Rhipsalis elliptica

Rhipsalis elliptica

Last updated on August 24th, 2022 at 11:41 am

Rhipsalis elliptica is a unique cactus that has some similarities to your typical cactus (like being able to survive in low light) but also has some differences (it’s not technically an actual cactus). It doesn’t have needles like other cacti do; instead, it features long and soft leaves and branches that can add some interesting texture to your houseplant collection.

Cactus enthusiasts and gardeners alike may want to consider adding this unique plant to their collection. Rhipsalis elliptica, commonly known as the hanging spleenwort cactus, has an interesting appearance that makes it stand out among other plants in the home or office.

Rhipsalis elliptica can be grown easily in the home with the right conditions and care. These plants are native to the tropical forests of South America, where they grow on tree branches high above the ground.

Growing this unique cactus can be rewarding, but there are several factors to consider when trying to create the perfect growing environment for it. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to do so!

Origin and distribution

Rhipsalis elliptica is a cactus that is native to Brazil. It is found in the rainforests of Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo. This cactus can also be found in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Rhipsalis elliptica grows as an epiphyte on trees or as a lithophyte on rocks. It is an extremely popular ornamental plant for use in gardens because it blooms year-round and does not require high light levels. The flowers are white with bright yellow stamens and bloom from spring through fall.

In addition to being one of the most commonly grown species of cacti indoors, it is used outdoors as a ground cover due to its tendency to form dense mats. As with all plants, watering should be done sparingly but thoroughly to prevent overwatering.

If you need to water this plant, make sure you do so early in the day so it has time to dry out before nightfall. Use a soil mix consisting of two parts organic material (e.g., bark chips) and one part perlite or pumice rock when planting your cactus in order to ensure drainage.

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Rhipsalis elliptica propagation

Rhipsalis elliptica

Rhipsalis elliptica can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings. Seeds should be sown in a well-draining cactus mix and kept warm and moist until they germinate. Stem cuttings can be taken from new growth and should be allowed to callous for a few days before being planted in a well-draining cactus mix.

Rhipsalis elliptica does best in bright, indirect light but can tolerate some direct sun. It prefers cool night temperatures and can withstand the occasional frost. It’s important to note that the stems of this plant are very brittle and will break easily, so care must be taken when handling it or repotting it.

These plants enjoy high humidity and frequent misting. Fertilize them with an all-purpose fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.

Rhipsalis elliptica care information

Rhipsalis elliptica

Rhipsalis elliptica is a unique cactus that is relatively easy to care for, and can be grown both indoors and outdoors. When growing this plant, be sure to provide bright, indirect light and well-draining soil.

Water only when the soil is dry to the touch, and fertilizes sparingly. With proper care, your Rhipsalis elliptica will thrive!

Light requirement

Rhipsalis elliptica requires bright, indirect sunlight to thrive. If you can provide a spot near a south- or west-facing window, that would be ideal. However, make sure to protect the plant from the direct sun, as this can scorch the leaves. Rhipsalis elliptica also does well under artificial light, so if you can’t provide bright natural light, consider using grow lights.

Soil/potting mix

Rhipsalis elliptica will do best in a potting mix that is well-draining. A good mix to use for this cactus would be two parts perlite to one part potting soil. Be sure to water your Rhipsalis elliptica regularly, especially during the summer months when it is actively growing.


Rhipsalis elliptica is a succulent, so it doesn’t need much water. In fact, too much water can be detrimental to this plant. Allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.

When you do water, make sure to do so thoroughly, until water runs out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Make sure that you don’t get any water on the leaves, as this will cause them to rot and fall off.

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You should also avoid wetting your fingers when touching the leaves for any reason, as this will also cause them to rot and fall off.


Rhipsalis elliptica is a beautiful cactus that can add a touch of uniqueness to any home. Though it is not a difficult plant to care for, there are a few things to keep in mind when growing this cactus.

One important thing to remember is that Rhipsalis elliptica requires less fertilizer than most other plants. In fact, too much fertilizer can actually damage this cactus. So, when fertilizing, be sure to use a light hand.


