Fishbone Cactus

Fishbone Cactus Care

Epiphyllum anguliger

Basic Fishbone Cactus Care

Fishbone Cacti are quite easy to take care of and reward you with fast growth and even the occasional purple and pink flower here and there. They are also super easy to propagate making them a great gift for friends and family. Below you will find all the information you need to care for your Fishbone Cactus.

Bright Indirect Light

I love the sunshine but too much direct light will damage my leaves.

Water Moderately

I don't like my soil to be too dry or too soggy. Little and often is what I'm after.

High Humidity

I thrive in humid environments so please mist my leaves every so often.

Draining Soil

I like a mix that includes peat moss and perlite as these prevent my roots from becoming water-logged.

Detailed Fishbone Cactus Care Information

Whether you're looking to make sure your Fishbone Cactus is in it's perfect conditions, or looking to see if one could work for your space. We've got you covered.

Fishbone Cactus

They love the sunshine

Fishbone Cacti adapt well to a mix of light levels and can easily thrive in bright, indirect sunshine as well as medium light too. Their flat leaves mean they have adapted to soak in as much sunlight as possible so are a great choice for most plant parents. They can deal with some direct sunshine but burn easily so be cautious. 

If they get the right level of sunlight over the year, your Fishbone Cactus will reward you by flowering so it is definitely worth keeping an eye on those light levels.

They need a little more water than other cacti

Fishbone Cacti are native to more tropical climates, rather than the desert so it is best to water it slightly more than your other cacti types. Make sure their soil is able to dry out between waterings as Fishbone Cactus plants don’t like to be sat in water too much. Adjust your watering schedule throughout the year so that the potting mix isn’t too soggy during autumn and winter. 

Fishbone Cacti prefer warmer temperatures

Although your Fishbone Cactus will prefer slightly warmer temperatures, they won’t die on you immediately if the temperatures drops a little so don’t worry about it too much. Avoid placing too close to cold drafts as this will over time damage the health of your Fishbone Cactus. 

High humidity is important for a Fishbone Cactus

Fishbone Cacti thrive in humid environments so are best placed in the bathroom or kitchen where humidity levels are natural higher due to showering and cooking. Misting, using pebble trays or buying a humidifier are the easiest ways for you to increase the humidity for your Fishbone Cactus. You can find out more in our humidity guide.

Feeding your Fishbone Cactus is not a necessity

We wouldn’t worry too much about fertilising your Fishbone Cactus but if you do want to, we recommend using a water-soluble fertiliser at half strength so that it doesn’t cause too much harm to the roots. Fertilising too much can cause stunted growth, yellow leaves and a whole load of other problems. 

Look out for signs you need to repot your Fishbone Cactus

Every year or so, it may be time to repot your Fishbone Cactus as it can become unstable and stressed if root bound for too long. Make sure to handle the plant carefully when repotting to avoid any damage to the root system or leaves. Check to see if the roots are popping out from the top of bottom of the pot as this is a telltale sign that you need to repot your Fishbone Cactus. 

Propagating your Fishbone Cactus couldn’t be easier!

If you want to propagate your Fishbone Cactus, you can do this by taking a leaf cutting. Try to take a cutting of about 10cm to give it the best chance at producing roots. Leave the cutting in a dry place for a few weeks for it to harden at the base before potting directly into soil. You might choose to use rooting powder to encourage new roots to grow but it’s up to you! 

Fishbone Cacti are safe for pets

Another great thing about Fishbone Cacti is that they are completely non-toxic for dogs and cats so you don’t need to worry about it being near your beloved furry friends. Although they don’t have super sharp spikes like a lot of other cacti, Fishbone Cacti do have small spines that can cause irritation so wear gloves when handling. 

A Fishbone Cactus can develop flowers, but rarely

It can happen that your Fishbone Cactus grows a few flowers during spring and summer if the conditions are right. They need a little extra sun during summer and a touch of fertiliser to help them grow their incredible pink and purple flowers. 

When it comes to flowering though, be aware that they don’t last long and will wilt after only a day or two.

If your Fishbone Cactus isn’t producing flowers then don’t be alarmed. This only happens in mature plants and as long as your plant isn’t showing any other signs of unhappiness, a lack of flowers doesn’t suggest anything is wrong. Just make sure your plant gets ample sunlight during spring and summer to encourage flowers but otherwise, there is nothing you can do, they are a little unpredictable.

