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The Art of Fishbone Cactus Care: A Comprehensive Guide

The Art of Fishbone Cactus Care: A Comprehensive Guide

fishbone cactus care

Want to master every aspect of fishbone cactus care?  This plant is a great choice if you want to add some greenery to your home with a distinctive and low-maintenance houseplant. Named for its unusual stem that resembles a fish skeleton, this stunning succulent is also known as ric rac cactus, the orchid cactus, or zig zag cactus.

In this article, you will find everything you need from propagation requirements to hydration requirements to important plant care tips. Let’s discover more about your new leafy companion!

Understanding Fishbone Cactus Plant Care

What is a Fishbone Cactus?

While this houseplant (Epiphyllum angular) is native to Mexico, these days it can now be found in homes around the world thanks to its unique appearance and ease of care. Its long stems are flat rather than rounded like many other types of succulents or traditional desert-dwelling plants. It blooms beautifully, doesn’t require to be watered frequently, thrives without being exposed to direct sunlight, and there is no need to create a humid environment for this beauty!  Taking care of your fishbone cactus is a cinch, and this is exactly the reason why it is so popular.

Fishbones have an epiphytic nature, meaning they grow on trees without harming them, using their aerial roots only as support structures instead of absorbing nutrients like parasites.

Native Habitat and Unique Features

In their natural habitat among tree branches in humid rainforests, light levels tend towards indirect lighting through tree canopies, providing shade during most of the day. Understanding these conditions is important when growing fishbone cactus indoors. Here is what you need to achieve:

  • As there is never direct sunlight in the jungle, it is not a very good idea to expose your zig zag to direct sun rays. 
  • Long periods of relatively dry weather for a brief time are interrupted by downpours. Zig zags are used to store water and do not need it frequently.
  • Hang your zig zag from a basket or a pot and provide it with something to attach its roots to.

Essential Fishbone Cactus Care Tips

fishbone cactus care requirements

Let’s take a look at essential tips for proper care:

How Much Sunlight Does A Fishbone Cactus Need?

Fishbone cactus thrives best in bright indirect light, avoiding direct sun rays, especially during spring and summer when temperatures are high. You will want to place your fishbone cactus near the window: light conditions there are ideal for it.

Proper Watering Techniques for Your Fishbone Cactus

Water your cactus only when the soil is dry to the touch. Avoid overwatering, as excessive humidity can lead to root rot and other issues. During spring, watering needs of your plant might be a bit higher, so you may need to water more frequently. Ensure that any excess moisture drains from the pot or container.

Fertilizing Your Fishbone Cactus: When and How?

Since the fishbone cactus is a succulent plant, it does not require frequent fertilization. However, if you choose to fertilize, giving the plant a balanced fertilizer once every 2-4 weeks during active growing periods (spring) will be enough. Avoid over-fertilizing.

Fishbone Cactus Propagation And Repotting

Here are some tips for propagating and repotting:

How To Propagate A Fishbone Cactus

The propagation process requires stem cuttings at least 6 inches long with several segments. Allow the cutting to air-dry until a callus form before placing it into a moistened rooting medium, such as peat moss mixed with perlite or sand.

When And How To Repot Your Fishbone Cactus

Report your fishbone orchid every two years, moving up in pot size. Be careful not to disturb the root system unnecessarily.

Common Problems With Solutions

Here is everything you need to know about some common fishbone cactus issues and how to handle them:

Identifying And Treating Fishbone Cactus Pests

Mealybugs are one of the pests known to be attracted to this tropical cactus. If detected quickly, they may be easily wiped away using rubbing alcohol on cotton swabs applied directly onto affected areas.

Overcoming Common Fishbone Cactus Issues

Overwatering is a common mistake made by many newbies in houseplant care. Avoid overwatering not only for fishbones but all succulent plants to prevent root rot and other negative effects. Water your fishbone cactus only when the upper inch of the soil has dried thoroughly. Remember: by avoiding overwatering you help your plant stay healthy!

Encouraging Bloom And Aesthetic

Epiphyllum anguliger fishbone cactus

Fishbone cactus is a unique plant that produces beautiful, fragrant flowers in shades of pink, red, cream, white, and yellow. Encourage flowering with good light levels and adequate nutrients from fertilizer when needed at appropriate intervals during its active growth period (spring). Select a location with enough indirect sunlight that is perfect for the fishbone cactus.

Incorporating this stunningly unique-looking cactus indoors as a houseplant is always an added plus. Decoration options range from small hanging baskets and pots on walls and shelves to placements on bookcases: why don’t you turn your home into a tropical rainforest?


How Should I Care for Fishbone Cactus?

The right amount of watering, exposure to light, and soil quality are key to caring for your fishbone cactus. For long-term healthy development, pay attention to the factors surrounding propagation, repotting, pest management, and avoiding overwatering.

How frequently do I need to water my fishbone cactus?

This cactus is native to the tropics where the season affects how often there is water. Watering must be done more frequently in the spring and summer than it must in the winter because of the slower growth rates.

Can You Quickly Procreate New Plants At Home From Existing Ones? How would you approach doing this?

With stem cuttings that are at least 6 inches long, proliferation is both possible and simple. After the stems have been trimmed, give them some time to callus before planting them in a potting mix that drains properly: congratulations, you have started an entirely new plant!

Do I Need to Fertilize My Fishbone Cactus?

Because of its succulent nature, an average cactus doesn’t require frequent fertilization, however during active growing seasons like spring, like spring, using a balanced fertilizer once every two weeks can improve growth rates.

How Much Sunshine Is Need For A Fishbone Cactus?

It is ideal to utilize bright indirect light because direct sun rays can scorch skin and create leaf burn, especially during the hotter months of spring and summer.


In conclusion, fishbone cactus care isn’t difficult if you keep in mind proper sunlight levels, watering techniques, fertilizing advice, propagation tips, and pest control measures. Remember not to overwater your plant since this causes root rot and negatively affects healthy growth cycles.

So go ahead and add one or two fishbone cacti to your collection today! These plants will bring unique beauty into any space they occupy.

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