The plant Rhipsalis, also called by some florists twigs, belongs to the Cactus family. This genus is represented by shrubs, and it combines more than 50 different species. In natural conditions, this epiphytic plant can be found in tropical rainforests located in Africa, South Asia, as well as North and South America, and they prefer to grow on wet rocks, tree trunks, and sometimes occur on the ground. Only this cactus has a range that extends beyond the Americas. Some species of Ripsalis have long and very successfully been cultivated at home.
- Flowering. Usually in the last winter or first spring weeks. If given good and proper care, Ripsalis blooms several times a year.
- Light. Can grow in a little shade as well as in bright, diffused light.
It is recommended to place the shrub on the east or west window, but in the afternoon hours it must be protected from the direct sun rays
- Temperature regime. During the warm season - from 18 to 24 degrees, and in winter - from 15 to 17 degrees. In the room where the flower is located, the temperature should not fall below 10 degrees.
- Pouring. The substrate is moistened systematically and only after it is 1/3 dry.
- Humidity of the air. Needs higher air humidity, so a household humidifier is recommended. And you can also increase the air humidity by pouring wet pebbles into a tray and placing a container with the flower on it.
- Fertilizer. Fertilization is carried out from March to October 2 times a month, for this purpose a complex mineral fertilizer for succulents and cacti is used.
You can also use other complex fertilizers, but take them in half the dose recommended by the manufacturer (look at the package). The cactus does not need any fertiliser from October to March.
- Dormant period. During winter or after flowering for 4-6 weeks.
While the bushes are young they are often replanted once a year, with mature specimens being replanted once every 4 or 5 years. Repotting is done by transplanting.
- Propagation. By bush division, cuttings and seed.
Red flat spider mite and scab.
- Diseases. Chlorosis.
Peculiarities of Ripsalis
Ripsalis is an epiphytic shrub characterized by strong branching and aerial roots. All representatives of this genus have pubescence on the surface of the above-ground parts, and none of the species has prickles.
Leaf-shaped descending tapering articulate shoots in cross section may be rounded, ribbed or flat. Areoles are located on the surface of the shoots. Actinomorphic small flowers have a corolla, which may be colored yellow, pinkish, white or orange. The flowers are placed either at the top of the stem or along its entire length. Ripsalis produce berry-like, juicy fruits the size of gooseberries, and they may be colored black, white or pink.
Home care for Ripsalis
Ripsalis cactus is unpretentious when grown at home. But for the plant to grow and develop normally, it has to be provided with conditions as close to natural as possible, such as optimal temperature and light, and timely watering and nutrition.
In the warm months, the cactus grows best at 18 to 24 degrees. During the winter months, the flower rests and gains strength, and at this time it needs to be cool (15 to 17 degrees). He is able to withstand a short-term drop in temperature to 10 degrees.
However, you must not allow ripalis to stay in a room at 10 degrees of heat for a long time. If you can't move the bush to a cooler place for the winter, it will be fine all winter at normal room temperature.
This cactus grows in natural conditions in the shade of the rain forest, so direct sunlight can be very damaging to it. Therefore, it is highly undesirable to choose a southern window for it. It will grow best on a window sill facing west or east, but remember to protect it from direct sunlight in the afternoons.
You can place the plant in the back of the room or in a northern window if you like, but its growth and development will be slower and it may not flower at all.
Moisten the potting soil only when it has dried to 1/3rd of its depth. To tell you whether it is time to water the cactus or not, take a long wooden stick and stick it into the substrate (you have to reach all the way to the bottom of the flower pot). Take the stick out and judging by the clinging soil mixture determine its moisture level. If the plant is at room temperature in winter, moisten the substrate in the same way as in the warm season, especially if the air in the room is very dry with heating appliances.
In winter time moisten the earth-mix, too, only after it has dried to the depth of one third.
Pouring Ripsalis only with water well settled for two days or with water passed through a filter, the temperature of which should be close to room temperature. Moistening the substratum, remember that watering must not be both too scanty and too abundant, since in both cases this will have an extremely negative effect on the cactus health.
In nature Ripsalis grows in conditions of high air humidity. This is why it also needs high humidity at home.
And to increase air humidity you can use a common household humidifier. If you can not afford a humidifier, humidify the air in the room with a sprayer several times a week, and even the pot with a cactus can be placed on a wide tray filled with moist clay pebbles or hay. It is also very good to give the plant a warm shower on occasion to remove dust and freshen it up.
The Ripsalis has a growing season in March/October and therefore needs additional nutrients at this time. Fertilisers are applied regularly twice a month and a liquid mineral compound fertiliser for succulents and cacti is used.