You need a well-draining potting mix

To help your Fishbone Cactus thrive, you need to make sure you are using a well-draining potting mix. This will help avoid problems caused by overwatering and waterlogged soil. Perlite is the main component that is needed for Fishbone Cacti.

About the Fishbone Cactus

Also known as the Zig Zag plant, the Fishbone Cactus is a low-maintenance and easy to propagate houseplant. Their flat leaves mean that they can adapt well to spots in your home with medium light levels making them a perfect plant for every plant parent! Although they are called a cactus, Fishbone Cacti actually need more light than most other cacti so make sure you aren’t leaving it too long between waterings. 

Fishbone Cacti are quite quick growers and you’ll soon enough see lots of new leaves popping out. Because of this, it also means that you’ll need to regularly repot your Fishbone Cactus into a new planter. Make sure to pick one only a few cm wider in diameter otherwise, this can cause your plant to become unstable. 

Another great thing about the Fishbone Cactus is that it’s one of the easiest plants to propagate. Just take a leaf cutting and pop it in fresh potting soil and it’ll grow roots – yes it’s as easy as that!

Fishbone Cactus FAQs

Quick and simple answers to the most common questions we see about the Fishbone Cactus .

Fishbone Cacti are native to more tropical climates, rather than the desert so need a little bit more water than most other cactus types. You still need to ensure that the potting mix has time to dry out between waterings as they are pretty sensitive to root rot but expect to water a little more during summer to prevent the roots from crisping up and the leaves drying out. 

They can deal with a little bit of direct light but you want to be careful about this during summer when the sun can be pretty intense. Areas with bright but indirect light are best for your Fishbone Cactus. 

As with most other Cactus types, the Fishbone Cactus is pretty slow growing. Whilst you will often notice many leaves popping out at once, these take a long time to mature and flatten out. 

Once you have found the right spot for your Fishbone Cactus, they can be pretty low maintenance. Because they don’t need any extra humidity, it just means you need to get into the right watering pattern and most of the hard work is done. 

The Fishbone Cactus is completely non-toxic for dogs and cats, however, new leaves do have quite a few small spines on them so best to keep them out of reach of pets and children. Although they don’t have super sharp spikes like a lot of other cacti, Fishbone Cacti do have small spines that can cause irritation so wear gloves when handling. 

Occasionally, a Fishbone Cactus will start to develop pink and purple flowers but this is very unpredictable. A lack of flowers on its own doesn’t suggest that anything is wrong but if you do want to encourage growth, then make sure your plant is getting a few hours here and there of direct sunlight.

It’s also worth noting that even when your Fishbone Cactus does produce the odd flower, these won’t last long and will wilt in a day or two.

It’s perfectly normal for the flowers on a Fishbone Cactus to wilt and die after only a few days. There is nothing you can do to get them to hang around for longer, unfortunately.

Fishbone Cactus Care Starter Kit

We've put together this great little starter kit that includes all of the equipment and information you'll need to take proper care of your Fishbone Cactus .

Fishbone Cactus

Common Problems with your Fishbone Cactus

Here are some common issues that you might run into. It's important to diagnose any issues early to give your plant the best chance of bouncing back.

If you notice the leaves on your Fishbone Cactus are starting to become quite dry and cripsy, it is probably due to underwatering. Although this plant is a cactus type, it actually requires more water than others. Your first instinct may be to drown your plant to overcompensate for the lack of water but this can actually shock your plant and cause more damage. Instead, slowly reintroduce watering for your Fishbone Cactus over a week or two and it should rectify the issue. 

In future, we recommend using a moisture meter to make sure that you don’t leave it too long between waterings.

Dark patches on your Fishbone Cactus indicates leaf burn. This occurs when your plant has spent too much time in direct sunlight. Cut away the burnt leaves and place your plant in a shadier spot. Fishbone Cacti adapt well to medium light levels due to their flat leaves. 

White patches on your Fishbone Cactus is a sign that it is suffering from a mealybug infestation. Wipe the leaves clean with a damp cloth and treat with an insecticide. Fishbone Cacti plants are quite resistant to pests unless their care or environment isn’t ideal so make sure that you are following the care guide above to prevent another infestation. 

Simple Fishbone Cactus Care Requirements

It sometimes helps to take caring for your plants back to the basics, here's the key considerations that you should take into account when caring for your Epiphyllum anguliger.

These simple points should give you all you need to keep your plant happy and healthy for years to come.

Common NameFishbone Cactus
Latin NameEpiphyllum anguliger
LightBright Indirect Light
WaterWater Moderately
HumidityHigh Humidity
Soil TypeDraining Soil

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