Cacti are one of the most popular plants used to decorate a house or apartment. Tired of classic prickly specimens, you can turn your attention to ripsalidopsis - a brightly flowering plant without thorns.
What it is?
Ripsalidopsis is a plant from the Cactus family, whose name literally translates as “wicker-shaped berry cactus." The people also often featured the names Easter egg, Easter cactus or Forest cactus. Ripsalidopsis is sometimes confused with the Schlumberger, but, in fact, these are completely different members of the family. But it is very easy to distinguish it from an ordinary cactus, because the characteristic features of the plant are the absence of thorns and dense skin.
In nature, zigocactus does not develop on the ground, but on trees, including the sick or old. Another plant in this sense is only a support, contributing to a better and more effective development of the root system. The cactus accumulates moisture and useful elements in unusual thickened stems, which are divided into wide leaf-shaped plates. Throughout the growth process, some of them are outweighed over the edge of the tank.
A cactus flower grows at the ends of the shoot either in March or in April, depending on the variety of the plant.
Although the flowering process continues up to two months, the life span of an individual inflorescence is no more than a couple of days. The diameter of the opened bud varies from 5 to 8 centimeters, and from 1 to 3 specimens are formed on each shoot. The flower petals are very neat and narrowed, with a sharp tip, which makes the opened flower look like a beautiful star. They can be painted in scarlet, burgundy or white. Although the color palette is not very wide, each shade looks very rich and “tasty.”
The height of the bush reaches 30 centimeters, in addition, it is characterized by sufficient branching. Some stems reach a length of 5 centimeters, and their width can be up to 3 centimeters. Typically, a cactus is painted in a soft salad shade, but after prolonged exposure to sunlight, it can change its color to a variety of red. The top of the Ripsalidopsis is crowned by a collection of axillary buds, from which a bouquet of whitish bristles grows. After flowering of the cactus is completed, the buds are replaced by soft fruits, painted in a pale red hue and resembling a pentahedron.
What is the difference from Schlumberger?
Sometimes ripsalidopsis is confused with the Schlumberger, popularly known as the Decembrist. The main differences are manifested in the flowering conditions of the cactus - the Decembrist blooms in the winter, and the Easter Egg blooms from spring to summer. Some differences are noticeable in the appearance of plants. Ripsalidopsis has smooth protrusions at the edges, and Schlumberger has sharp teeth.
Moreover, in the former, flowers grow with an even radially symmetrical corolla, in the latter, with beveled corollas.
Types and their characteristics
In home floriculture , those varieties of ripsalidopsis that are bred by breeders rather than grown under natural conditions are much more popular. They are usually characterized by bright shades and a strong smell. Of the "domesticated" specimens, Gartner and Ripsalidopsis pink are popular. Gartner's cactus reaches a height of 20 centimeters. The length of leaf-shaped plates ranges from 5 to 7 centimeters, and the width is in the range from 2 to 2.5 centimeters.
The edges of these segments are characterized by light waviness. The bristles are yellow and sometimes look completely transparent. The shade of the flowers themselves can be red, orange and expressed by other "fiery" variations.
At night, the buds partially close.
The pink cactus has a height of 15 centimeters, and the length of the shoots ranges from 25 to 30 centimeters. The length of the leaf-shaped processes does not exceed 5 centimeters. They are both smooth and slightly ribbed, and always with denticles on the edges. Crimson petals with yellow bases reach a diameter of 5 cm.
Other popular varieties include ripsalidopsis Graeseri , characterized by a lilac hue and bright yellow stamens, white ripsalidopsis Sirius and raspberry Andromeda with an orange center.
How to choose?
When choosing a cactus in a store, it is important to pay attention to the visual resistance of the plant, as well as the presence of incomprehensible spots, traces of rot and other symptoms of diseases. It is especially important to monitor this in the winter, because transportation and adaptation only increase the already existing stress of the plant, and if it is infected, it is quite possible that it simply will not survive the way from the store.
How to grow?
To make a plant grow efficiently, it is necessary for him not only to provide thoughtful care at home, but also to create the required conditions initially. The cactus should be placed on the windowsill of windows looking to the northeast or northwest. If this is not possible, and the window looks southeast or southwest, then it is important to move the pots a meter or one and a half from the glass. In summer, it is recommended to take the plant out to fresh air, additionally protecting it from precipitation, drafts and direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Alternatively, the flowerpot can be placed under a tree.
At the time of flowering, any movement of flowerpots is excluded. The slightest movement threatens the death of the buds.
When the flowering is completed, on the contrary, it is recommended from time to time to expand the cactus to ensure a more uniform development of the crown.
While there is a vegetative period and flowering, the cactus must be kept at a temperature of 18 to 23 degrees. From about November to March, the temperature must be lowered to a range of 10 to 12 degrees, otherwise the buds will not appear next year. From the beginning of spring, the temperature gradually rises again. Too high temperatures, as well as sharp temperature fluctuations, ripsalidopsis suffers with negative consequences.
