Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides (Clumpy Mistletoe Cactus)

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides

Last updated on September 3rd, 2022 at 03:25 pm

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides, also known as clumpy mistletoe cactus, or Rhipsalis mesembryanthemum, is one of the most peculiar-looking succulents you’ll ever see. Native to South America, this plant forms clusters of cylindrical green leaves that look remarkably like they are covered in white cobwebs and grey-green clumps.

Its unusual appearance makes it an interesting addition to any collection, and this easy-to-grow plant makes it ideal for those just starting out with houseplants and succulents.

Cultivating the clumpy mistletoe cactus can be rewarding and fun. However, it’s essential to find this plant in its native habitat before bringing it home and attempting to grow it in your home or office. Otherwise, you may discover that this plant requires more maintenance than you are prepared to give it!

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides are extremely easy to grow and propagate, making them a wonderful addition to any collection of indoor cacti and succulents. Learn more about the interesting history of this unique plant and how to care for it properly so you can experience its beauty for years to come!

Origin and distribution

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemum is a cactus that originates from South America. It is found in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. This cactus prefers to grow in shady areas with moist soil. It can also be found growing on other plants, such as trees. The Clumpy Mistletoe Cactus gets its name from its habit of growing in clumps.

These are called cups by some people. There are around thirty different species of this type of cactus. These range in color from green to red and orange, depending on the level of sunlight they receive. In addition, these types of cacti have unusually shaped stems. They do not always grow straight up and down but sometimes lean or bend over.

In terms of care, it is important to note that these types of cacti cannot handle being watered very often because they store water in their leaves rather than their roots like most other types of succulents do.

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides propagation

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemum can be propagated by stem cuttings or by seed. To propagate by stem cuttings, take a sharp knife and cut a 3-4 inch piece from the end of a healthy stem. Allow the cutting to callous over for a few days, then plant in a well-draining cactus mix.

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Water lightly and keep in a warm, bright spot but out of direct sunlight. New growth should appear within a few weeks. If not, it is probably too cold and you need to move it to a warmer location. Once new growth appears, continue watering and fertilizing as needed until established (2-3 months).

When ready to transplant, make sure the roots are covered with soil and water thoroughly. To propagate by seed, collect mature fruit in late summer and allow them to dry out on paper towels overnight. Crack open the fruit capsules and remove seeds with a little help from your fingers.

Plant them 1/8 deep in moistened potting soil mixed with perlite. Cover pot with plastic wrap, place near a window where they will get plenty of light, and wait for them to germinate – about 2-3 weeks.

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides care information

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides is a slow-growing, epiphytic cactus that can reach up to 4 feet in length. It has thin, cylindrical stems that are densely clustered together, giving the plant a clumpy appearance. The stems are green with brownish-red tips and are covered in small, white spines.

Light requirement

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides is a tropical cactus that originates from Brazil. It grows in rainforests and is epiphytic, meaning it grows on other plants. In its natural habitat, it receives filtered sunlight.

When grown as a houseplant, Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides should be placed in an east- or west-facing window. It will tolerate some direct sun, but too much sun will cause the leaves to turn yellow and the plant to wilt.

Soil/potting mix

A well-draining potting mix is important for Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides, as they are susceptible to root rot. A cactus potting mix or a mixture of perlite, sand, and potting soil will work well.

The container should be about six inches deep, with drainage holes in the bottom. The container should also have good airflow, which can be achieved by placing the container on top of pebbles in a saucer.

Rhipsalis micrantha (Mistletoe Cactus)


These cacti are native to regions with high humidity, so they need to be watered frequently. Water your plant once a week, allowing the soil to dry out in between waterings. These plants don’t like to sit in water, so make sure you’re not over watering them. If the leaves start to yellow or drop off, that’s a sign you’re watering too much.

The best way to tell if your plant needs more water is by touching the soil. It should feel damp but not wet. One thing you can do is place a few pebbles on top of the soil and pour a little bit of water onto it every day or two, this will slowly release some moisture into the pot and help keep your Rhipsalis hydrated!


