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The complete Ric Rac cactus care guide

Looking for a unique plant to add to your collection? Check out my Ric Rac cactus care guide – this easy plant might be perfect for your home!

I’m not one who is easily excited by gifts. I’m just at a point in my life where, if I want something (within reason) I buy it for myself.

So, when my mom walked in the door for Christmas holding a huge, gorgeous Ric Rac cactus, and my jaw dropped, Sean was truly impressed. He’s always trying to shock and delight me with gifts, but my mom clearly won this one!

Ric Rac cactus is a gorgeous cactus that grows long, unruly branches with a zig zag shape.

Other names for the Ric Rac cactus include:

  • Zig Zag cactus
  • Fishbone cactus
  • Selenicereus Anthonyanus
  • Epiphyllum Anguliger
  • Cryptocereus anthonyanus

These plants originate in Mexico and naturally have flowers that bloom at night. The blooms are rare for indoor plants, but they still make a gorgeous hanging basket or draping potted plant!

These have become popular indoor plants – and for a good reason. Their branches are super unique and beautiful looking!


How do you take care of a Ric Rac cactus?

How often do you water a Ric Rac cactus?

These plants naturally come from humid rainforest need more water than typical cacti. You will want to water when top 2 inches of the soil feel dry.

Be sure to use well draining soil mix and a pot with drainage holes to prevent pooling water which can lead to root rot.

Should I mist my ric rac cactus?

You don’t need to mist your ric rac cactus regularly, but being rainforest plants, they do like a humid environment. Feel free to mist away!

potted zig zag cactus plant on a shelf

How much light does a Ric Rac cactus need?

Zig Zag cactus likes bright indirect light. Too much direct light (like in your backyard) can give the plant sunburn. In nature, they’d have the coverage of trees above them, so they like a similar barrier to the sun.

Can Zig Zag cactus live in low light?

Zig Zag cactus will survive in low light, just expect slow growth!

When do I repot my zig zag cactus?

When the roots fill the pot or are coming out of the soil or the drainage holes, it is time to repot your fishbone cactus plant.

Choose a pot 1-2 inches larger than the current pot.

It is a good idea to repot your fishbone cacti every 1-2 years even if it doesn’t need a new pot. Refreshing the pot with new soil can really help it to grow!

I usually like to repot plants in spring or summer to keep them most happy!

potted zig zag cactus plant on a shelf

How do I get my Ric Rac cactus to flower?

It’s pretty rare for this plant to flower indoors. It’s usually mature plants – at least 3 years old – that flower.

Beyond that, your best bet to get an indoor zig zag cactus to flower is to get it as much bright (indirect) sunlight as possible!

It is also said that these plants are more likely to flower when root bound, so if flowering is your goal, leave it in it’s pot and don’t repot!

Is Rik Rak cactus toxic?

No, this plant is non-toxic! However, if you have kids or pets that like to eat plants, I’d keep it out of reach. The branches are VERY enticing and you don’t want your plant to get ruined!

close up of ric rac cactus

Does the Rik Rak Cactus have thorns?

This cactus doesn’t have typical cactus thorns, but it does have tiny hairs that can really hurt if they get in your skin! Another reason to keep them away from kids and pets!

Can a Zig Zag cactus grow outdoors?

This plant is in USDA Cold Hardiness zones 10B,11,12. If you live somewhere colder, you will need to bring it indoors overnight in colder weather.

Is a ric rac cactus rare?

I don’t think that these plants are rare per se, but I have never seen one at a big box store. You will need to look at a specialty plant store to find one!

Common Ric Rac cactus common problems

Why does my Zig Zag cactus have so many aerial roots?

Zig Zag cacti are epiphytic plants. These plants don’t need soil and grow – in their natural habitat – in the branches of other plants.

Aerial roots help these plants to absorb moisture and nutrients from the air!

Why is there white fluffy stuff on my zig zag cactus?

That sounds like mealy bugs. You can wipe it away. Inspect your plant thoroughly for more. You can use rubbing alcohol to clean it off.

potted ric rac cactus on a shelf

Why is my ric rac cactus turning yellow?

Yellowing branches usually indicates lack of water. If the plant looks shriveled, it definitely needs water.

Why is my ric rac cactus turning brown?

Brown leaves means either waterlogged or too much sun. If it is in direct sun, I bet it is sunburned. If it is not, check the soil. check to see if there is pooling water, dump it and let the plant dry out.

Why is my ric rac cactus new growth skinny?

Skinny new growth usually indicates low light, and it is growing out as much as possible to try to reach the light.

Why is my ric rac cactus wrinkly?

Wrinkly leaves are usually shriveling due to not getting enough water. Water your plant!

How to propagate a zig zag cactus

Zig Zag cactus is easy to propagate in soil or water! Simple cut a segment of the stem and place in soil or water. It will grow roots in place!

Read my complete guide on how to propagate a ric rac cactus!

Any more questions about Zig Zag cactus plant care?!

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