Rhipsalis sulcata (Mistletoe Cactus)

Rhipsalis sulcata

Rhipsalis sulcata, also known as the rhipsalis mistletoe cactus, is an epiphytic plant that can be found growing in the southern regions of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. In the wild, it often grows on trees but can be found clinging to rocks and building facades as well as other man-made structures.

Mistletoe cactus care and tips are easy if you provide this succulent with plenty of light, warmth, and water throughout the year.

Rhipsalis cactus are grown in tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world, but particularly in South America, Mexico, Central America, and West Africa. They are called mistletoe cacti because their flowers resemble the tiny white flowers of the Christmas tree plant (Viscum album), or mistletoe, that grows on apple trees in cooler climates.

Origin and distribution

Rhipsalis sulcata is a cactus that is native to Brazil. It is also found in Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. This cactus can be found in the wild growing on other plants or trees. It can also be found in cultivation as a houseplant. Mistletoe cacti require moist soil with plenty of organic material mixed in.

They do not like soils with high salts content and are intolerant of direct sun exposure. Mistletoe cacti grow slowly and will eventually form clusters of vines that trail off of their host plant. These vines have been known to grow up to 15 feet long so provide ample room for the plant when you transplant it into your garden or home landscape.

The name mistletoe cactus comes from the way these plants attach themselves to other living things by using their roots. The ends of these roots swell up and look similar to flowers hence the common name mistletoe cactus.

Rhipsalis sulcata propagation

Rhipsalis sulcata

Rhipsalis sulcata can be propagated by stem cuttings or seeds. To propagate by stem cuttings, take a cutting that is 3-6 inches long and has at least two nodes. Place the cutting in a well-draining potting mix and water lightly. Keep the cutting in a warm, bright spot but out of direct sunlight.

The cutting should root within 4-8 weeks. To propagate by seed, sow the seeds in a well-draining potting mix and water lightly. Cover the pot with plastic wrap to maintain humidity and keep it in a warm, bright spot.

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Once sprouted, move them to brighter light as they grow. When grown enough, plant them outdoors in an area where they will receive shade during the hot hours of the day. When grown enough, plant them outdoors in an area where they will receive shade during the hot hours of the day.

When grown enough, plant them outdoors in an area where they will receive shade during the hot hours of the day.

Rhipsalis sulcata care information

Rhipsalis sulcata

Rhipsalis sulcata is relatively easy to care for and can be grown in a pot or in the ground. It does not require much water and can tolerate some neglect. However, it is important to protect this cactus from frost damage.

Rhipsalis sulcata is a beautiful, low-maintenance cactus that’s perfect for beginners. It can be grown in a pot or in the ground and prefers bright, indirect light. Water every week or two, and fertilize monthly during the growing season.

Keep an eye out for mealybugs and scale, which can damage the plant. With a little care, your Rhipsalis sulcata will thrive for years to come!

Light requirement

Rhipsalis sulcata does best in bright, indirect sunlight. If you live in a hot climate, you may want to provide some shade for your plant during the hottest hours of the day. In colder climates, rhipsalis can be grown indoors and will thrive under artificial light or as a potted houseplant near an east-facing window.

Soil/potting mix

A well-draining potting mix is essential for Rhipsalis sulcata. You can create your own mix by combining one part perlite or coarse sand with two parts peat moss or coco coir. Or, you can purchase a pre-made cactus and succulent mix from your local garden center. When planting your mistletoe cactus, make sure the soil level is below the base of the plant’s stems.


Rhipsalis sulcata is a succulent, so it does not require much water. In the spring and summer, water the plant about once a week, letting the soil dry out in between watering.

In the fall and winter, reduce watering to once every two weeks. The plant can tolerate some drought, but too little water will cause the leaves to shrivel. Overwatering will lead to rotting roots.

Schlumbergera microsphaerica

The plant also has special needs during the cold months of the year; from November through February, water it only when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry.
Watering it should make it perk up again. If not, add some more potting mix around the base of the plant and let it sit for another day or two before watering again.


Fertilize your Rhipsalis every two weeks during the growing season with a balanced cactus fertilizer. Avoid using too much fertilizer, as this can burn the roots of your plant. In the winter, you can reduce fertilization to once a month.

A good fertilizer for rhipsalis sulcata is one that is high in phosphorus and potassium. This cactus does best with a slow-release fertilizer that can be applied every two to three months. When applying fertilizer, be sure to water the plant thoroughly afterwards.

