This epiphytic cactus is surprisingly easy to grow and care for! Perfect for a beginner gardener!
Epiphyllum Anguliger has many names such as Ric Rac Cactus, Fishbone Cactus, and Ric Rac Orchid Cactus to name a few. It is an epiphytic plant native to Mexico. There it can be found growing in the nooks and crannies of trees very similar to certain orchid and fern species. It is a very easy to care for plant, and cause of this, can be easily found in your local plant shops and nurseries.
Lighting and Temperature
Like many epiphytic tropical plants, it is accustomed to indirect lighting. Bright, indirect lighting is best. I have mine on my East facing windowsill. It gets plenty of direct morning sun, and by noon, gets bright diffused light. I’ve had mine for a year now, and it seems to appreciate the amount of light I’ve been giving it.
Fishbone Cacti do great indoors. Most ambient room temperatures are ideal. Anywhere from 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful to avoid any extremes in temperatures as this could damage the plant. Unlike most cacti, this one is accustomed to tropical temperatures.
Watering and Humidity
During the growing months, I would water this plant more frequently, as long as it’s substrate dries out before watering again. In the winter months, cut back on watering. They are still a cactus after all, and still prone to root rot. If you have your plant mounted, you may need to water more frequently. Mine is in a pot and I water about once every week to two weeks, depending on the weather. In the winter I cut back and may water once every 3 weeks. The plant will look wrinkled if it is in need of a good watering.
Humidity hasn’t been a must with my plant so far. In the dry summer months, I will mist my plant periodically just to help combat the heat. During this time, I may also water the plant as a whole. It helps to add humidity and it helps to keep their stems clean and free of dust. I recommend heavy misting and watering of the stems if you have decent airflow. This specific plant is prone to getting fungal growth or rot on their stems.
Soil and Substrate
The Ric Rac Cactus is really fun to decorate with. Since it’s an epiphyte, you can mount them, showcase them in hanging baskets, or in a decorative pot. If you would like to mount them, I suggest using cork bark and sphagnum moss. This will help to mimic their natural growth habit. It will retain just the right amount of water needed before drying out again. If you would like to plant in a hanging basket or pot, I suggest using very well draining soil. I have my plant in cactus mix and heavy amounts of pumice and gardening charcoal. This helps to ensure that my plant will dry out and not stay wet for too long. You could also mix your soil with orchid bark or you can just use orchid bark. Epiphytic plants don’t naturally grow in soil, so you may use moss, bark, or rocks to plant with.
At times you may see tiny white strings sprouting from the stems. They are in fact aerial roots. This helps the plant cling to their surroundings and to absorb nearby moisture and nutrients. These roots are also very helpful with propagating.
This plant is very easy to propagate. The best time to take cuttings would be during the growing months. The plant will recover quickly, and may produce more stems where you made your cut. When stems get long, feel free to cut them back. You can also make cuttings from full stems. Just be sure to break them off as even as possible from the rest of the plant.
Make cuttings with a sterilized knife or sheers. Be sure to make cuttings at least 4 inches long. Let cuttings dry out and callous over before planting in well draining soil. Your cuttings may start to form aerial roots before you plant them. This is a very good sign. I usually like to wait until my cuttings start to form these roots before placing in damp soil. You don’t have to wait that long though, once the cutting is calloused over, you can place them directly into damped soil. Just be sure to use a well draining mix. You should get new roots forming within two to three weeks.