Home Cacti and Succulents Fishbone Cactus: The Complete Guide to Growing and Care

Fishbone Cactus: The Complete Guide to Growing and Care

by Gregory
4 minutes read

Fishbone Cactus: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing and Care


Fishbone cactus (Disocactus anguliger) is a unique and beautiful cactus that is native to tropical Mexico. Unlike most cacti, which thrive in dry, desert-like conditions, fishbone cactus prefers humidity and indirect light. It is also known as zig zag cactus, ricrac cactus, and orchid cactus.

Growing Conditions

Light: Fishbone cactus prefers bright, indirect light. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.

Temperature: Fishbone cactus prefers warm temperatures, between 60-80°F (16-27°C). It is not cold-hardy, so it is important to protect it from frost.

Humidity: Fishbone cactus prefers high humidity. Mist the leaves regularly or use a humidifier to provide adequate moisture.

Soil: Fishbone cactus prefers well-drained but humus-rich soil. A good potting mix for fishbone cactus is a mixture of perlite, orchid bark, and peat-free cactus compost.

Watering: Water fishbone cactus regularly, allowing the top couple of centimeters of the compost to dry out before watering again. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.

Fertilizing: Fertilize fishbone cactus once a year in spring with a liquid cactus fertilizer.


Fishbone cactus makes an attractive, low-maintenance house plant. It is best grown in a hanging pot or placed on a shelf where its beautiful foliage can cascade down.


Pruning: There is no need to prune fishbone cactus, but you may want to remove dead or dying leaves to improve its appearance.

Pests and Diseases: Fishbone cactus is susceptible to a few common pests and diseases, including mealybugs, aphids, and fungus gnats. Treat infestations promptly with the appropriate pesticide.


Fishbone cactus is easily propagated from stem cuttings. Take a stem cutting about 10cm long and allow it to callous over for a day. Then, plant the cutting in a small pot of peat-free cactus compost and keep it moist. You should see signs of growth within a couple of weeks.


Brown spots on the leaves: This can be caused by too much humidity or water left on the leaves. Cut off affected areas to prevent the fungus from spreading.

Leggy growth or thin and rounded stems: This suggests the plant is not getting enough light. Move it to a brighter location.

Wrinkled leaves: This indicates the plant is not getting enough water. Water in small doses over a few days, taking care not to overwater.

Brown, soft stems: This is a sign of root rot. Remove the plant from its pot and allow it to dry out. You may need to cut off affected roots.

Buying a Fishbone Cactus

Fishbone cactus is widely available from a number of retailers. For the most dramatic display, buy the largest plant you can afford. Always check plants for signs of pests and diseases before planting.


Fishbone cactus is a beautiful and easy-to-care-for houseplant. By following these tips, you can keep your fishbone cactus healthy and thriving for years to come.

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