Rhipsalis cassutha: is it poisonous? Instructions for care and propagation

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Rhipsalis cassutha: is it poisonous? Instructions for care and propagation: Rhipsalis

The coral cactus belongs to the family of cacti, although its outward appearance is rather untypical of a cactus. The shoots of this up to 30 cm high plant can be up to a meter long and take on a reddish color in the sun. They usually develop flowers only in old age. Rhipsalis cassutha is the perfect hanging plant and also very popular with terrarium friends.

Is Rhipsalis cassutha poisonous?

Even if it is not sufficiently clear whether this plant is poisonous, according to the experts it should not contain any toxins. Neither humans nor cats should pose a danger to her. Their supposed toxicity comes from the fact that Rhipsalis cassutha is often confused with the milkweed family. They contain a poisonous, milky juice.
However, the coral cactus does not belong to the milkweed family and contains no milk juice, but embedded water. If you still want to be on the safe side, you should do without these plants and do not leave cut plant parts lying around. Cat owners should place this cactus out of reach of pets.

Care Instructions

Like most species of its genus, the rod cactus is very undemanding in terms of location and care. He forgives one or the other care mistakes without problems, which makes him an optimal entry-level plant.


Rhipsalis cassutha belongs to a genus of epiphytic growing cacti from the rainforests of Brazil. Accordingly, he needs in the living room a warm and bright to partially shady place with some sun in the morning and in the evening. The sun should be avoided in the noon hours, it could lead to burns. The plant thrives all year round at normal room temperatures.
In an east or west-facing flower window she is in good hands. Shading is indispensable in a south window. During the warmer months, he can also stand in a sheltered, partially shaded to absonnigen outdoor space. According to its natural origin, the coral cactus is grateful for increased humidity.
Tip: Larger temperature differences between day and night of about 10 degrees as well as a cool location in winter should positively influence the flowering.


Rhipsalis cassutha

The right soil contributes to a healthy growth. It should be permeable, medium coarse, humus and nutritious. Accordingly, a commercially available Gr├╝npflanzenerde mixed with high-quality cactus clay for epiphytes offers. Best suited is cactus clay with coarse particles such as clay granules, pumice or pine bark, which is often used for orchids. Alternatively, ready substrates for epiphytic orchids can be used. Calcium-containing substrates should be avoided.

to water

The water requirement of this bizarre beauty is moderate. The floor should neither dry out nor be permanently wet. Shorter dry periods are usually weathered without damage.
  • Water once a week in spring and summer
  • Before each casting, let the top substrate layer dry well
  • Reduce watering from September to flowering in November
  • While flowering pour a little more
  • Ensure a humidity of at least 50 to 70%
  • To do this, spray plants regularly with lime-free water
  • Occasional barking recommended
  • This frees the dust and revives the cactus
Due to its calcium intolerance should be used both for pouring and spraying exclusively lime-free water, ideally rainwater. If this is not possible, softened tap water will also work.
Tip: Excess irrigation water in coasters should be removed as quickly as possible, wet feet like the coral cactus not at all.


The Rutenkaktus is also very frugal when it comes to nutrient requirements, even if it requires slightly more nutrients than most other types of cactus. In the first year after purchase or after repotting can be dispensed with fertilizer. Finished substrates are usually pre-fertilized, so that the plants are supplied with all the important nutrients for the first time.
Later you should fertilize regularly. It is quite sufficient to administer a high-quality cactus fertilizer once a month from April to September / October. This ensures that the shoots develop a solid structure. Fertilize this cactus as the buds form, and stop fertilizing as soon as the first flower buds open. Only after flowering is normal fertilization again.

To cut

Over time, Rhipsalis cassutha develops a bushy habit and long overhanging shoots. A pruning the coral cactus usually does not need. Nevertheless, it is very cut tolerant and can, should it be grown too lush, easily cut back.Its shoots can be shortened by up to two-thirds. The best time for this is in the spring. It is best to always cut where a member of the shoot ends. Even dry and damaged parts of plants can be removed. The healthy clippings can be used very well for propagation.


Rhipsalis cassutha does not settle properly and can be kept at normal room temperatures throughout the year. If he is outside in the summer, there will be time for the move to the house in September. Some experts recommend that this plant in winter a little cooler than the rest of the year. This should stimulate the flowering. The speech is from temperatures between 12 and 15 degrees approximately from September to early November, without direct sunlight.