Rhipsalis elliptica is a tropical cactus, so it needs warm temperatures to thrive. In its natural habitat, it experiences temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a cooler climate, you’ll need to provide some extra warmth for your Rhipsalis elliptica.

The best way to do this is with a heat mat placed underneath the pot. Make sure the mat is covered with something insulating, like cardboard, to prevent burns.


Rhipsalis elliptica does best in high humidity environments. If you live in a dry climate, you can create a more humid environment for your plant by placing it on a pebble tray or grouping it with other plants. You should also mist your plant regularly. Keep an eye on the leaves of your plant – if they start to turn brown, that means the air is too dry.

The ideal humidity range is 40-70%. If the air around your plant falls below 40%, you’ll need to place it in a pot with a moist substrate and wrap it loosely in cheesecloth (or another material) before putting the pot inside a clear plastic bag and sealing tightly. Make sure there’s enough room for airflow so that condensation doesn’t build up on the inside of the bag.


Rhipsalis elliptica is a fast-growing cactus that can quickly become overgrown and leggy. To keep it looking its best, prune it regularly to encourage new growth. Pruning also helps prevent the plant from becoming top-heavy and falling over. It’s possible to make three cuts in one season if you’re quick about it.

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Cut back on water and fertilizer for about a month after pruning so the wounds have time to heal. Then resume regular care. Fertilize with a light liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season, or at least once a month.

When to repot

Repotting every two to three years is typically sufficient for most cacti. However, rhipsalis elliptica is a bit different. Because this plant grows so quickly, it will need to be repotted every year or every other year. The best time to repot is in the spring after the plant has had a chance to rest and recuperate from the winter months.

During this time, you can also fertilize your cactus with a water-soluble fertilizer that contains nitrogen and potassium. Place one tablespoon of fertilizer on the soil surface before watering.

If you notice that your cactus has lost some of its colors during the winter months, provide more light indoors during these cold months until new growth begins again in late spring or early summer.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Rhipsalis elliptica, like most cacti, has a winter dormancy period. During this time, the plant will stop growing and may even lose some of its leaves. It’s important to give the plant a rest during this time so that it can rejuvenate itself.

To do this, simply stop watering it and allow the soil to dry out completely. Once spring arrives, you can start watering again and the plant should resume growth. If the plant hasn’t started growing by late summer, it is probably due to a lack of light.

Moving your plants outside for part of the day or using artificial light will help them thrive.

Rhipsalis elliptica flower & fragrance

Rhipsalis elliptica

The Rhipsalis elliptica is a cactus that is known for its beautiful flowers. Although the plant does not have a strong fragrance, the flowers are very pretty and can add a touch of elegance to any room. If you are thinking about growing this plant, here are a few tips to help you get started.

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Growth rate

Rhipsalis elliptica is a fairly slow-growing cactus, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t seem to be growing very quickly. However, it can reach up to 2 feet in height and 6 feet in width, so it’s worth being patient! The best way to encourage growth is to keep the plant healthy and happy.


Rhipsalis elliptica is not considered toxic to humans or animals. However, as with all cacti, it is advisable to keep this plant out of reach of small children and pets who may be tempted to nibble on its leaves. If ingested, the plant may cause mild stomach upset.

USDA hardiness zones

Rhipsalis elliptica thrives best in USDA hardiness zones 9-11. The plant will also do well when grown indoors as a houseplant.

When it is not possible to grow the plant outdoors, try to place it where it will receive plenty of sunlight. In order to water the plant, use a pot with drainage holes and only water when the soil feels dry.

Pests and diseases

Rhipsalis elliptica is a fairly easy plant to grow, but there are a few things to watch out for. One of the most common problems is mealybugs. These pests suck the sap out of the plant, causing it to wilt and eventually die.

To get rid of mealybugs, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and wipe them away.

Another problem that can occur is root rot, which happens when the roots sit in water for too long.

To prevent this from happening, make sure the pot drains well. You can also repot your cactus every couple of years so its roots have more room to grow.