Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, Easter cactus, has scalloped leaves and showy flowers. Find facts and information on growing and caring for this beautiful cactus houseplant. "Hatiora gaertneri" is a syn. of this Rhipsalidopsis variety. If you enjoy Christmas cactus or Thanksgiving cactus, you will also enjoy this variety as well.
Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri blooms with its exquisite pink, red, or white flowers in April or May after being given a cool resting period from September through March. Easter cactus grows 12-18” h x 12-18” w. It is classified as a forest type cactus and has an upright, trailing form and rather slow growth rate.
Easter cactus does best in medium light during active growth and bright, indirect light in winter. Ideal temperatures during active growth and blooming are 70-80 degrees, but no less than 60 degrees during bloom time. It is tolerant of low humidity (less than 30 %).
Easter Cactus Care
Easter cactus is magnificent in bloom, but it takes a specific regimen to get an Easter cactus to bloom. If it does not get a cool resting time with short day lengths, it will not form flower buds. It may drop flower buds if the growing conditions are changed once buds are set. The plant blooms in spring, during which time it should be watered regularly, allowing the potting soil to dry slightly between watering's.
In summer,move it outdoors to a shady spot. Around mid-September, bring it indoors into a cool spot (around 55 degrees) and reduce watering for its resting phase. Keep the soil only slightly moist. Continue to keep it somewhat dry and cool as it forms flower buds. At the end of March, bring it into warmth and begin watering. It should begin flowering again in April.
Easter Cactus Propagation
Propagate from leaf cuttings by pinching off leaf segments and allow them to dry for a couple of days before inserting into sterile soil mix. When propagating by seed, allow the fruits to ripen, then extract the seeds. Clean the seeds and dry them for a few days, then sow on sterile soil mix.
Pests and Disease:Spider mites, scale, and aphids may affect Easter cactus. Dab scale with alcohol and wash off spider mites and aphids. The plant may develop root rot if overwatered.
Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri is the standard Easter cactus, with fuchsia to dark red flowers.
Rhipsalidopsis sirius is white flowered.
Rhipsalidopsis rosea has tiny pink flowers and is smaller overall.