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10 Rhipsalis Varieties to Grow in Australia

Rhipsalis are epiphytic cacti that lend themselves beautifully to growing in hanging pots. These plants are hardy and easy to grow.

What’s great about this species of cacti is that they don’t have those sharp spines found on other species that you might be familiar with. 

To care for these plants, all you have to do is grow them in a free-draining cactus potting mix, and water them well in summer but ensure that their roots never sit in water. 

If you live in a warmer climate in the more tropical or subtropical areas of the country, you can grow Rhipsalis outdoors in a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. 

However, in cooler parts of the country, these plants are best grown indoors.

Here are some popular varieties to look out for:

Rhipsalis baccifera

Rhipsalis baccifera 1 | Plant varieties
Rhipsalis baccifera

This is one of the most outstanding plants in this genus. The stems are long, thin and branched. In the plant’s natural habitat, these stems can reach a length of 9 metres.

White flowers appear along the lengths of the smooth stems from tiny areoles. After flowering, berries appear that can be white, red or pink.

Rhipsalis campos-portoana

Rhipsalis campos portoana | Plant varieties
Rhipsalis campos-portoana / Photo by NasserHalaweh / Wikimedia (cropped) / CC BY-SA 4.0

This is an interesting species with long thin fleshy stem sections that join together to form a cascade of foliage ideal for a hanging basket. Tiny white flowers appear on the ends of the stem sections.

After flowering, the plant produces small orange fruits on the ends of the stems.

Rhipsalis catenulata

Rather than having pencil-like stems, this species has long thin stem sections that are flattened. The stems are segmented and can reach great lengths. 

Along these stems, there are numerous areoles with flattened spines. Dainty white flowers will emerge from these. 

Rhipsalis cereuscula

Rhipsalis cereuscula | Plant varieties
Rhipsalis cereuscula / Photo by Christer Johansson / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 2.5

This species is quite unique in that it is more mound-forming rather than pendulant. It has short, thin fleshy stem sections that are often branched. These have tiny hairs on them.

As the plant grows, the stem sections will get longer and eventually trail down over the edges of the pot. Flowers will form at the end of the stem sections but these appear like small white tufts.

Rhipsalis pilocarpa

Rhipsalis pilocarpa | Plant varieties
Rhipsalis pilocarpa

This species also has thin fleshy stems but these are covered with areoles from which white hairs grow. The stems are mostly dark green in colour but they can be tinged with red when the plant is exposed to full sun.

Small white flowers grow from the areoles on the stems and these are fragranced. After flowering, the plant produces red fruits that have bristly spines and these look quite stunning.

Rhipsalis clavata

Rhipsalis clavata | Plant varieties
Rhipsalis clavata / Photo by David J. Stang / Wikimedia (cropped) / CC BY-SA 4.0

This is quite a striking species with long pendulous stems that are almost lime green in colour. These stems can reach a length of 1 metre.

Flowers appear at the ends of the stems and look like small white hanging bells. Like most Rhipsalis species, fruits will appear after the flowers and these are generally white or yellow.

Rhipsalis paradoxa

This species is more commonly called the chain cactus because it has long chain-like stems consisting of four-sided segments that twist as they grow. 

In early spring, small white flowers will appear from the areoles along the stem segments.

Rhipsalis crispata

Rhipsalis crispata | Plant varieties
Rhipsalis crispata / Photo by Peter A. Mansfeld / Wikimedia / CC BY 3.0

This species has flat fleshy leaves with heavily serrated edges. These leaves form segmented stems and can easily reach a length of 2 metres. 

Along the serrations on the leaves, there are areoles that have bristly hairs. In winter, the plant will bloom and you can expect around one to four flowers to emerge from these areoles. 

These tiny flowers are creamy-white and once they’re spent, small red berries will emerge in their place.

Rhipsalis puniceodiscus

This species is similar to Rhipsalis campos-portoana except that it has slightly thicker stems that are not as heavily branched. The stems are also a darker green colour. 

If you look closely at the stems, you’ll notice small areoles and from these attractive white flowers will grow. After flowering, the plant produces orange fruit.

Rhipsalis sulcata

Rhipsalis sulcata | Plant varieties
Rhipsalis sulcata

This is another attractive species that has long trailing segmented stems. These stems are heavily branched with the branched segments being a little flatter than the main stems.

Small white flowers appear in spring and these are followed by white fruits or berries.

FAQ

Is Rhipsalis a succulent?

Yes, Rhipsalis is a succulent but is classed as a cactus. However, all cacti are succulents.

Do Rhipsalis like full sun?

Rhipsalis grow naturally in the forests of Brazil, Africa and parts of Asia. They do not like to grow in full sun. They prefer some morning sun and need to be sheltered from the hot afternoon sun.

What is the difference between Rhipsalis baccifera and capilliformis?

Although Rhipsalis baccifera and capilliformis are quite similar in appearance, R. capilliformis has much thinner stems. This means that it needs to be watered more often because the fleshy stems cannot hold as much water.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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2 thoughts on “10 Rhipsalis Varieties to Grow in Australia”

    • I don’t think you can purchase cuttings. When I worked as a professional propagator, we used to collect our cuttings from local parks and gardens. I think the owner of the nursery would have sought permission from the local council. Other than that, see if anyone you know has a plant or see if there is one growing in your neighbourhood and ask if you can take a few cuttings.

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