- a grapevine ball, available at craft stores
- orchid bark, available at garden centers
- sphagnum moss, available at garden centers
- epiphytic cacti, drought tolerant and easy
The cuttings take root quickly, and will eventually form a solid mass of luxuriant rainforest growth.
UPDATE! The above photos were taken on April 3rd, 2013, two years after planting.
Click here for the updated and easier way to make Rainforest Drops.
Or HERE for the even better adaptation for Christmas: the Living Kissing Ball!
I planted these grapevine balls with Rhipsalis, but Christmas cactus and Easter cactus are also readily available choices. You can even use epiphytes like bromeliads, orchids, and ferns. I also recommend completing this project when the days are warm, so the cuttings will take root faster.
Here's how I made this little sphere of rainforest joy!
2. Lay cuttings of the rhipsalis along the bottom. This helps to hold in the bark and moss, especially after the cuttings take root.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the ball is full.
6. After the ball has been filled, fill in gaps with more rhipsalis cuttings. They will take root in a matter of weeks.
7. Use a strong wire (I used picture hanging wire), install a hook in the ceiling, and attach the wire to the hook so it hangs down at eye level.
Too complicated? I just added an easy three step recipe to save you the headache.
Caring for your Rainforest Ball
2. Fertilize lightly by dissolving a fertilizer solution in each watering. Follow the label's instructions.
3. Rhipsalis and other epiphytic cacti are sensitive to cold, and must be brought indoors when a freeze is expected.
I have had success growing them outdoors through freezes as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit in protected locations, and many species of rhipsalis happen to be native to areas of South America that receive frost. There is a lot of experimentation to be done with rhipsalis' cold tolerance, but luckily they reproduce so quickly from cuttings that there will soon be a multitude of plants to take a chance on.
I hope this helps, and feel free to ask me if you have any questions. If you'd like to see more of my living indoor arrangements, check out my book, Plant by Numbers!