Mounted Jungle Cactus Care: How to Grow Rhipsalis, Hatiora and Other Epiphytes March 09 2015 2 Comments


The idea of a “jungle cactus” sounds like a contradiction at first. Jungles are hot, humid, lush and green, and cacti grow in the arid, sun-scorched desert. Jungle cactus? How’s that supposed to work?

Like most things in the plant world, it’s not so black and white, and there are various genera of cacti that thrive in the shady moist canopy and understory of the jungle. And that’s good news for us, because a jungle-like environment is much more easy to create in your home than that of a desert.

One of our favorite things to do with jungle cacti is mount them on cork and hang them on the wall. We’ve found that species in the Rhipsalis and Hatiora genera are particularly well-suited for this application, as they’re low-light tolerant and epiphytic, requiring little root space to thrive.

Here’s how to care for a mounted jungle cactus.

Light

Jungle cacti are tolerant of a wide variety of light conditions. Place your mount where it will receive bright, indirect light. A bit of direct sun is okay, but more than a few hours will hurt the plant. Likewise, jungle cacti are known to survive in low light environments, but do require some natural light in order to survive. Rooms with unobstructed North and East facing windows tend to work well.

Mounted Jungle Cacti can be placed outside for spring and summer, as long as temperatures do not fall below 50 degrees and the plants are kept away from direct sun. They will require more frequent watering when placed outdoors. 

Water

Water your mount once the sphagnum moss protecting the roots is dry to the touch but not crispy, and the soil around the base of the plant feels dry -- approximately once every one-two weeks in spring and summer, and once or twice per month in winter.

Jungle cacti appreciate periodic misting, especially when placed in especially dry environments (heaters in winter, near windows in summer).

How to water a jungle cactus cork mount

Water your plaque by fully submerging it in a bowl or sink of room-temperature water and allowing it to soak for 15-20 minutes. Gently press the root ball to allow excess water to drain, and drip dry before rehanging.

How much is too much?

If you notice stems turning brown and mushy at the base, you’re over-watering your jungle cactus. Reduce watering until plant shows sign of recovery. Plants placed in a dim, humid locations typically need less frequent watering.

How little is too little?

If you notice stems puckering and becoming brown and crispy, you’re under-watering your plant. Try to increase watering and misting until plant shows signs of recovery - but do take care not to over-water. Plants placed in a bright, dry location typically need more frequent watering.