Rice Cactus (Rhipsalis Cereuscula)

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Although Rhipsalis cereuscula is referred to as a cactus, it is a succulent. It is commonly called, “Rice Cactus ” because of its thin, long, and cylindrical stems with tiny bristle-like spines that grow downward. Its stems resemble chubby rice grains.

One of the best hanging plants there is. From its basket, it drapes strands of beautiful tiny flowers in different colors – a striking kaleidoscope! Follow the instructions below and your Brazilian Rice Cactus will delight you.

How to Grow Rice Cactus (Rhipsalis Cereuscula)

The Rhipsalis cereuscula is often referred to as a cactus, but it is epiphytic and evergreen succulent.

1. Soil Requirements

Just like all succulents, the Rice Cactus grows and thrives in well-drained and slightly acidic soil.

It is best to use a mixture of two parts peat moss, one part fine fir bark, and one part sand. Alkaline soil is also good for this succulent.

Also, It is best to place a bed of clay balls, pumice, perlite, or gravel at the bottom of the pot so water will not sit on the roots of the plant.

Adding some organic matter to the soil can enhance the growth of the Rice Cactus.

2. Propagation

It is easy to propagate Rhipsalis Cereuscula through stem cuttings and seeds.

Propagating through stem cuttings:

Use a sharp knife to cut off some stems from the plant.

Allow the stem cuttings to dry for a day. A white, milky sap may ooze from the stem cuttings, so you need to dry the cut ends.

Insert the cut end of the stem into the potting soil.

Make sure the soil is always moist until the new Rice Cactus germinates.

Propagation is best done at the end of spring.

3. Watering and Feeding

As is typical of all succulents, the Rice Cactus has a low demand for water. It requires the most amount of water during the growing season and when it is particularly dry and hot.

During the growing season, you need to make sure that the soil is always evenly moist. This can mean watering your succulent about four to five times a week.

You should, however, not allow the Rice Cactus to sit in water.

Water your Rice Cactus every week in spring and summer or when you notice that the soil is dry. The soil and dry method of watering will enhance the plant’s nutrient absorption.

You can reduce watering to half when it starts to become chilly. Do not water the plant during the winter as it is dormant during this time.

Watering your Rice Cactus when its soil is still moist will risk overwatering the plant and may cause its roots to rot. The Rhipsalis cereuscula, though, unlike most succulents, is not drought resistant.

Your Rice Cactus will also need to be fertilized once every two weeks during the spring and summer months.

You can use a general-purpose yet balanced fertilizer during the growing season.  Use low-nitrogen, slow-releasing, and 5-10-5 compound. Prepare the fertilizer compound according to the manufacturer’s recommendation and then mix the compound with the potting soil.

You can also use cactus fertilizer but make sure to dilute it to half. Avoid fertilizing this succulent during autumn and winter.

4. Light Requirement

The Rhipsalis Cereuscula is used to growing in rainforests and under trees, so it has low light requirements.

This succulent will grow well indoors and outdoors with enough light but never in a spot where it receives direct sun. Your Rice Cactus needs bright indirect sunlight or partial shade. When exposed to direct sunlight, it may turn yellow, or its leaves may burn.

When grown indoors, place your Rice Cactus directly in an east or west-facing window. if grown outdoors, this place prefers to be in the shade all day.

You can place your Rice Cactus in direct sunlight in the mornings when the rays of the sun are not too harsh. A little exposure to direct sunlight will be good for the plant’s health.

5. Temperature

The ideal temperature for your Rice Cactus during the daytime is between 700F – 750F ( 210C – 240C). During the nighttime, the ideal temperature for this succulent is 600F – 700F (160C – 210C).

The Rhipsalis cereuscula prefers wetter weather but it is not cold-resistant. Plant this succulent in a container so you can take it indoors if outdoor temperatures reach over 300F (-1.10C).

The Rice Cactus is USDA hardy from 10a to 11b. This means they are not frost or cold hardy.

How to Maintain Rice Cactus (Rhipsalis Cereuscula)

The Rhipsalis Cereuscula is best grown in a pot – any pot that has drainage holes or a hanging pot. Growing it in a pot makes relocation easy especially when temperatures get too low, and you need to transfer it indoors.

Growing Rice Cactus in a pot also keeps it from spreading. Even when grown outdoors, it is still best to plant this succulent in a pot

You may need to repot your Rice Cactus when it outgrows its current pot. If planted in a large pot, you may still need to repot this succulent every two or three years. Repotting should be done after the flowering of the Rice Cactus.

The Rice Cactus is prone to sunburn resulting in spotting and yellowing of its leaves. This is when the plant is exposed to direct sunlight.

This succulent is also susceptible to fungal and root rot, as well powdery mildew when overwatered. This is so because too much water may make its stems weak.

This succulent is not prone to any serious disease or pest issues. You may, however, need to watch out for mealybugs and scale insects. Rubbing cotton with rubbing alcohol can remove scale insects from the plant.

You do not need to prune your Rice Cactus. You should, however, cut its leaves when they are damaged by pests or due to exposure to direct sunlight.

You need to cut damaged leaves, so they do not harm other leaves. Cut the damaged leaves to maintain the aesthetic beauty of your Rice Cactus.

Names and Origins: Rice Cactus (Rhipsalis Cereuscula)

The Rice Cactus (Rhipsalis Cereuscula) is native to the tropical rainforests of South and Central America, specifically in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.

The term “Rhipsalis” comes from the word (Ancient Greek) “wickerwork” which means the morphology or physical appearance of the plant. “Cereuscula,” on the other hand, means small torch or small candies referring to the shape of the plant’s flowers.

The Rhipsalis Cereuscula’s common names include:

Rice Cactus

Mistletoe Cactus

Epiphytic Cactus

Coral Cactus

This plant thrives in USDA hardiness zone10a to 11b. It belongs to the Cactaceae family.

Other General Facts About the Rice Cactus (Rhipsalis Cereuscula)

The Rice Cactus grows in pendulous form (suspended or hanging) in spring and summer. Some grow sprawling or upright.

Older Rice Cacti produce small purple, pink, or white flowers (about 1 cm in diameter) in spring. This shrubby plant grows in spring and summer.

The Rice Cactus has bright green stems that grow in clusters to about 3 feet long. The stems are initially cylindrical but become dangly as they mature.  Its stems come with rice-shaped joints.

The Rice Cactus is an ornamental plan found mostly indoors. You can plant it in a pot or mount it into a piece of bark like an orchid. It is a perfect houseplant because when it grows larger it can be made into a hanging plant.

Final Thoughts

It is easy to care for the Rice Cactus (Rhipsalis Cereuscula).

It’s an eye-catching succulent and certainly one of the best hanging plants. They grow beautiful tiny flowers in different colors, – as if its green foliage was not sufficiently attractive and striking!

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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