Repotting and Propagating Rhipsalis


When to repot, what soil medium to use and when to propagate is very important for any Rhipsalis grower. Rhipsalis are sometimes referred to as ‘jungle cactus’ as they are a type of epiphytic cactus (living on other plants without damaging them). This is the third year I have had my beautiful Rhipsalis Robusta, this means it is time for a repot. All Rhipsalis should be repotted every 2 – 3 years as their roots can become very dense, it appears that mine is nearly all just root system and hardly any soil!

It is said that Rhipsalis are best kept in breathable containers such as terracotta or ceramic however, mine has thrived in a plastic pot for years, use what you have but be sure that the soil is well draining. When I started growing Rhipsalis I just used the same mix as I would prepare for any other succulent, now with more research I have started using a mix of perlite, orchid bark and succulent and cactus soil, this makes for a much more free draining mix but will also help retain some moisture without water-logging.

It is the beginning of summer here in Brisbane, Australia and your Rhipsalis should have already had a few good drinks of fertiliser in spring. If you have not fertilised, do so now as it’s growing season starts in spring and will continue through to late summer. As you are now aware (if not already) that spring and summer are Rhipsalis growing season, it would also make sense to take cuttings at this time. I was given 3 new Rhipsalis species early spring, they took a little longer to root but with some patience I have now 3 healthy, happy specimens to add to my collection.

Last but not least, as Rhipsalis grows naturally in the rainforests of South America, the Caribbean, and Central America it is important to give it a similar living environment. Rhipsalis do best in morning sun and afternoon shade, if kept indoors, keep you plant away from glass windows in the heat of the day as the glass reflects off the leaves and can burn them quite easily. Mine live under my patio and receive filtered light all day. I do however move mine throughout the year depending on the season. You can spot when your Rhipsalis has received too much sun, my Robusta seems to have copped a bit too much sun this year as I didn’t move it as soon as the season changed. It now has flourishes of orange on the leaves, this is a sure sign it was getting a little too much sun. Your Rhipsalis should never need more than one good drink once a week and much less in winter, it’s season of dormancy. Remember, Rhipsalis is not your average succulent… it is not drought tolerant so it is important to keep up water in it’s growth season! If unsure, you can either buy a water meter or use the old fashioned method of sticking your index finger into the soil to see how damp it is, it should never be completely dry but if it still feels reasonably damp, maybe wait a few more days before watering again 😉

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