Instead of such a fertilizer, you can use the usual mineral complexes designed for house flowers, but in this case, the dosage recommended by the manufacturer, reduce by half. Feeding Ripsalis, remember that there should not be too much nitrogen in the substrate, as this can have an extremely negative impact on its health. During the dormancy period, which lasts from October to March, the bush is not fed, but only if it is in a cool place (from 15 to 17 degrees). During the warm winter period, fertilizers should be applied regularly in the same dose.
While the Ripsalis is young, it requires annual transplanting, a mature plant should be transplanted once every 3 years and mature one even less often, only once in 4 or 5 years.
The fragile root system of such a plant is very close to the surface of the substrate, so choose a wide, but low flower pots for transplanting. Transplant the bush very carefully, using for this method of transplanting, and try to keep the earth lump on the root system intact.
First, at the bottom of the pot make a drainage layer of expanded clay, the thickness of which should be equal to ¼ of the height of the container. This prevents water stagnation in the cactus roots. Then move the plant from the old pot into a new one, and fill all the empty spaces with a special soil mixture, which should be slightly acidic or neutral.
To prepare it, combine the peat, river sand, turf and leaf soil (all ingredients are taken in equal parts). Also suitable for transplanting a substrate consisting of sand, leaf and turf soil (1:2:4). To disinfect the substrate and prevent root rot, put a small amount of charcoal in the substrate.
House flowers/plants. Ripsalis chathiora.
Repotting-renewal. Hibiscus blooms.
Most often the indoor Ripsalis blooms in the last winter or first spring weeks. However, it also happens that a cactus does not bloom at all, and this is very perplexing for a florist. In this case, experts advise to pay attention to the conditions under which it is growing cactus, namely: whether he had enough light and nutrients, and whether you correctly water it.
It also happens that the bush throws off the already formed buds. This can occur if the root system is rotten, the clod in the pot is completely dry or the plant has been moved elsewhere.
Ripensation by cuttings
Ripsalis can be very easily propagated by cuttings. To do this, break off part of an adult (not old or too young) stem and leave it outdoors for a while to dry out. To root such cuttings florists do not use water, they are immediately planted in a moistened mixture consisting of one part of peat and the same amount of river sand.
Most quickly cuttings put down roots in the heat (23 to 25 degrees). To create a greenhouse effect, it is recommended to cover the container from above with a transparent cap, but do not forget to air the cuttings every day, as well as to remove condensation from the cover in time.
The plant can be multiplied by shrub division during transplanting. However, you must be very careful when dividing because the root system is very brittle. The divisions are planted in pots prepared in advance, with a layer of drainage at the bottom, using the same soil as for transplanting (see above).
Transplanted dividers must be well watered. At first, the bushes should be shaded from direct sunlight.
Growing from seeds
Generative method of propagation of such a plant is not very popular among florists. However, if desired, it is still possible to grow Ripsalis from seeds. To do this, they are sown in a small container filled with a suitable substrate, and watered regularly so that the soil mixture was always a little moist.
Seedlings appear amicably. When the seedlings have become strong and mature they are picked and kept warm (23-25°C).
Transplanting Ripsalis to Lechusa PON. Better to do well today than great next week.
Diseases and pests
Chlorosis can do great damage to Ripsalis.
It causes the leaves to become shallow and yellow, and to fall off prematurely, with the veins remaining green. Buds and flowers become deformed. The root system is also affected by the disease, and this can lead to its death. To prevent chlorosis, Ripsalis is recommended to provide the necessary amount of light, and for planting or transplanting, choose a soil mixture of suitable acidity (pH 5.0-5.
5). In some cases, the disease begins to develop because of tap water, as its pH can reach 7.0. In this case, experts advise systematically pouring the substrate in containers with water dissolved in it with a small amount of citric acid. Such water should taste only slightly acidic.
In addition, the flower is systematically fed with iron in chelated form, because this element is the fastest way for them to assimilate. However, remember that such a nutrient solution is used for foliar feeding.
The most dangerous pests for this plant are red flat spider mites and scale mites. If the plant has been infested you must first remove the adults from the cactus with a cotton swab moistened with soap and water or alcohol. This is because adult scales are covered with a tough shell, which protects them and their eggs from any poisons.
Rinse the cactus thoroughly under a warm shower and wait until it dries completely. Then be sure to spray it with a solution of a suitable insecticide, for example: Actara, Actellic, Fytoverm, etc. If there are a lot of pests, you cannot get rid of them at once, so be prepared for a long struggle with them and for several treatments.
Spider mites will only settle on Ripsalis if the air in the room is very dry. However, such a plant requires constant high air humidity, so if you provide it with proper care, there should be no problems with mites.
But if you find pests on a cactus, try to make sure that there is always plenty of humidity around the plant. Start by giving the bush a warm shower and then moisten the air around it every day. In conditions of high humidity mites will not be able to exist. However, if there are a lot of pests on the bush, you can no longer get rid of them so easily. In this case, the flower is showered, and then it is sprayed with a solution of any acaricide preparation, the most effective of which are such as: Aktellik, Aktara, Sunmait, Apollo and Klechevit.
