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Fishbone cactus makes you happy and cheerful by having it around. It received the name fishbone because it has succulent stems, which resemble the fishbone, and that they grow long and flat. It boasts of other names such as epiphyllum anguliger, Ric Rac, or zig-zag orchid cactus.
It’s versatile due to its structural presence; thus, you can hang it on a container, thus adding a pleasant look to your home. They make lovely coffee table plants when they still immature and small. However, when they start to be mature, they spread out as they grow, so you have to create a big room for it.
Do you know how to provide proper fishbone cactus care? If not, you will learn more about caring for zig-zag cactus in this article. It is an epiphytic plant that can thrive under low soil conditions containing other organic components.
Proper Fishbone Cactus care
Caringfor and maintaining fishbone is relatively easy and straightforward. If you provide it with the right growing conditions, it starts to produce some beautiful flowers. Its stem always begins by growing upright and long before starting to trail down again.
Grow the fishbone cactus and let it give you an attractive zig-zag pattern. It’s the best choice for hanging plants in your house. So, how do you go about zig zag cactus care?
Did you know that this plant originates from the humid and tropical rainforest? Most people think they are from the desert, like the other cactus species. And you know that plants require water to grow strong and healthy.
You can tell that fishbone is not a regular cactus due to its strappy stems. Given that they thrive well under humid conditions; their watering requirement is also quite different. Ensure you water it properly, particularly in summer and spring.
Your potting mix affects your watering schedule. You are required to water it regularly when the pot is relatively dry. Ensure it has enough drainage holes and use lukewarm water during the watering session.
If you use cold water, the roots of the zig-zag cactus can be shocked, so it is best to use water subjected under room temperature. If you intend to use tap water, let it be still for about 24 hours in the watering can.
Never allow your houseplant to stand in water for a long time. And always resist the desire to water it while in the pot deliberately. There two ways you can water fishbone cactus and make it grow healthy and strong.
The first technique is to put the nursery pot in a water sink and flush it with water until it runs through the bottom. Then, leave the pot to sit for about 25 minutes to drain all the excess water. You can combine this method with a shower to prevent the pest and dust from attacking its root system.
The second method is to watering your houseplant bottom up. So place the potting mix in a drip tray and leave it for about 60 minutes. You can do this between 3 to 4 watering sessions and then flush it. This method is quite helpful during winter because it can prevent overwatering.
Overwatering is the biggest problem for ric rac cactus because it causes root rot. This results in mushy stems, and it eventually dies. So watch out for wrinkled stems and ensure your potting mix is neither overwatered nor under-watered.
During the growing season, water your houseplant at least twice every 12 to 15 days. But during the cold months, you can water it at least once.
Fertilizing Zig Zag Cactus
Feed your indoor plant with a succulent fertilizer at the recommended rate. However, they don’t require much fertilizer if you subject them to proper lighting conditions. You can start to see it having healthy growth if you feed it properly.
In warm climatic conditions, you can apply fertilizer regularly. In contrast, you can know when to apply fertilizer in cold areas when new leaves start to sprout. This is neither slow nor a fast-growing plant, unlike other cactus species.
Nevertheless, if you see it forming some flowering buds, you can begin feeding it small amount of fertilizer. And, if you want to help it make beautiful blossoms, you can remove the tomato feed.
Unlike its desert counterparts, fishbone responds well to low sunlight due to its origin from humid and tropical conditions. In addition, its stems don’t focus on storing excess water, thus enabling them to receive enough light.
This houseplant is relatively versatile and adaptable; thus, it can flourish well if you subject it to bright indirect sunlight. Nevertheless, it can also withstand low light intensity, but its growth can be sluggish.
You can tell that the plant strives to acquire bright conditions if its stems are thin and stretched out. Therefore, put your ric rac cactus in place; it can get adequate indirect bright sunlight. But, don’t worry, it can tolerate direct sunlight but in limited intensity.
You can place it at least two to three meters away from your south or north-facing window. A West or east-facing window is ideal for jungle cactus because it can tolerate morning sun, but the afternoon sunlight will be blocked.
Remember that windows are of different sizes, so ensure your window is large enough to allow more sunlight. But if you happen to reside around tall buildings or hilly areas, then trees and these buildings can affect the light intensity.
You want your houseplant to produce some flowering blooms, and then you need to help it adapt to a bright environment. And, you cannot achieve this if you propagate it indoors. It can get scorched if you move to a more brilliant place from a shady position; the leaves tend to have a reddish trace.
Suppose you increase the intensity of the sunlight, and it starts to adapt, thus triggering it to produce splendid blossoms. But, unfortunately, the flowers open at night and only last for a day. During this time, you don’t want to miss the fishbone cactus bloom.
Temperature and Humidity
If you want your fishbone to be happy, subject it to temperatures ranging between 60 to 80 degrees (F). It can survive in winter with a temperature not lower than 49 degrees (F), although it can’t tolerate frost. On the other hand, it is terrible to subject it to drought or high temperatures.
