Christmas cactus is one of our most popular plant topics this time of year. People are enamored with the bright-colored flowers around the holidays. This plant along with Thanksgiving cactus are types of epiphytic cacti, but did you know there are thousands of other epiphytic cacti available as houseplants.

Epiphytic cacti are native to Central and South America. They are plants that grow on trees, rocks, or other objects. Epiphytic cacti grow on other plants and do not need to live in the ground. They have evolved to adapt to difficult living environments.

These plants typically are grown as houseplants because they can’t tolerate chilly weather. They thrive in warm and humid environments with light. The best conditions to grow Epiphytic cacti, as a houseplant, is in well-drained soil, ample sunlight, and by watering moderately.

Here are six other cacti you might want to consider trying in your home:

Dancing Bones Cactus – This cactus is bushy and has slender stems. The stems can grow up to two feet long and have segments that are around 1.5 inches long. Bell-shaped flowers bloom in orange-yellow color and grow less than one inch long.

Fishbone Cactus – This plant is also known as zig-zag cactus. The plant has long flat fishbone-shaped leaves and produces pretty, fragrant flowers that are large. The succulent leaves are green and smooth. Most fishbone cactus grown indoors don’t bloom. This can happen because the plant is not yet mature enough to bloom. The plant needs to be 2-3 years old. To help produce flowers try fertilizing them in the spring and summer. If the plant does bloom the flowers last 2-3 days and only bloom at night.

Hairy-Stemmed Rhipsalis – This plant is also known as Rhipsalis Pilocarpa. When grown indoors, the plant needs plenty of sunlight and can be grown as a hanging plant. The plant has hairy stems as opposed to prickly or sharp. The stems can grow up to twenty inches. It produces small peachy pink or white flowers.

Orchid Cactus – This plant has broad, flattened leaves with huge showy flowers that are fragrant. There are many different types of these cactus that have the plant blooming only once a year at night. The flowers are cup or funnel-shaped flowers and they come in orange, pink, red, yellow, and white. Queen of the Night cactus is one of the most famous orchid cacti.

Rat’s Tail Cactus – This cactus has a great deal of appeal because it produces beautiful magenta flowers that grow along the long stems. The flowers appear in mid-spring and last for about 5 days. They grow three inches long and 1.5 inches wide. This trailing plant is ideal for a hanging planter. The thick hanging stems can grow over three feet long. The stems look fuzzy and have reddish-yellow thorns that are sharp so careful. In their native Mexico, they are considered a threatened cactus variety.

Rhipsalis Cereuscula – This cactus is considered an ideal cactus to grow indoors because of its green color and it does not have thorns. It is also known as coral cactus, rice cactus, or mistletoe cactus. It grows in delicate tangles and is ideal for hanging planters or regular containers. The plant is accented with small clusters that look like rice. It produces flowers in pink, purple, and white.

All of these plants are low maintenance and easy to grow if you understand the growing conditions for the specific plant. Here are several general tips to know about growing these plants:

Soil – Try using a potting mix for orchids or succulents. The soil needs to be well-draining and aerated. These plants have shallow root systems and are susceptible to root rot, so make sure the plant does not sit in water. Make sure the container your plant is potted in has drainage holes. Some of these plants can be top-heavy, so you might want to consider a container with some weight.

Light – In their native environment these plants grow in indirect sunlight, so make sure they receive the same kind of lighting in your home. It is best to avoid direct, bright light and avoid the bright afternoon sun.

Watering – These plants need to be watered regularly. Even though they are succulents, they are not drought tolerant. In general, you can water them every 7-10 days with water that is room temperature. Do not overwater them as this can cause root rot.

Temperature – These plants do not tolerate chilly weather. They need to have temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The best range for them is 70 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Let us know if you grow any of these cacti!

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