An Expert’s Guide to Fishbone Cactus Care
The Fishbone Cactus is an ideal plant for someone new to having plants around them. Also commonly referred to as the Ric Rac (Rick Rack) cactus or the Zig Zag cactus, the Fishbone Cactus is a succulent that requires minimal care to grow. In scientific terms, the Fishbone plant is also known as the Anguliger Epiphyllum.
So, yes Zig Zag, Ric Rac, Rick Rack and Fishbone Cactus all refer to the same plant.
Fishbone Cactus Flower Bud
A flowering Fishbone Cactus
The Fishbone Cactus is a flowering plant. It produces blooms that hardly last two days, but is an utterly beautiful sight to behold. Another interesting fact about the Fishbone Cactus flower is that the buds generally open up into beautiful flowers during the night after it gets dark outside.
The Fishbone Cactus blooms usually around the fall. Sometimes, the flowers also appear a month or two after the fall. The Fishbone Cactus flowers produce a pleasant smell that can easily perfume an entire room.
When does the Fishbone Cactus Bloom?
The Fishbone Cactus is a beautiful plant, especially with its beautiful Fishbone Cactus flowers. It makes for a great indoor plant; however, it rarely blooms in an indoor setting. But, getting an indoor Fishbone Cactus to bloom isn’t an impossible task after all.
First things first, do not expect your plant to bloom as soon as you get it, nor even in some months’ time. One must ensure the right Ric Rac Cactus care, to be able to see the plant flowering, but not until they age 2 or 3 years old. Although the plant can survive in low light, it is important to ensure that the plant gets enough bright sunlight, especially during the late summer.
How does the Fishbone Cactus Fruit look like?
Bears fleshy fruits
The Fishbone Cactus fruits are formed after the Fishbone Cactus flowers get pollinated. The fruits, once formed, generally take a long time to ripen. Some fruits even take up more than 6 months to ripen.
The Fishbone Cactus fruits are green and oval-shaped. Due to the green colour, it is almost hard to tell whether the fruits have ripened or not. However, the ripe fruits sometimes take on a yellowish tint, making it easy to determine the nature of the fruit. As the fruits ripen, they also become a little soft to touch.
The inside of the fruits is quite fleshy, with tiny black seeds inside.
Fishbone Cactus Growing Spikes
Griws tiny invisible spikes
The Fishbone Cactus succulent has several tiny spikes attached to its surface. These spikes are so tiny that they are almost invisible. But they are still there, whether you see them or not. Thus, it is always advisable to be careful while handling a Fishbone plant.
Fishbone Cactus Aerial Roots / Zig Zag Cactus Aerial Roots
Aerial roots support the plant
The Zig Zag Cactus seems to be full of interesting characteristics. Another important characteristic attached to the Fishbone plant is that it has aerial roots, that is, the roots of the plant tend to grow above the ground that it is planted in.
Now, aerial roots are quite normal in epiphytes as they tend to work as anchors for the plant, helping them absorb some nutrients and moisture from the air. These aerial roots also help the epiphyte to hold on to the host plant, as they generally grow off other plants, rocks, branches and other such stuff. Being an epiphyte, it is completely normal for a Fishbone Cactus to develop aerial roots.
However, the aerial roots might also be indicative of improper nourishment of the plant, or even a lack of humidity. So make sure that you check on the plant if you see it developing aerial roots.
Fishbone Cactus Care Tips
Easy to grow and maintain
The Fishbone Cactus is the perfect plant for even the black-thumbed plant parents that mostly fail at looking after plants. But, the Fishbone plant is non-fussy, making the Fishbone Cactus care an easy job for any beginner at gardening.
Listed below are the details for proper Ric Rac plant care.
Fishbone Cactus Sunlight
Loves the bright sunlight
The best spot to place a Fishbone Cactus is a place that gets plenty of bright sunlight. You can easily place the plant by a window that gets sunlight for most of the day. Also make sure that you use some kind of filter to protect the plant from the harmful direct rays of the sun, like a curtain for instance.
The Fishbone plant is also pretty tolerant to low light settings. The plant can easily adapt to a room that doesn’t get enough sunlight. However, under any circumstance, do not relocate the plant from a very shady region to a bright spot all of a sudden as it can cause heatstroke in the plant. Watch out for the reddish tints on the leaves of the plant as it is an indication of sunburn.
Fishbone Cactus Water Needs
Needs a little extra water
It is important to be able to match up to the right water requirements of the plant to commit to a proper Fishbone Cactus care regimen. Also remember that the Anguliger Epiphyllum originates in the tropical regions, and not in the dry areas like the other Cacti generally do. This fact indicates that the Fishbone Cactus requires a little extra water than that a usual Cactus does.
The Fishbone Cactus thus requires enough watering during the growing season of the spring and summer. The plant must be watered each time the top layer of the soil starts drying out. It is also advisable to use some lukewarm water on the plant to avoid shocking the roots by drenching them in cold water.
