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Rhipsalis cereuscula, or coral plant, photographed at Tula Plants & Design. Rhipsalis cereuscula, or coral plant, photographed at Tula Plants & Design.

Rhipsalis cereuscula

Botanical Name — Rhipsalis cereuscula
Common Name — Coral Cactus, Rice Cactus
Plant Family — Cactaceae

Background

Rhipsalis cereuscula is native to tropical rainforests in Uruguay and Brazil. It is a shrubby jungle cactus that is an epiphyte that grows on tree trunks and rocks (lithophytic). Its common name refers to the clusters of tiny, cylindrical “rice” shaped joints that are formed at the ends of long, slender branches.


Growth Requirements

Sun

  • Rhipsalis cereuscula grows best in bright to medium indirect light. Avoid the leaves from receiving too much direct light since that can burn them.
  • An ideal spot is right in front of an east-facing window or a few feet back from a south or west-facing window.


Temperature/ Humidity

  • Coral cacti like room temperatures around 65 to 80 F. Night time temperatures can go down to 60 F. They like to be warm and are not cold tolerant.
  • They like high humidity, but this is not essential. Rhiplsalis will do fine in a normal household environment. Mist occasionally if your home is dry in the winter.

 


Water

  • Rhipsalis like to be moist but not wet. In the warmer months, let dry 1” below the soil and water thoroughly. In the winter months, water less.


Soil/Roots

  • Rhipsalis cereuscula like a fast draining, nutrient rich soil.
  • A good mix for jungle cacti is 25% potting soil, 1 part perlite, one 1 peat and 1 part orchid bark.


Flowering

  • Greenish white bell shaped flowers bloom in the summer months.


Fertilization

  • These plants do not require fertilizer though it can be added to give container grown plants a boost or to supplement poor soil. Apply a water-soluble, cacti fertilizer monthly during spring and summer, diluted at half strength.


Propagation

  • Rhipsalis cereuscula plants propagate reliably from stem cuttings. Use a clean sharp knife to remove a healthy branch. Allow it to dry out for a couple of days, and then place the cutting in well-draining soil. Water when the soil is completely dry.


Health

Diseases

  • Watch out for common pests: aphids and mealybugs.
  • Overwatering can cause root rot.


Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)

  • This plant grows and blooms best when somewhat rootbound. Repot every two or three years, moving it to a pot just 1 inch wider if needed. Handle this plant with care since the segments are delicate and will break off easily.


Toxicity

  • Rhipsalis cereuscula is toxic to humans and pets and should not be ingested. The sap can cause skin irritation.