Rhipsalis cereuscula (Coral Cactus)

Common Name: “Coral Cactus”; “Rice Cactus”; “Mistletoe Cactus”

Scientific Classification:
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Sub-Family: Cactoideae
Genus: Rhipsalis
Species: R. cereuscula

Native To: Uruguay and Brazil

Growing Specs: Unlike most cacti that grow in dry and arid climates, epiphytic cacti are found growing on trees in Central and South American rainforests.

  • Appearance: Rhipsalis cereuscula is a short, shrubby epiphytic cactus that grows up to 3 feet long. Forms small light green stems crowned with clusters of tiny “rice” shaped joints. Segmented stems have an upright growing habit that start to spill over as the size of the plant increases.
  • Flowering: Flowers are bell shaped, white to pinkish, and up to a half inch long.
  • Hardiness: Hardy to about 30 degrees F.

Care Requirements: Since this plant is native to rainforests, it will need significantly more water than most cacti or succulents. It does not thrive in full sun or direct sunlight. On the other hand, it needs enough sunlight in order to bloom, and without enough light, the growth will be stunted. Be sure to give it well-draining soil, but don’t let it dry out too much between waterings.

Check out these tips from World of Succulents on growing Jungle Cacti.

Propagation: Allow leaf cutting to callous over until planting directly in soil.

Toxicity: As with all Euphorbias, when a plant gets damaged, it exudes a thick white milky sap known as latex. This latex is poisonous and particularly dangerous for the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. Therefore, it can be poisonous to pets if ingested. Check out my Pet Safety Guide for more information.

Xylem Rising’s Observations: Morning sun with afternoon shade is best. It does need decent light, but it doesn’t want full sun or a lot of heat. Morning sun is less strong than afternoon sun, so try to place it somewhere with Eastern exposure. This plant is on my Top 7 Houseplants that are Completely Indestructible list. It’s very easy to care for, and I tend to just leave it alone and water every 3 weeks. I did see mealybugs on it once, but that is because it was next to another plant that had mealybugs. I addressed them immediately, and all is well!

If you do have mealybugs, check out this video tutorial I made on how to get rid of them:



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All photo rights belong to Cristie R. Kiley. Please ask permission before taking.

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