Parrot beak (Rhipsalis burchellii)

Today we are going to give the opportunity to one of the many species of cacti that exist throughout the world. So this article is specially made for those who are fascinated by the shapes and how peculiar these plants can be.

We are talking about the Rhipsalis burchellii and before we start giving you all the information we have, you have to know that the genus Rhipsalis has around 35 different species all over the world, one of the most popular being this one that we present to you.

General data of the Rhipsalis burchellii

A particular characteristic of thorny plants that is related to cacti is that they have thorns, something that is not news to anyone, but in the case of this and many others, they do not have thorns or needles, so it will be done very easy to handle, grow and transplant to another place if necessary

This species belongs to the genus of Rhipsalis as you already know, but almost all of these species belong to tropical areas and jungles that are found in South America, Central America and other parts of the world.

But in the case of this species and/ or variation in particular, it is native to southern Brazil. With the passage of time it has been expanding and has been acquiring more territory, not to mention the people and vendors who distribute this plant.

There are not many general details that can be mentioned about Rhipsalis burchellii, since the vast majority of cacti have decorative or ornamental uses. Some people have found a rather peculiar use, which helps reduce stress in people as well as blood pressure, but this is not entirely proven.


As you may already know or may have deduced, this plant grows most of all in hot or tropical climates. It is for this reason that it occurs more than anything in countries belonging to South America, Central America and other parts.

However, this species has the peculiarity of being able to withstand a certain amount of cold, but it has to be very mild or else it will tend to wilt. The good thing about this plant is that it does not require a lot of maintenance and is perfect to have in hanging pots or to have them slightly raised from the ground, since it tends to grow as if it were a creeping plant.

Related article:+30 cold resistant cacti

As for the stems, it is worth mentioning that these are cladode type and their stems are modified to simulate the functions of common leaves, except that they are covered by small spines that are not very rigid.

An important point to note is that it is not a good idea or it is not practical to place this plant at ground level, since its stems are not erect. That is why we insist that if you are going to have this plant, it is best to place it in a high place.

Similarly, the Rhipsalis burchellii has stems that tend to be flattened at the beginning of these, but as it grows and lengthens, the appearance changes from a flat to a rounded shape.

Related article:15 fast growing cacti

The most common is that the thickness of these stems does not exceed one centimeter in diameter. Of course, you will need a bit of vertical space, since each stem can be up to a meter long.

On the other hand, this type of cactus has the potential to generate flowers during spring. The only detail about these is that they are not very flashy or have special characteristics.

The truth is that its flowers are very similar to other types of cactus that have a flowering phase. These can be of different colors and some of them can turn white, red or pink. The good news is that if for some reason you like their flowers, know that you have about two months to enjoy their flowering.

Care and cultivation

A moment ago it was mentioned that these plants can withstand a certain level of cold temperature, but it was not specified what was the minimum they could withstand. This is how you have to keep the Rhipsalis burchellii above 10 ° C, otherwise it will die quickly and begin to lose its green color.

Now, the place where you have to have it is a place that is in semi-shade throughout the year and as long as it is in its initial phase of growth. Later, you can place it in a place where sunlight can also shine, but for a little more time a day.

Assuming the case that your plant has already grown enough and you want to start transplanting and multiplying it, this must be done when flowering has ended, not before or during flowering.

Now, in terms of surface watering, you have to do it in such a way that you guarantee a little humidity to the plant, but not enough to prevent the appearance of fungi and insects that can damage the cactus. For this it is essential that you avoid waterlogging at all costs. Irrigation will depend on the location and size of the cactus.

Soil type

Newbies may think that any type of soil is good for cacti. Although in the vast majority the type of soil that is used for planting does not matter much, it is best to use special soil for cacti. Although it is not mandatory, this can provide you with better growth and multiplication of it.

Some experienced gardeners prepare their own soil with a variety of materials, such as coconut coir, some orchid bark, a little gravel, potting soil, and a little compost.

Irrigation amount

Although something was already mentioned about it, it was not fully explained how the irrigation has to be for this plant. Don’t worry, it is quite easy to understand and use. The main thing you have to know is that despite being a cactus, this does not mean that they can withstand droughts.

Therefore, you have to provide it with enough water so that it does not dry out and end its reserves, but at the same time you have to take care that the amount you add is not excessive in order to prevent the stems and roots from rotting.

Related article:How to water a cactus

With this plant you have it easy, just add water once a week and that’s it. Now, if you live in a place where the heat and humidity are constant and at a high level, then you will have to look at the appearance of the earth.

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