The Fishbone Fern is also succulent and thus can easily survive some periods of drought. But, for the best interests of the plant, it is better to stick to a good watering routine.
Fishbone Cactus Soil
Best grown in well-draining soil
The Fishbone plant must be potted in some good quality soil, rich in organic matter. The soil must also be of a well-draining texture to allow the excess moisture to exit without harming the roots of the plant.
During the summer seasons, the soil should mostly be kept moist, allowing just the top layer to dry out to indicate the right time for watering the plant. In the winters, however, the soil can be allowed to dry out a little more before watering the plant.
To ensure proper Fishbone Cactus care, one must also fertilize the soil during the growing season, to spruce up the growth of the plant. One can easily use a succulent fertilizer for the plant, using it around once a month. However, completely avoid fertilization during the winter season.
Fishbone Cactus Temperature Requirements
Never go below 50 degrees C
The Fishbone Cactus should be placed at a cool breezy spot in the house. The best temperature range that promotes the growth of the plant is between 52 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit.
During the summers, the plant can do well when placed in a temperature range between 60 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter season, the plant cannot tolerate any temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant also prefers some amount of high humidity to be thriving well. You can easily achieve this by misting the plant every once in a while.
Fishbone Cactus Problems/ Fishbone Cactus Diseases
The Fishbone Cactus is one beautiful plant that is also easy to grow and care for. But the growth of the plant often gets disrupted due to external reasons such as pests and infections. Here is a list of problems and diseases to watch out for in a Fishbone Cactus.
Fishbone Cactus Limp
A sign of under-watering
The leaves of a Fishbone Cactus might start turning limp as an indication of the plant being under-watered. As the leaves start turning limpy, they might also get hard, crispy and turn discoloured. If this happens, gradually increase the water intake of the plant. You can also try shifting the plant to a shadier region to counter the limp.
Fishbone Cactus Wrinkled
A sign of dehydration
If your Fishbone Cactus appears to be wrinkly, it is a result of dehydration in the plant. This can occur if the plant is overwatered or is exposed to much warmer temperatures, making it dry out pretty quickly. These wrinkles generally appear towards the lower part of the plant
Fishbone Cactus Discolouring
Occurs due to sunburn
As mentioned above, the stem of the Fishbone plant starts developing a reddish tint when it gets harmed by the sunrays. In summers, however, the reddish tints are a good sign, indicating that the plant is getting enough sunlight.
Some brown spots also develop on the leaves of the plant as a result of fungal infections. When this happens, cut off the infected part of the plant and ensure proper care.
Ric Rac Cactus Infestation
Serious damage can be caused by pests
Just like other houseplants, the Ric Rac cactus also falls prey to several kinds of infestations. Out of all the pests, mealybugs and scale insects affect the plant worst. Clean the plant, around once a month, with some detergent water to get rid of such insects.
The Fishbone Cactus plants outside might be infested by snails or slugs. If such a thing happens, it is best to place the plant or a higher platform, something that such pests can’t reach. It is also important to place the plant away from other infested plants.
Zig Zag Cactus Root Rot
Caused by over-watering
Root rot is one of the major pests bothering plants. The Fishbone Cactus is also not spared of the same. To avoid root rot, it is important to let the soil dry out a little in between two consequent watering sessions. You can also use a wooden stick or even your finger to check whether the soil is still soggy on the insides, harming the roots.
Fishbone Cactus Propagation
Easily propagated through cuttings
The easiest and the most common way to propagate the Fishbone Cactus is through the use of cuttings of a healthy and mature Fishbone plant. Here’s how one can get it done.
⦁ Use a sterilized knife to cut away a chunk of the stem, measuring around 3.5 inches, off from the mother plant.
⦁ Let the cutting rest for a few days to allow the cut wound to heal, letting the callus dry up undisturbed.
⦁ Arrange a planter with some nice potting mix to plant the cutting in. Place it down on the soil, making sure that the cut side is facing downwards.
⦁ Shift the planter to an appropriate spit, with bright yet indirect sunlight. Water it only after you notice some signs of growth.
Here we have answered some FAQS to help you know more about the Fishbone Cactus.
What does a Fishbone Cactus care involve?
To take care of a Fishbone Cactus, place it in a warm spot with lots of bright indirect sunlight. Water the water as and when the top layer of the soil gets dry and fertilise it once a month during the growing season.
How do I get my fishbone cactus to bloom?
A fishbone cactus blooms only after it ages 2 or 3 years. The plant needs adequate care to be blooming. The flowers appear mostly during the night and last only for around 2 to 3 days.
How often do you water a fishbone cactus?
The fishbone cactus needs watering only as and when the top layer of the soil starts getting dry. During the summers, water the plant as soon as the top layer seems to be drying out. But during winters, let the soil dry out a little more before watering the plant.
Is fishbone cactus toxic to cats?
The fishbone cactus is non-toxic to both humans and animals. It is safe to have in a household that has pets such as cats, dogs, etc. However, be a little cautious as the tiny spikes on the plant can cause a little irritation when touched.