If you want to keep a bit of Christmas all year, get a mistletoe cactus. It looks like the traditional Christmas plant, with its softly dangling stems and white berries, but it will look good year round. And because it’s a cactus it needs very little care. Unlike mistletoe, there are no rules about kissing underneath it, but there’s nothing to say you can’t.
Scientifically known as rhipsalis baccifera, the mistletoe cactus is found in the Americas and Africa. It’s an epiphyte, which means it grows in the branches of larger trees, taking root in nooks and crannies, and dangling happily, soaking up the humid air. Mature plants will grow small white flowers, followed by berries. Your plant may not grow these for a while, and possibly never will, but it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it. The lovely long stems are the main event anyway.
Although it’s a cactus, the mistletoe cactus doesn’t like the usual dry conditions cacti love. It likes to stay out of direct sun, which can burn it, and likes to be kept somewhere humid, like a bathroom. Like other cacti, however, it very rarely needs watering. Just give it a drink when the soil has dried out. It needs very little water in winter.
Did you know?
The mistletoe cactus is the only cactus natively found outside the Americas. It’s not entirely understood how it made it to Africa.