Have you ever encountered a plant so extraordinary that it stops you in your tracks? The ‘Ric Rac Cactus,’ also known as the ‘Fishbone Cactus,’ is one such plant. In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about this unique succulent, from its appearance and natural habitat to its care requirements and potential problems.
Brief overview of ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus)
The ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ (Epiphyllum anguliger) is an eye-catching, epiphytic cactus known for its distinctive zigzag-shaped leaves that resemble fishbones. It’s an excellent tropical cactus for both new and experienced succulent enthusiasts, as it’s relatively low-maintenance and adds a touch of the exotic to any collection.
Importance of proper care
Proper care is crucial for any plant, but it’s especially important for ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus). By understanding its needs and preferences, you can help it thrive and enjoy its beautiful, fragrant blooms for years to come.
Common Names and Etymology
‘Ric Rac Cactus’ goes by several names, including Fishbone Cactus, Zigzag Cactus, and Moon Cactus. Its scientific name, Epiphyllum anguliger, is derived from the Greek words “epi” (upon) and “phyllon” (leaf), referring to its growth habit, and “anguliger,” which means “angle-bearing” in Latin, alluding to its angular leaf edges.
Appearance and Characteristics
Size and growth rate
‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) is a relatively fast-growing epiphytic cactus, easily reaching up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) in height. Its stems can stretch up to 24 inches (61 cm) long, making it a stunning focal point in any garden or indoor setup.
Flowers and blooming
The flowers of ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) are just as remarkable as its leaves. They are large, funnel-shaped, and fragrant, with a creamy-white color and a hint of yellow or red. Blooms typically appear between late summer and early fall, with the right care.
As an epiphytic plant, ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) has adapted to grow on other plants, such as trees, without taking nutrients from its host. This allows it to access more sunlight and moisture in its natural habitat, giving it a competitive edge in the plant world.
‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) is native to the tropical rainforests of Mexico, where it thrives in the understory, using trees and other plants for support. It’s well-adapted to the humid, warm environment and can tolerate a certain degree of shade.
Basic Care Instructions
For optimal growth, ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) needs bright, indirect light. Mimic the type of dappled light it would get if it were under the canopy of the rainforest. Direct sunlight can scorch its leaves, so it’s essential to provide some shade, especially during the hottest hours of the day.
As a succulent, ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) has specific watering needs. It prefers a thorough watering once every 7-10 days during the growing season, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. In winter, reduce the frequency to once every 2-3 weeks.
Temperature and cold hardiness
‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) is not cold-hardy and can be damaged by temperatures below 50°F (10°C). ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ thrives in temperatures between 60-80°F (15-27°C), so be sure to protect it from cold drafts and frost.
Feed your Ric Rac Cactus with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength to avoid over-fertilizing.
Succulent fertilizer available to purchase on Etsy.
Pruning and dormancy
Prune your Ric Rac Cactus in late winter or early spring, removing any dead or damaged stems. This will encourage bushier growth and help maintain a manageable size. The ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ goes dormant during the winter months, so it’s essential to reduce watering and cease fertilization during this time.
‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) can be easily propagated by stem cuttings. Simply take a healthy stem segment, allow it to dry for a few days to form a callus, and then plant it in well-draining cactus mix. Keep the soil slightly moist, and the ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ cutting should root within a few weeks.
When you’re rooting or transplanting your succulents and cacti, use SUPERthrive to help reduce the chance of transplant shock and grow a strong root system.
Common Problems and Pests
‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) may experience common issues like root rot, caused by overwatering, or stem rot, resulting from high humidity or poor air circulation. Keep an eye out for pests such as mealybugs, scale insects, or spider mites, which can be controlled using insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Consider amending your soil with Bonsai Jack’s gritty mix to ensure your succulent soil drains quickly to prevent it from staying moist for too long. Source: Etsy
Indoor vs. Outdoor Growth
‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) can be grown both indoors and outdoors, depending on your climate. In regions with mild winters, it can be planted outside, provided it’s sheltered from direct sunlight and extreme cold. For those in colder areas, it’s best to grow the ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ in a container that can be easily moved indoors during winter.
Although ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) is not known to be toxic to humans, it can cause mild digestive upset if ingested by pets. Keep the cactus out of reach of curious cats, dogs, and other animals to avoid any potential issues.
‘Ric Rac Cactus’ Epiphyllum anguliger (Fishbone Cactus) is a stunning, low-maintenance succulent that can brighten up any space with its unique appearance and fragrant blooms. By understanding its care requirements and potential challenges, you can keep your ‘Ric Rac Cactus’ happy and healthy for years to come. So why not add this fascinating epiphyte to your collection and enjoy the beauty it has to offer?