When I first came across this little plant, it was labeled a rhipsalis; later the name hatiora came up. I have finally settled on rhipsalis hatiora salicornioides.
By either name, this is an epiphytic cactus, which means that it grows on other plants, but not as a parasite. Simply looking for a place to live, the roots of the cactus anchor it in the crotches of tree branches in the rain forests of South and Central America and parts of the Caribbean. Organic matter collects there, decomposes, and provides a light, loose growing medium for the cactus, which means you will want to use a well-draining soil when you plant it.
Rhipsalis is in the same family as other epiphytic cactus, Christmas cactus being one of the more popular ones, and orchids, which also grow on trees in the rainforests. These plants are classified as cactus rather than succulents, but they are a tad different as you can see from their growth pattern, their use of less sun and more water than most cactus, and spines that are there, but just barely.
Rainforests are called that because, well, it rains a lot in those forests, right? And there are many trees, which means there is an abundance of shade. Now, shade and lots of rain aren’t conditions usually associated with cactus, and it has been my experience with rhipsalis that is does indeed like a bit more water than other cactus. I have never put mine out in full sun, either, so for me a bit more water and a bit less sun seems to work. This little cactus may like more frequent watering, but won’t like sitting in soggy wet soil for too long.
This particular variety has yellow flowers which are blooming now. The literature says to keep them drier when they are not blooming, but check from time to time. If the branches look browner and shriveled, I would water more often.
This is a cactus with an uncharacteristic cactus look that adds a different texture and interest if you choose to put it with other cactus and succulents in a dish garden. They also look good in hanging baskets or as a specimen plant all by itself. And they are pretty when in full bloom. So you might consider adding one to your collection.
Beautiful plant Alice. Mine hasn’t ever flowered like that, but I think it’s due to lack of sunlight. Nice to see such an impressive specimen – the flowers, though small, are stunning! Keep up the good work!
Thanks! Mine gets filtered sunlight, but sunshine can make a difference. I mentioned that I water mine more than most cactus, so you might try that, too. Thanks for reading.
I’ve been searching for my awesome plant I’ve had for years… thank you so much for giving me all that good info!!! I want to show you my cactus (which I never knew it was a cactus!!!) send me an email!!!
Glad I could be of some help! Email will be forthcoming.
Thank you! I believe I have finally identified my plant which I got from cuttings from my sister-in-law. Had no idea it could flower! I will try to give it what it needs to be healthy.
You are welcome! Thanks for reading.
I’ve had mine in soil for years and it hasn’t bloomed or really thrived. Would you suggest adding a mix of cactus soil with the potting soil?
Repotting with soil that provides for easier drainage might help. I find this plant likes a bit more water than other succulents, so you might adjust your watering schedule. Also, when a plant isn’t doing well in one spot, sometimes a change in location helps, especially if you can give it more sunlight. These plants are native to rainforests, believe it or not!-so they like sunlight but not necessarily bright strong sunlight like you would give a cactus. I do think a change in location would be worth a try. Good luck.