Ripsalis species and varieties with photos and names
Ripsalis cereuscula, or Ripsalis candlestick. This species is most popular with florists. Growing in different directions, short and thin second-order shoots form a three-dimensional lush lace. The long main stems have an arched shape. During flowering, white-colored flowers appear on the bush, reaching about 20 mm across.
But this species blooms very rarely in indoor conditions, and blooms are sparse even if the Rhipsalis has been given the most favorable growing conditions.
Unlike the species described above, this plant has more powerful and stiff stems that do not branch very much. Their surface is covered with pubescence, which consists of hairs of a pale yellow hue. If such a ripensalis is grown in optimal conditions for it, it can bloom up to three times during the year. Fragrant whitish-yellow flowers look fluffy because they have many stamens and petals.
The flowers themselves are up to 2.5 cm across. When these flowers are pollinated, it won't be long before the shrub produces globular, crimson-colored fruit. Such fruits are as spectacular as the flowers.
Ripsalis pachyptera (Rhipsalis pachyptera)
Or Ripsalis thick-winged.
This is the most popular representative of the group of Ripsalis with leaf-like shoots. Such a plant has very large shoots, in some cases their width can be as wide as the palm of the hand. The shoots are glossy with a festooned edge, and they are colored dark green with a red cast. Along the edge of the leaf blossoms pale yellow flowers, about 15 mm across, adorned with numerous stamens.
Rhipsalis hairy (Rhipsalis capilliformis)
This ampelous epiphytic plant has soft, thin, greenish coloured, branching shoots which form a dense, descending bush.
The shoots can reach a length of about 1.2 m. Sometimes this species blooms and then it produces many small whitish colored flowers. Such a plant is especially spectacular when mature.
Ripsalis cassutha (Rhipsalis cassutha)
Or Ripsalis hollowbush.
This species can have thin, hanging shoots up to three meters long. They contain many segments, and the length of each of them can be 3-55 centimeters. During flowering, small flowers are produced, and the fruits of this species are similar to gooseberry berries after ripening.
Ripsalis burchellii (Rhipsalis burchellii)
This epiphytic succulent plant is also grown in room conditions. Its primary stems reach up to 0.
6 m in length. And the terminal shoots are about 60 mm long, with no more than 2 mm across.
Ripsalis lindbergiana (Rhipsalis lindbergiana)
This species has primary stems that are about 100 cm long and up to 0.5 cm across. Its secondary segments are not as long.
The small flowers are colored light pink.
Ripsalis curly (Rhipsalis crispata)
The lush bush of this succulent consists of dangling stems. And these stems are composed of flat, elongated segments, each adorned with a small, cream-colored flower. When there are no flowers on the bush, it looks a lot like a slumberberry.
Rhipsalis elliptica (Rhipsalis elliptica)
The elongated stems of such a plant include long sections.
The total length of each shoot is about 150 cm, and each of the segments can reach up to 10 centimeters in length. Each of the segments produces small flowers on the lateral faces, which have pubescence on the surface.
Ripsalis fluffy (Rhipsalis floccosa)
This species is relatively large, its long stems round in cross section eventually become woody. During flowering, small white-colored flowers form along the entire length of the stem. If pollination occurs, white globular-shaped fruits are produced on the bush.
Ripsalis oblonga (Rhipsalis oblonga)
The stems of this ampelous species consist of large segments that are similar in shape to the leaves of an oak.
Ripsalis russellii (Rhipsalis russellii)
This plant produces very showy, deep pink-colored fruits along the entire length of its stems.
This species has baton-shaped shoots that branch very strongly; they are round in cross-section and include many short segments. During flowering, the bush is decorated with large white flowers that form only on the tops of the shoots.
Ripsalis strange (Rhipsalis paradoxa)
Or Ripsalis paradoxa.
This species is beloved by florists for its unusual and also very showy appearance. The fact is that its tall ribs consist of segments alternating with flat gaps.
This species is among the most showy. Its main stems are covered with short second-order shoots that sit on them very tightly, just as the needles sit on the branches of a spruce. During the winter months, during flowering, snow-white, star-shaped flowers, up to 15 mm across, are formed between the second-order shoots.
This species has dangling stems about 50 centimeters long, not exceeding 0.5 centimeters in diameter, their cross section cylindrical. On their tops there are 5-12 short segments, which grow in whorls. Small whitish-yellow flowers, reaching about 10 millimeters across, adorn the bush during the flowering period.
In culture, Ripsalis ramulosa is still very popular.
However, this plant is a pseudoripsalis, it is also known by many under the name of "red mistletoe cactus". The fact is that this species is part of a completely different genus, although it belongs to the same family as Ripsalis.
Ripsalis is a forest AMPLE cactus. Care and breeding at home