Rhipsalis cassutha

From November, the coral cactus can then stand a little warmer, at about 20 degrees, then is flowering time. Immediately next to a heater, the plant should not stand in winter. Little is cast, and the substrate should not dry out completely even in winter. To ensure high humidity, occasional spraying is advisable. Alternatively, you can also set up bowls filled with water in the room. It is not fertilized in winter or during flowering.


Root growth is limited, so it does not have to be repotted every year. However, important properties of the substrate are lost over time, so repotting about every 2-3 years is advisable. This is possible in spring and autumn, but preferably in March / April.
  • Carefully remove the cactus from the pot
  • Shake off old earth carefully
  • Damage roots as little as possible
  • Remove sick and dead root parts
  • Due to the small roots usually no larger pot is required
  • Thoroughly clean the old pot
  • Then fill with fresh, well-drained substrate
  • Insert plant in the middle
  • Press soil gently and water
Depending on the location, it may be advisable to rotate the plant regularly, so that sufficient light can be obtained on all sides and a uniform growth can develop.
Tip: The coral cactus feels most comfortable in clay pots. They have the distinct advantage over plastic that water can evaporate due to the naturally porous material.


The Rutenkaktus can be multiplied both by cuttings as well as by sowing, whereby a Stecklinksvermehrung is the simpler variant of both. Sowing is usually only promising with fresh seeds and germinable seeds are difficult to obtain.


Cuttings for propagation can be obtained for example in a pending pruning. Otherwise, you can cut them in the spring or fall of the mother plant.
  • Cuttings should be about 10-15 cm long
  • After cutting, allow to dry for 1-2 days in a cool place
  • Then fill small pots with growing substrate
  • Well suited is pure Seramis
  • In conventional soil, it can lead to failures
  • Insert 3-4 cuttings approx. 3-4 cm deep into the substrate
  • Moisten the substrate slightly
  • Place in a warm and light to partially shaded, but not sunny place
  • Keep slightly damp for the next 3-4 weeks
Several cuttings per pot have the advantage that you can achieve a bushier and denser growth faster. For a fast rooting are temperatures around 20 degrees and a high humidity. This can be achieved by slipping it over with a translucent film bag. To prevent mold growth, the film must be removed and ventilated once a day. If the first new shoots show up, the rooting was successful. The foil can be removed and the young plantlets can be cultivated normally.


Rhipsalis cassutha

If you get to fresh seed, you can try on a sowing. First, you need appropriate seed material consisting of a seed tank, Anzuchterde, preferably Kokohum, and of course the seed. When the culture vessel is filled with Kokohum, the seeds are evenly distributed and the whole is moistened.
Then cover the vessel with cling film to provide sufficient humidity and place it in a warm and bright to sunny place again without direct sunlight. For germination temperatures between 20 and 28 degrees are needed. The substrate should be kept evenly moist until germination.

Diseases and pests

With the right care you can support the plant well and keep it alive for a long time, but there are also other problems.

root rot

Rhipsalis cassutha is relatively insensitive to diseases. The only thing that can be dangerous to this plant is too much wetness. It can very quickly lead to root rot and thus to death. To prevent this, should always be poured in moderation and excess water in the coaster be removed in a timely manner.In order to possibly save endangered plants, they should be repotted as quickly as possible into a drier substrate, thereby removing foul root parts and initially dispense with completely pouring.


For an infestation with Wolll├Ąusen is usually responsible for dry room air. These pests are recognizable by their fine white cotton wool-like spines that cover the plant. In addition, these animals leave sticky honeydew, which is their excretions. If one detects an infestation, one first isolates infested plants to avoid spreading to healthy plants.
To control the plants can be treated with a mixture of one liter of water and 15 ml of spirit and curd soap or paraffin oil. Either you spray or paint it with it. In general, the whole thing must be repeated several times. Helpful may also be the additional use of lacewing larvae.

Scale insects

Frequently the coral cactus also has an infestation with scale insects. You recognize them u.a. on small brownish labels. Bright discoloration on affected plants may indicate an already advanced infestation. If he is recognized too late, it can happen that the cactus comes in. In case of an initial infestation, the pests can be collected or combated with a solution of water, soft soap and alcohol, with which the pests are repeatedly dabbed or brushed. In addition, the use of natural predators such. Parasitic wasps on.

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