How to Grow and Care for the Mistletoe Cactus

The mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera) is a tropical epiphytic plant, loved as a houseplant for its fine, unique foliage and slow-growing habit.

Native to the tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Central America, and Africa, this cactus grows naturally on tree branches below the forest canopy, drawing moisture and nutrients from the surrounding air and the host plant.

Like other epiphytic plants such as orchids, aerial plants, bromeliads, and some types of ferns, the mistletoe cactus has adapted well to indoor growing and is popular as a houseplant. Their logs fall beautifully in hanging baskets and their striking foliage is sure to liven up any environment.

Mistletoe cactus care

The mistletoe cactus generally requires little maintenance and is easy to grow indoors. Unlike desert cacti and succulents, this tropical cactus prefers indirect light and humid, humid environments.

While other epiphytic cacti, such as the herringbone cactus and the Christmas cactus, are grown primarily for their showy flowers, the mistletoe cactus is grown primarily for its foliage, as its flowers are small and quite insignificant, occurring during the spring. and summer every year.

That said, you will notice small white berries after the flowering period that can bring some visual interest to the plant.


Unlike desert cacti, mistletoe cactus is sensitive to direct sunlight and prefers a location that receives medium or bright indirect light. It can even do well in low light, although you won't see as much growth.


Mistletoe cactus requires a moist but well-draining potting mix and prefers slightly acidic soil. While it will likely survive in standard commercial potting soil, it will grow into a potting mix designed for your specific needs.

Try combining one part regular potting mix, one part orchid peel, and one part perlite for a rich, airy, well-draining potting mix.


This tropical cactus prefers that its soil remains evenly moist and does not dry out completely. At the same time, avoid soaking the soil by making sure your pot has adequate drainage and that the soil mix allows water to flow through. Allow the first 1-2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings.

Temperature and humidity

Since the mistletoe cactus is native to tropical and subtropical regions, it thrives in warm, humid conditions. For the most part, average home temperatures work well for the mistletoe cactus, which is why it is so popular as a houseplant.

Just make sure the temperatures are between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit (16-27 degrees Celsius) and you'll be happy. However, it may be necessary to provide a little extra moisture to the mistletoe cactus to ensure that the stems do not start to dry out. Try placing a water-filled pebble tray under the plant or place a small humidifier nearby.


The mistletoe cactus enjoys regular fertilization throughout the growing season, although it is considered a light feeder. Apply a diluted medium balanced liquid fertilizer to the mistletoe cactus once a month during the spring and summer.

Mistletoe cactus propagation

Like most succulents, the mistletoe cactus can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. Propagating mistletoe cacti is not only an easy way to grow new plants, but it also encourages your plant to branch out and thickens over time.

It is best to propagate your cactus during its active growth period, so avoid cutting the seedlings during the fall and winter when the plant is dormant. Here's how you can propagate a mistletoe cactus through cuttings in a few easy steps:

Step #1: Using sterilized sharp scissors or pruning shears, remove 3-4 inch cuttings from your plant.

Step #2: Place fresh seedlings in a cool, dry place for 24 hours so the phylum can harden before planting.

Step #3: Prepare a potting container with a mixture of normal potting soil and perlite and lightly moisten the soil.

Step #4: Press the end of the seedlings into the prepared soil, making sure the seedlings look the same as they did before (ie, don't plant them "upside-down").

Step #5: Place the newly potted seedlings in a location that receives medium indirect light and keep the soil slightly moist until you see signs of new growth.

Step #6: Once the seedlings are growing, they are considered established and regular care can be resumed.

We hope you enjoy this video about Mistletoe cactus care:

Source: Summer Rayne Oakes

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