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Cacti in the Mist

Posted on April 21 2017

Rhipsalis, epiphytic cacti endemic to tropical jungles in Central and South America, are pendant, with slender cylindrical or flattened branches. In habitat, rhipsalis cascade aerially from the heights of trees or drape from rocky escarpments. In cultivation, rhipsalis excel as spectactular hanging basket plants. As with all epiphytic cacti, rhipsalis prefer diffused light, warmth, humidity and slightly acidic soil composed largley of organic material such as sphagnum moss or peat. A profusion of flowers appears in the spring, usually satiny whites, apricots and rare lavenders are followed by vivid rose or orange "berries." Rhipsalis flowers are delightfully captivating, resembling luminescent stars alight with tiny twinkling lights. "Tropicalismo" is a design incorporating plants of imposing proportions and boldly polychromatic palettes in exuberant interplay. Rhipsalis, known as "Jungle cacti," can be strategically placed to expand the dimensionality of the Tropicalismo. A Rhipsalis capilliformis, cascading like peridot icicles, can be draped from an escarpment near waterscapes, creating an area of quiet solitude. Other rhipsalis, hangin from the heights of trees, might imbue this tropical fantasia with fiber-optic mobiles. In the oblique light of late afternoon, Rhipsalis pilocarpa is hauntingly evocative, its silken hairs aglow with backlight. Original Article by Renee O’Connell Originally published in Garden Compass magazine May/June 2002 Used with permission.


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