It is important to remember that the critical temperature for the dormant period is 8 degrees, and for the growing season - 15 degrees.
The light for the cactus should be bright, but diffused. The plant will withstand light shade, but in this case you will not have to wait for flowering. If the pot is located on the windowsill, looking to the south side, then ripsalidopsis will have to shade.
In winter or in cloudy weather, you should think about additional lighting with specialized phytolamps.
Humidity should not be lower than 60%, and its increase is even welcome. Every day in the morning or in the evening, and in the summer and several times a day, the cactus stalks must either be sprayed or wiped with a damp cloth. It is important to ensure that the spray does not appear on the petals. Additionally, the base of the stem can be covered with a layer of moistened sphagnum moss or with coconut fiber. It is also recommended to purchase a full-fledged humidifier for the room , or simply place bowls of water on the windowsill.
Sometimes ripsolidopsis is worth bathing in a warm soul, but not at the moment when it blooms.
Feeding a cactus begins in late February. Until flowering begins, it will be done once every 3 or 4 weeks. It is best to purchase liquid solutions or special granules that are designed for cacti and succulents. When flowering begins, the frequency of fertilizer application will have to be increased to approximately once every 2 weeks. Ripsolidopsis categorically does not accept organic top dressing containing a large amount of nitrogen. In addition, calcium is also banned.
Optimum feeding contains a part of nitrogen, 2 parts of phosphorus, 3 parts of potassium and, if desired, a biohumus base.
Ripsalidopsis cactus should be irrigated abundantly both during the growing season and during flowering. However, excess fluid will lead to stagnant processes in the soil, which, in turn, translates into decay of the root system. Therefore, each time, after completing watering, you must wait about half an hour, and then pour excess water out of the pan . The liquid should be warm, from 28 to 30 degrees heat. You can pour it directly on the stems, but in no case on the flowers.
The frequency of irrigation is determined by the condition of the soil. As soon as the top layer of soil has dried in depth by 2-3 centimeters, you can again engage in watering. This usually happens every 2 or 3 days. The most successful water is melt or rain, but if it is not available, then you can take ordinary tap water, and then boil it or filter it.
A longer option for preparing water is to stand for one day with the preliminary addition of citric acid or apple cider vinegar.
The disease of gray rot is determined by the appearance of gray weeping spots on the leaf-shaped segments, on which ash and sometimes black villi then grow. To save the cactus, it will immediately have to be transplanted, replacing both the pot and soil, and having previously removed all damaged parts. Then, for four weeks, ripsalidopsis will need to be watered with such solutions as “Skor” or “Kuprozan”. Additionally, the plant can be treated with Fundazol. The appearance of root rot is signaled by black mucus on the stems and roots. In this case, the cactus will also have to be transplanted, but additionally undamaged parts will have to be disinfected in a fungicide solution, and rotting ones should be removed. Of the drugs, Gamair and Fitosporin are suitable.
Blight, which stops the development of the plant, cannot be cured - the cactus will have to be thrown away. At the early stage of the disease, however, you can try to influence the “Albit” or “Quadrice” in conditions of complete isolation. The same applies to fusarium, the symptoms of which are watery spots, black mesh and the appearance of mold.
For the reproduction of a cactus, 2 main methods are most often used - cuttings or planting seeds.
In this case, on a plant that has reached the age of 3 or 4 years, a strong shoot containing 3 segments is selected. Carefully unscrewing it, the wounds must be immediately treated with chalk or crushed coal. Then the stalk is dried for a couple of days and planted in a plastic cup filled with special soil mix. Additionally, it is worth using growth stimulants.
Somewhere in a week roots will appear, and the cactus can be transplanted into a regular pot.
Reproduction of cacti by vaccination is possible, but not recommended. Since the process is quite laborious and poorly feasible at home, it is suitable only for specialists involved in breeding.
Seeds are extracted from the fruits of ripsalidopsis and laid out on a moistened mixture of sheet soil and sand, mechanically deepening a couple of millimeters. The container is drawn in with polyethylene, warmed up from below and illuminated by diffused light. The soil is regularly sprayed with a liquid containing a growth stimulant, and also aerated for half an hour. A couple of months after the emergence of sprouts, cacti can be planted in containers.
When choosing ripsalidopsis for the decoration of the room, experts recommend not only restricting to a single plant, but using a mix of several varieties. Caring for cacti is not particularly problematic, besides, the specimens get along well with each other, which means that a combination of several cacti will be advantageous in every sense. It is better to transplant the plant immediately after flowering, that is, at the junction of May and June.
Young bushes undergo such a procedure annually, and for adults it is enough to change places once in a couple or three or even 5 years.
See below for more details.