Do you know that a cactus can grow to form long chains of more than 5 meters? Rhipsalis paradoxa is a unique cactus discovered by Joseph Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck in 1845. This evergreen cascading succulent forms green and dandy branches about 1 inch wide and can grow meters long. The leaves are attached in an unusual way making links and joined at right angles.
In nature, this Brazilian endemic plant is threatened by habitat loss. However, it is a popular and common plant among domestic growers and nurseries. The beautiful pendulous branches of the R. paradoxa are a perfect choice to form a hanging basket for your living-room and garden. Let us learn more about the Rhipsalis paradoxa Cactus plant.
Rhipsalis paradoxa Classification
Species: R. paradoxa
Rhipsalis is the largest and most diverse genus of epiphytic cactus plants. Members of this genus are around 30 to 60 in number and are popularly known as Mistletoe Cacti. Joseph Gaertner described this Brazilian native oldest genus of flowering cacti in 1788.
The majority of the plants grow as pendulous epiphytes, while a few are epilithic and terrestrial growers. Furthermore, the stems of the Rhipsalis plants are succulent in nature. However, the extent of succulence is variable among the species. As far as appearance is concerned, the stem shape of the plants can be terete, angular, or flat.
Common Name of The Rhipsalis paradoxa
The names are given due to the specific chain-like structure of the plant.
- Chain Cactus.
- Chain Rhipsalis.
Growth Habit of The Plant
- The plant is a tropical perennial epiphyte.
- The Rhipsalis Chain can grow as long as about 5 to 15 meters. Importantly, the length of the plant depends upon the growth conditions and space provided to the plant.
- The plant produces numerous tiny white blooms along the length of the branches.
- The flowers are about 0.5 inches in diameter, have yellowish black petals, unscented and non-showy in nature.
- Bloom season starts from late winter and continues until the early days of spring.
- The plant produces small red fruits. Although they look attractive but wait! Don’t feel tempted to eat them as they are inedible.
We haven’t received any authentic report about the toxicity of the plant. However, to be on the safe side, it is always better to avoid ingestion and have a check at your kids and pets.
Rhipsalis paradoxa minor
This is a popular variety of the Paradoxa plant and is known as R.paradoxa Dwarf. The differentiating feature of Paradoxa minor is the small size of its leaf chain. Rhipsalis Paradoxa var. Catenulata is another name of a variety of the same plant.
Rhipsalis paradoxa Care
How to take care of my Cactus R. Paradoxa? Let us have a detailed look at the care and requirements of the plant.
The cacti have a special technique of watering. The soil should be dry before you water again. In summer, you need to water about once to twice a week or according to the condition of the soil. While in winter once in two weeks is an estimated frequency. Make sure you water generously until the water comes out of the drainage holes. Once drenched, wait for the soil to get bone dry until the next watering.
Importantly, the plants are sensitive to lime. Thus, avoid hard water and use normal, filtered, or rainwater for them. Make sure you don’t over-water, as it will lead to root rot and other plant issues.
The Chain Cactus is adapted to partial shade to bright indirect sunlight exposure. Moreover, the plant can survive in shade as well. East and west-facing windows are ideal indoor locations to put your Rhipsalis.
Avoid keeping the plant from direct sun exposure for long hours as it will scorch the cactus leaves.
The optimum temperature for the R. paradoxa is 18 to 24 °C. Abrupt changes in temperature levels are harmful to the plant.
Cacti are adapted to the high moisture level in the atmosphere. About 60 to 70 % humidity level results in healthy foliage for cacti plant.
Well-drained, rich, and medium-sized soils are ideal for the Paradoxa plant. Moreover, you can use some suitable commercial mixtures for cacti.
In the growing season before the bud formation, cacti need to be fertilized every two weeks. Moreover, the plant does not need any added fertilizers after the buds start to open.
Diluted mineral fertilizers are a good option for these plants. Furthermore, Nitrogen is susceptible to cause root rot. Thus, avoid using fertilizers with a high nitrogen ratio.
The drainage holes are essential for the cacti. As any standing water at the base of the soil will result in root rot. As far as pot size is concerned, you can use a small pot for this plant. Because of the small roots of the Paradoxa, a spacious pot is not required.
Pruning and Repotting Requirement
You can prune your chain cactus once a year or according to requirement. Curbing of plant growth will be an additional result of pruning. You can slice between the leaves to cut the dead ones.
If you need to repot the plant, the ideal time to repot the plant is the middle of the spring.
USDA zones 10a to 11.
Rhipsalis paradoxa Propagation
How to propagate my Cactus Paradoxa? You can propagate the chain paradox by the following methods;
- Woody stem-cuttings.
You can collect the seeds by letting an unblemished fruit to ripen completely. Now, you can get the seeds, clean and dry them for future use.
Propagation by Stem-Cuttings
Just cut about 5 to 7 inches of the chain stem from the plant. Wait for about 24 hours to let the callous develop over the cutting point. Plant the stem-cutting in moist and humus-rich soil. About 3 to 4 weeks later, roots will develop, leading to the development of shoot.
R.paradoxa is a unique cactus belonging to Rhipsalis, the largest genus of epiphytic cacti. This plant was introduced in 1845 and is popularly grown for its unusual foliage. It forms long green chain-like cascading branches with tiny white flowers and inedible red fruits.
The basic requirements of the Chain Cactus include moist soil and high humidity levels in the atmosphere. This plant is low-maintenance, evergreen, and non-toxic in nature. If you are looking for a succulent to form hanging baskets for both indoor and outdoor decoration, then don’t forget to consider the Rhipsalis paradoxa plant.