Too much fertilizer can burn the roots of the plant, so it is important to follow the directions on the fertilizer package.


Rhipsalis sulcata is a tropical cactus that prefers warm temperatures. It can tolerate some light frost, but prolonged exposure to cold will damage the plant. Rhipsalis sulcata should be kept at temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant does not like direct sunlight, so keep it in an area where it receives indirect sunlight.


Rhipsalis sulcata thrive in high humidity, so it’s important to keep the leaves misted regularly. If the leaves start to brown or drop off, it’s a sign that the plant isn’t getting enough moisture. The soil should also be kept moist, but not soggy. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. In the winter, misting can be reduced to once a week.

The ideal humidity range is between 40-60% and temperatures between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Too much heat will make the stems grow quickly, while too little will slow growth and cause yellowing on older leaves. It’s better to err on the side of too much light than too little since this cactus thrives in direct sunlight without any problems.


Rhipsalis sulcata can be pruned to remove excess growth or to shape the plant. To prune, cut the stem at the desired location with a sharp knife or shears. Make sure to sterilize your tools before and after use. Pruning will not damage the plant, but over-pruning can lead to stunted growth.

Rhipsalis baccifera (Mistletoe Cactus)

For safety, wear gloves while handling plants with spines. As with all cacti, it is best to avoid prolonged periods of drought in order to prevent root rot and other problems associated with neglect. Keep the soil slightly moist at all times.

Finally, keep an eye out for scale insects that may appear on the stems near the base of the plant. These are typically brown or black in color and cause leaves near them to turn yellow or red before falling off entirely

When to repot

If your cactus is getting too big for its pot or if the roots are coming out of the drainage holes, it’s time to repot. Choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current one and use a fresh, well-draining potting mix.

Water the cactus thoroughly before repotting and then carefully remove it from its current pot. Be sure to handle it gently, as the stems are fragile. Place it in the new pot and fill in around it with potting mix. The top of the root ball should be just below the surface of the soil.

It can take up to a year for a newly potted plant to show signs of growth again so be patient!

Dormancy/Winter rest

Rhipsalis sulcata will enter a period of dormancy in the winter. During this time, it’s important to reduce watering and allow the soil to dry out completely between watering. The plant will also lose some of its leaves during this time. Don’t be alarmed, this is normal!

Just make sure to keep an eye on your plant and give it a little extra TLC during the winter months. For example, when water is applied, try not to wet the leaves as they can trap water against the plant and cause rot. Be careful with fertilizers too! If you’re looking for nutrients, try diluting fertilizer by half or even more before applying.

A diluted fertilizer mixture won’t burn your plant’s roots as straight fertilizer would. It’s always better to err on the side of caution. That way, if your plant doesn’t need any fertilizing then there are no adverse effects!

Rhipsalis micrantha (Mistletoe Cactus)

Rhipsalis sulcata flower & fragrance

Rhipsalis sulcata

The Rhipsalis sulcata is a beautiful cactus that produces white flowers. This cactus is native to Brazil and can be found in the wild in humid, shady forests. The Rhipsalis sulcata is not fragrant, but the flowers are beautiful and make a great addition to any home.

Growth rate

Rhipsalis sulcata is a fast-growing cactus that can reach up to 2 feet in height. It has long, slender stems with greenish-yellow flowers that bloom in the spring. This cactus is native to Brazil and prefers warm, humid climates.


Rhipsalis sulcata is not considered to be toxic to humans or animals. However, the plant contains saponins which can cause stomach upset if ingested in large quantities. It is best to keep this plant out of reach of small children and pets. If you suspect your animal has ingested this plant, contact your veterinarian immediately.

USDA hardiness zones

Rhipsalis sulcata grows best in USDA hardiness zones 10-11. It does not tolerate extreme cold or heat, so it is not advisable to place this plant outside during the winter months or in direct sunlight during the summer.

Pests and diseases

Rhipsalis sulcata is susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies. Mealybugs are small, wingless insects that are covered in a white, waxy powder. They suck the sap out of plants, which can cause leaf drops and stunted growth. Spider mites are tiny spider-like creatures that spin webs on the undersides of leaves.

They also suck the sap out of plants and can cause yellowing and stippling of leaves. Whiteflies lay eggs on the underside of leaves, causing a sticky residue. The nymphs create large amounts of honeydew as they feed off plant juices and this sweet substance attracts ants.

All three pests excrete large amounts of waste material as they feed, so if left untreated these pests will eventually kill your plant.