species of cactus, but photosynthetic hair called trichomes covers the stem. Flowers may be white or pinkish-red with long stamens protruding from them. The fruit may be yellow or orange.

Rhipsalis burchellii propagation

Rhipsalis burchellii

Rhipsalis burchellii can be propagated by stem cuttings. To take a cutting, use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to remove a 2-4 inch section from the end of a healthy stem. Allow the cutting to callus for a few days before potting it in a well-draining cactus mix. Water the cutting sparingly, only when the soil is dry to the touch.

Put the pot in a bright spot out of direct sunlight and wait for new growth to appear. If you have an overabundance of cuttings, gently lay them on the surface of moist perlite with their leaves facing up.

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Roots will form at the leaf nodes along their stems within two weeks, and they’ll be ready to plant after three months. Mistletoe cacti are quite hardy plants but do best if watered during the summer, although water should not pool around the roots. In winter, reduce watering as much as possible without letting the plants dry out completely.

Mistletoe cacti don’t need fertilizer during any season but require high amounts of light all year round. You can feed your mistletoe every other month during spring and summer with a balanced houseplant food diluted to half strength, but be careful not to overwater!

Rhipsalis burchellii care information

Rhipsalis burchellii

Rhipsalis burchellii, or mistletoe cactus, is a beautiful and unique plant that makes a great addition to any indoor jungle. These epiphytic cacti are native to Brazil and can be found in a variety of colors, including green, red, and yellow. Rhipsalis burchellii is easy to care for and require very little maintenance. With proper care, your mistletoe cactus will thrive and provide you with years of enjoyment.

Light requirement

Rhipsalis burchellii does best in bright, indirect sunlight. If you notice the leaves start to yellow or the stems start to stretch, that means it’s not getting enough light. Move it to a brighter spot, but be careful not to put it in direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Soil/potting mix

This cactus prefers a well-draining potting mix, so make sure to use a light and airy mix that won’t hold onto too much water. You can make your own mix by combining equal parts perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss.

Rhipsalis burchellii also doesn’t mind a little crowding in its pot, so you don’t need to worry about giving it too much space. Keep an eye on the soil for signs of overwatering. If the top layer of soil is wet, then you should wait until it has dried out before watering again.


Rhipsalis burchellii is a succulent, so it does not require much water. In the spring and summer, water once a week, and in the fall and winter, water every two weeks. The best way to water this plant is to soak the soil and then let it dry out completely before watering again. If the leaves start to wrinkle, that means the plant is thirsty and needs more water.

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A good rule of thumb is to fertilize your Rhipsalis cactus every two weeks during the growing season. However, you may need to fertilize more frequently if the plant is actively growing.

If you notice the leaves beginning to yellow, this is a sign that the plant needs more fertilizer. When applying fertilizer, be sure to follow the instructions on the package. Over-fertilizing can damage the plant.


Rhipsalis burchellii is a tropical cactus, so it requires warm temperatures to thrive. It should be kept above 60 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. If the temperature dips below this, the plant will start to experience damage. Rhipsalis burchellii can tolerate higher temperatures as well, but anything above 90 degrees Fahrenheit will cause the plant to start to wilt.


Rhipsalis burchellii prefers high humidity, so it’s a good idea to mist the plant regularly. If you live in a dry climate, you may want to consider using a humidifier. Rhipsalis burchellii also benefits from being placed on a pebble tray or in a terrarium.

The ideal humidity range is 60-80%. A pebble tray can help maintain this level of humidity if your home environment doesn’t provide enough moisture for the plant. You should water Rhipsalis burchellii when its soil is completely dry and allow the potting mix to almost fully dry out before watering again. When watering, be sure not to get any water on the leaves of your cactus!


Rhipsalis burchellii, or mistletoe cactus, is a delightful addition to any home. It’s easy to care for and can thrive indoors with bright, indirect light. When pruning, be sure to use clean, sharp shears to avoid damaging the plant.

Cut just above a node, or joint, taking care not to remove too much of the plant at once. Trimming after blooming will allow new growth to form in spring.

When to repot

Repotting is necessary every 2-3 years, or when the roots start to come out of the bottom of the pot. The best time to repot is in the spring, after the plant has had a chance to rest.

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides (Clumpy Mistletoe Cactus)

To repot, gently remove the plant from its pot and shake off any excess soil. Cut away any roots that are damaged or dead, then replant in a new pot with fresh cactus mix. Use a well-draining potting mixture like coarse sand, pumice rock, or small gravel pieces.

Fill the pot until it’s about 1 inch below the rim and make sure there is good drainage by placing rocks at the bottom of the pot. Press down on all around to eliminate air pockets.

Cover with about an inch of dirt and water thoroughly but don’t allow it to sit in water for too long or it will drown!

Dormancy/Winter rest

Rhipsalis burchellii is a tropical cactus that originates from Brazil. It is important to give this plant a winter rest in order to allow it to thrive. During the winter months, water the plant very sparingly, about once every two weeks. Place the pot in a cool, dark place, such as a basement or garage.

Rhipsalis burchellii will begin to bloom in late spring or early summer. At this time, increase watering so that the soil remains moist but not wet. Maintain temperatures of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night during the blooming season.

To keep plants healthy, be sure to provide proper light levels throughout the year: 12 hours of light per day for plants grown indoors and 8 hours of light per day for plants grown outdoors.

Rhipsalis burchellii flower & fragrance

Rhipsalis burchellii

The Rhipsalis burchellii, or mistletoe cactus, is a beautiful plant that produces small, white flowers. This cactus is native to Brazil, and its fragrant flowers make it a popular choice for growers. While the plant does not require much care, there are a few things to keep in mind when growing Rhipsalis burchellii.

Growth rate

Rhipsalis burchellii is a fast-growing cactus that can reach up to 2 feet in height. It is a stemless cactus with long, thin, green stems that are covered in small white flowers. This cactus is native to Brazil and can be found in the wild growing on other plants, such as trees. Rhipsalis burchellii is easy to care for and does not require much water.

Rhipsalis micrantha (Mistletoe Cactus)


Rhipsalis burchellii is considered non-toxic to humans and animals. However, the sap of the plant can cause irritation to the skin and eyes. If ingested, it can cause stomach upset. Therefore, it is important to take care when handling this plant.

USDA hardiness zones

Rhipsalis burchellii germinate best in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. In zone 10, the plant should be placed outside from mid-April to mid-September. In zone 11, the plant should be placed outside from early May to late September.

Some people find that mistletoe cacti will bloom if they are kept in a cool room with high humidity for about three weeks before moving them outdoors. The plants prefer bright shade or morning sun with afternoon shade.

Pests and diseases

Rhipsalis burchellii is generally a pest and disease-free plant. However, mealybugs and scale can occasionally be a problem. If you see either of these pests, simply wipe them off with a damp cloth or cotton swab. If the infestation is bad, you can also use insecticidal soap or neem oil.

As for diseases, Rhipsalis burchellii is susceptible to root rot if left in soggy soil for too long. To avoid this, try to water this plant only when it needs it. Additionally, you should avoid placing it on cold floors that could freeze it during the winter months.