This houseplant can also adapt to a normal environment with slight humidity. For example, in the forest, you find it nestled around branches and rock splits. These conditions enable it to have adequate moisture due to the shelter.
If you are growing it indoors, you can place it in the bathroom or kitchen. These are the ideal indoor conditions. But if you want it to grow well, propagate it on a plant shelf and surround it with other supporting plants.
Aerial Roots on Epiphyllum Anguligar
The zig-zag leaves produce about 6 to7 aerial roots. The roots enable your houseplant to climb on the horticultural grit for support. In addition, these roots use moisture and nutrients. Therefore, if you notice more aerial roots sprouting from the ric rac leaves, it is a sign that it is dehydrated.
It doesn’t need soil to grow because it depends on trees and other plants for anchorage and support. If your houseplant lacks enough nutrients, then the aerial roots can appear or require additional humidity.
Check the condition of your zig zag cactus when it starts to develop aerial roots. Maybe you need to provide it with adequate humidity or enough water. So it’s upon you to be on alert.
Pests and Diseases
Ric Rac cactus attracts different kinds of pests and fungal diseases. Unfortunately, it has a lot to offer these pests due to its succulent stem, attractive flowers, and soft aerial roots. Some of the pests that always affect it are spider mites, powdery mildew, aphids, and mealybugs.
Be attentive to the signs and symptoms of pest infestation. If you wait until the pest attack it, it could be hard to save your houseplant. Instead, use neem oil to eradicate them, or you can handpick them and exterminate them.
The disease that can affect your zig zag cactus is root rot due to waterlogging. The signs and symptoms include yellowing and soft leaves. To salvage this problem, stop watering it until it regains its healthy growth, then repot it immediately.
Apart from root rot, other diseases include leaf rot and powdery mildew caused by bacteria and other viruses. Repotting is also the only solution to these problems. But ensure you don’t infect other surrounding houseplants to prevent their spread.
How to Propagate Fishbone Cactus
Propagating ric rac cactus is relatively easy and can become fun. It is a lovely houseplant to grow, but you have to be patient. Use a clean and sanitized blade to cut. Leave the cut sealed over before placing it in water.
This way, its roots can start to sprout from the cuttings after about 7 days. For best success, your cuttings should be around 7 inches. Then, you can use two ways to propagate it, either soil propagation or water propagation.
If you opt for water propagation, you can watch how the roots system form. On the other hand, in soil propagation, you need to use succulent compost with extra perlite. A shallow pot is suitable because it enables you to rot at the base.
Add a layer of grit to provide the necessary plant support. Regardless of the propagation technique you choose, ensure you give your houseplant has all the conditions required for healthy and robust growth.
Now that you know how to provide proper ric rac cactus care, do you know how to grow it? If you want to get a beautiful houseplant, purchase the seeds from the nearest local nursery. Let it germinate and follow the following steps to grow it indoors;
- Pick a healthy leaf to cut, and ensure it has aerial roots. Cut the end where it meets the succulent stem.
- Plant it on a potting medium with proper drainage holes at the lower part.
- Pour your potting mix and ensure it is properly drained. You can add mulch and organic manure to aeration and retaining water.
- Let the leaf on top of the soil for about a week because dry topsoil prevents rotting when you grow it in moist soil. Subject the pot under the temperature ranging from 60 to 80 degrees (F)
- Place the 1/3 of the leaf in the hole and cover it with soil, but let the soil loose.
- Now you can water the pot until you see it coming through the draining holes. Remember not to overwater it; instead, ensure at least 3-inches of the soil is quite dry.
- The leaf is ready to create a root system, and you can also notice leaves sprouting.
When to Repot Fishbone Cactus
During fishbone cactus care, transplanting is not recommended because they are happily supporting themselves on other plants. In addition, they have a small root system concerning their size. Therefore, you should repot it after every year because it can outgrow the pot after three years.
The root structure of the zig-zag cactus requires a huge space for it to grow well. Get another potting medium and fill it with well-aerated soil. Then transplant your houseplant from the old pot to the current one.
It is imperative to water it to reduce repotting shock. Therefore, ensure the root system are solid and healthy. Moreover, remove all the rotten leaves, cover the houseplant with loose soil, and then water it straightway.
Pruning Zig Zag Cactus
Sometimes your fishbone cactus can exhibit a feral appearance. Prune the disruptive stems to keep them neat and enhance fast growth. You can cut off the long stems to allow the development of new stems. This enables your houseplant to grow whole again.
Fishbone cactus is known to grow at a slow rate, but you need to prune for good attractive, and ornamental reasons. Eliminate all the leaves that have turned yellow and ensure that any of them is not broken. Therefore, it enables your houseplant to replace damaged leaves and retain its attractive appearance.
Recap: Fishbone Cactus Care
Epiphyllum Anguliger is one of the easiest plants to care for and maintain. This plant can make you smile and feel happy by looking at it. Besides, it beautifies your house and makes it attractive.
It is known for its unique zig-zag look and appearance. Remember to follow all the caring guidelines to ensure it grows strong and healthy. Subject it proper light intensity, suitable temperature conditions, but remember to water it regularly as needed.