How To Grow Ric Rac Cactus?

ric rac cactus

The Ric Rac Cactus (Epiphyllum anguliger or Disocactus anguliger), better known as the fishbone cactus or zigzag cactus, originates from the tropical rainforests of Chiapas, Mexico. Its natural habitats are steep hillsides, where the plant is left hanging. It’s perfect for a swinging basket.

The zigzag cactus has cheery green leaves with wavy edges. The leaves can grow to be two feet long and two inches wide. If you take good care of this succulent, you might be graced by its flowers. It blooms after reaching the age of three.

The flowers are a beautiful white and deep rose pink, looking slightly like an orchid. They flower only for a few days and the blooming process is rarely triggered, so be patient. Don’t worry about the thorns. Those grow when the plant has gotten old and rarely even then.

Edible Fruit

Interestingly, the flowers of this plant will turn into little green fruits, which are edible. The fruit will taste something like a gooseberry. 

Grow & Care

This plant is rather tough and will withstand some mistakes. Its ability to thrive in basic household conditions makes it quite popular. Even after giving it the bare minimum of attention it needs, it can gift you beautiful flowers. Because of its origins, this cactus likes higher humidity levels than other cacti.


This cactus can survive outdoors in the USDA Cold Hardiness zones 10B, 11, and 12. It will grow nicely indoors. Perfect temperatures would be between 65 – 85 °F (18 – 29 °C). Do not leave your plant in temperatures below 50 °F, as this will damage the plant greatly.

Because of its origins, the zigzag cactus does enjoy humidity. However, the cactus will also be fine growing and blooming in a regular household, without high humidity.

Flowering Fishbone Cactus
Flowering Fishbone Cactus Source: Storm


Like many other houseplants, the fishbone cactus will thrive in bright indirect sunlight. To help match the rainforest conditions you can place the plant by a south-facing window and cover the window with a sheer curtain. This cactus will need indirect sunlight for most of the day. It loves the morning sun and a shady afternoon.

Soil & Fertilizer

This plant will need very porous soil. A good option is to buy a mix made for cacti. You can also mix the soil yourself: three parts potting soil and one part pumice. The soil should have a pH level of 6-7 meaning neutral.

Fertilize your cactus once every two weeks from early spring to fall. Feed the Ric Rac Cactus with a water-soluble fertilizer high in phosphorus and low in nitrogen. Do not fertilize in the winter. 


This tough plant can go long periods without water. However, it is best to water your cactus when the soil is dry to the touch, specifically the first top inch of the soil. 

Do not overwater your Ric Rac, otherwise, you will have to deal with root rot. Drooping will occur when the plant isn’t receiving enough water. If the soil feels damp, moist, or colder than the surface then do not water.

Fishbone cactus thorns
Fishbone cactus with thorns


Usually, a Ric Rac doesn’t need pruning. If a leaf is sick you must cut it from the very base. Use sharp shears or scissors. If the plant grows too big you can prune it. Do this after it finishes blooming. You can save those cuttings to grow more Ric Rac cacti.


There are two ways to propagate this cactus, by stem cuttings in soil or water.

#1 Propagating in Soil

  • Cut off a piece, with sharp scissors or shears, making sure it’s a couple of inches long.
  • Let the cut ending dry out and harden over.
  • Plant in a well-draining or succulent soil.
  • Water once a week or according to the soils dryness
  • Make sure it receives medium or bright indirect sunlight

#2 Propagating in Water

  • Cut off a piece, with sharp scissors or shears, making sure it’s a couple of inches long.
  • Place it in a vial or a jar with water.
  • Make sure that only the very bottom is in the water.
  • Add the water as it evaporates over time. 
  • After the cutting has developed a few inch-long roots plant it into well-draining or succulent soil.


Repot your plant every three to four years. Repotting will help the fishbone cactus absorb the much-needed nutrients better. Repotting will also help the roots breathe and make your plant live longer.

The Ric Rac Cactus does grow and bloom when somewhat rootbound. When repotting your succulent, replace the old pot with a new one or two inches bigger.

Diseases & Pests

This plant is vulnerable to diseases such as branch dieback, rust spot, and stem rot. All three diseases are caused by overwatering. To remove stem rot remove it from the base and repot it. Any other disease can be cured by removing the infected parts or by propagating.

The Ric Rac might attract mealybugs, aphids, and scales. Always keep an eye on your plant to spot the infection early for easier removal. If an infection is spotted you must clean down the plants’ leaves, isolate them, and treat them with pesticides if necessary.


This plant’s graceful and eye-catching looks can spark up any room. The Ric Rac Cactus is perfect for beginners with its easy-care routine needing only some attention now and then. The prices range from 5 dollars to 30 dollars depending on its size and age. This plant will fit in perfectly with new plant lovers, not needing too much but just enough to teach you the ways of plants. 

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