How to Grow Care for a Zig- Zag Cactus: Also called Ric Rac and Fishbone Cactus

What is this beautiful houseplant? I want to buy one if it’s not too hard to care for. Thanks for your time.

Hi Thomas,

Your plant has several names: Ric Rac orchid cactus, Fishbone cactus, Zig-Zag cactus and St. Anthony’s Ric-Rac. The scientific name is Selenicereus anthonyanus. It has beautiful flowers that bloom at night and very unusual looking leaves.

Red and Pink Fishbone Cactus-Selenicereus anthonyanus

Flowering Fishbone Cactus
Rik Rac Cactus, ZigZag Cactus
Selenicereus anthonyanus

Light: Fishbone cactus (Ric Rac cactus) like bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. and can even tolerate some bright sun. Move it outside during warm weather months.

Water: Like most cactus, Fishbone cactus do best when allowed to dry out between waterings. During the winter when the plant is resting, decrease your water even more. Return to regular watering schedule in the spring when the plant starts to grow again.
Fertilize: These plants need very little plant food. Feed with a water-soluble cactus or orchid fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.   in April.
propagationLearn how to propagate plants by plant division at Really easy to propagate! Take a piece of stem cutting and let it lay out for a few days until a callus develops on the cut end. Insert the callused end into a small pot of a loose peat moss mixture. Water sparingly and place in medium light. You’ll have a new plant before you know it. That’s all there is to it.

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