Rhipsalis pilocarpa Loefgr.
Hairy Stemmed Rhipsalis, Hairy-Fruited Wickerware Cactus
Rhipsalis pilocarpa is a cactus that grows as an epiphytic shrub with cylindrical, initially upright, later hanging stems that grow up to 16 inches (40 cm) long. At the top, stems branch into whorls. The stems and branches are dark green, tinged red in full sun, and covered with white hairs growing from the areoles. Flowers are small, fragrant, white with pink centers, bell-shaped, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter, and appear at the stems' ends. Fruits are spherical, red to maroon, with bristle-like spines and up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zone 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
Rhipsalis do not thrive in direct sunlight. Exposure to the afternoon sun can burn the leaves, turn them yellow or lead to spotting. However, without sufficient sunlight, they will not bloom, and its growth can be stunted. These cacti do best with morning sun and full shade in the afternoon.
As Rhipsalis is commonly grown indoors, care must be given to the placement of the plants. They should be kept at least 20 inches (50 cm) away from windows that receive midday or afternoon sun. The glass in the windows can multiply the heat from the sun's rays, causing sunburned leaves. Keep in mind that in its native environment, Rhipsalis is accustomed to receiving light that has been filtered through dense, overhanging tree branches. Picturing this environment can help you adjust your lighting accordingly.
Rhipsalis is not a drought-resistant plant, so regular watering is essential. Overwatering, however, can cause weak stems and rotted roots. Using a watering can help you measure the amount of water you are providing. The pot's size compared to the size of the plant, the humidity levels in the home, and the type of potting soil used can all affect the watering frequency. See more at How to Grow and Care for Rhipsalis.
Endemic to Brazil.
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Hairy Stemmed Rhipsalis, Wickerware Cactus
Rhipsalis pilocarpa is an epiphytic cactus from Brazil. The common name says it all, Hairy Stemmed Rhipsalis. Rhipsalis pilocarpa will have more hairs than this indoor plant if planted in a better lit location. The Wickerware Cactus trails with narrow stems to 4 feet or more. Rhipsalis pilocarpa will turn red with more light or cooler temperatures. My outdoor temperatures dip to 18° F or below so this guy gets to stay indoors, they will survive down to 30°F. Rhipsalis pilocarpa is rare in the wild and becoming more so. Rhipsalis pilocarpa produces these beautiful white flowers in the Spring. The Hairy Stemmed Rhipsalis is fairly easy to propagate, a cutting poked into well drained cactus mix or lava will do. Rhipsalis pilocarpa is pretty forgiving when the water doesn't come for a while but gets thread thin.
White Flower on Rhipsalis pilocarpa - Hairy Stemmed Rhipsalis, Wickerware Cactus. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.
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Last modified: January 27, 2021
Rhipsalis will grow in full shade, though growth will be slower and flowers less likely, so it’s fine for a light position indoors. In full sun the foliage, which is the real point of the exercise, yellows and looks sick. Too much water is worse than not enough, especially in winter.
Rhipsalis pilocarpa (Hairy Stemmed Rhipsalis) is a species of flowering plant in the cactus family. It has dark green to purple stems, sometimes unbranched, up to 40 cm long, covered with fine white hairs growing from the areoles. The blooms are very fragrant, small, up to 2 cm broad, white with pink centers, slender and bell-like but open widely and appear at the ends of the stems. The branches often end in three to six smaller branches. The blossoms are followed by hairy red to maroon fruits.
Scientific Name: Rhipsalis pilocarpa
Synonyms: Erythrorhipsalis pilocarpa
Common Names: Hairy Stemmed Rhipsalis, Hairy-Fruited Wickerware Cactus.
It thrives best in bright indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight. Exposure to afternoon sun can burn the leaves, turn them yellow, or lead to spotting.
It grows well in slightly acidic, well-drained, mix of two parts peat moss and one part sand with one part fine-grade fir bark.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil evenly moist but never allow your plant to sit in water. You can allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering. During the winter months, reduce watering.
It prefers ideal temperatures between 70 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit / 21 – 24 degrees Celsius at daytime and 60 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit / 16 – 21 degrees Celsius during nighttime.
Fertilize once a month with a balanced, general-purpose fertilizer during the growing season. Do not fertilize the plant during winter.
It can be easily propagated by seed or stem cuttings. Use a sharp knife to take stem cuttings. A milky, white sap may ooze from the cuttings, so allow the cut ends to dry for one day. Then insert the cut end into a sterile potting medium. Keep the medium barely moist until the plants germinate.
Pests and Diseases:
Rhipsalis pilocarpa has no serious pest or disease problems.