There are a few things to keep in mind when fertilizing your Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides. First, be sure to use a cactus-specific fertilizer that’s high in potassium and low in phosphorus. Only fertilize during the growing season, which is typically from spring to fall.

You can either apply the fertilizer directly to the soil or mix it into the water you’re using to water your plant. And lastly, don’t fertilize too often because too much fertilizer will cause the roots to rot.


The Clumpy Mistletoe Cactus is a tropical plant that prefers warm temperatures. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will not flower or produce fruit at these lower temperatures.

The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature gets too hot, the plant may start to wilt. However, it will recover quickly if the temperature is lowered.


Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides is a cactus that thrives in high humidity. In its natural habitat, it can be found growing on other plants, often in rainforests. This cactus does best in an environment where the air is moist and there is little air movement.

If you live in an area with low humidity, you can still grow this cactus, but you will need to provide extra moisture by misting it regularly or growing it in a terrarium.

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The ideal humidity range is between 40-70%.


When pruning this cactus, be sure to use sharp, clean shears or knives and cut at a 45-degree angle about halfway through the stem. There is no need to remove the entire leaf or all of the side branches. Once you’ve cut back each branch, spray the wound with water from a hose.

The idea is not to cut off all of the plant’s leaves and starve them for sunlight. Keep in mind that succulents store water in their stems and leaves so they can withstand periods of drought. As long as there is some rainfall, your plants should be fine without additional watering.

When to repot

You’ll know it’s time to repot your Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides when the roots start to peek out of the drainage holes, or if the plant starts to tilt over. Be sure to use a well-draining potting mix, and repot in the spring or summer.

Dormancy/Winter rest

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides enters dormancy in the winter. During this time, it rests and does not grow. The plant may lose some of its leaves, but this is normal. When spring arrives, the plant will begin to grow again. It will produce a new set of leaves that are much smaller than those on the previous year’s growth.

These new leaves are sometimes called winter shoots. The rest period during the winter makes it possible for plants like these to survive periods of drought or low water availability because they do not need water while dormant.

Another reason why a short rest period can be beneficial is that there would be less food available for insect pests. In addition, if the conditions become too extreme, dormancy protects the plant from cold weather by preventing ice formation inside the cells.

The majority of desert plants go through such an annual cycle in order to make sure they survive harsh conditions.

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides flower & fragrance

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides

The Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides, or Clumpy Mistletoe Cactus, is a beautiful plant that produces lovely flowers. The flowers are white and have a sweet fragrance that is sure to please anyone who smells them.

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Growth rate

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides is a cactus that grows at a moderate to slow rate. In ideal conditions, it can grow up to 2 inches per year. However, it is more common for this cactus to only grow 1 inch per year.

When grown indoors, Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides will stay relatively small, only reaching about 12 inches in height. Outdoors, this cactus can grow much larger, up to 6 feet tall!


All parts of the Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides plant are poisonous if ingested. Symptoms of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, coma and death may occur.

If you suspect your pet has ingested this plant, please contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

USDA hardiness zones

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides grow best in USDA hardiness zones 10-11. It is an excellent houseplant or container plant, as it thrives indoors and is not considered cold-hardy.

Pests and diseases

Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides are susceptible to mealybugs, scale, and root rot. Mealybugs are small, wingless insects that suck the sap out of plants. They can be controlled with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

Scales are small, hard-bodied insects that attach themselves to plants and suck the sap out of them. They can be controlled with horticultural oil or systemic insecticides. Root rot is a fungal disease that attacks the roots of plants. It causes plants to wilt and die, especially in poor soil.

Mealybugs should be removed by handpicking or spraying them with an insecticide while they are young and easy to reach. Scales should also be removed by handpicking or spraying with an insecticide while they are young and easy to reach.

Root rot is treated by planting in well-drained soil containing plenty of organic matter; avoid heavy fertilizers which may contribute to the problem.