How To Grow & Care For the Ric Rac Cactus

The Ric Rac Cactus, known scientifically as Epiphyllum anguliger, is a strikingly unique plant that offers intriguing aesthetics to any indoor garden. With its zigzag stems that resemble the edges of a ric rac ribbon, this cactus brings a whimsical touch to plant collections. It’s often sought after not only for its appearance but also for its fragrant flowers that bloom mostly during the night.

As a member of the Orchid Cacti group, the Ric Rac Cactus is not a desert cactus but a tropical one. It is native to the humid rainforests of Mexico, where it grows as an epiphyte, climbing and sprawling over other plants. Unlike many other cacti, it doesn’t thrive in arid conditions, but rather prefers a more humid, shaded environment.

The care of Ric Rac Cactus is not particularly demanding, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced plant enthusiasts. With proper attention to its specific needs regarding light, soil, and watering, it can flourish and become a centerpiece of a home or office plant collection.

Common NamesRic Rac Cactus, Fishbone Cactus
Botanical NameEpiphyllum anguliger
Plant TypeEpiphytic Cactus
Mature SizeUp to 2 feet in length
Sun ExposurePartial shade
Soil TypeWell-draining, organic-rich
Hardiness Zones10-11
Native AreaMexico

Ric Rac Cactus Care

Caring for the Ric Rac Cactus requires an understanding of its native tropical environment. Unlike desert cacti, it thrives in a more humid and shaded location. Regular watering and a well-draining, organic-rich soil will mimic its natural habitat.

Fertilizing during the growing season and providing a supportive structure for its sprawling growth can encourage a healthy plant. The Ric Rac Cactus is also known for its night-blooming, fragrant flowers that are pollinated by bats in the wild. In cultivation, proper care can lead to these enchanting blooms.

Light Requirement for Ric Rac Cactus

Ric Rac Cactus prefers bright but indirect light. Protecting it from the harsh afternoon sun will prevent the leaves from scorching. A spot near a north or east-facing window is ideal.

Soil Requirements for Ric Rac Cactus

Plant Ric Rac Cactus in a well-draining, organic-rich soil mix. A combination of potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark can create the ideal substrate.

Water Requirements for Ric Rac Cactus

Water Ric Rac Cactus when the top layer of soil is dry. In the growing season, regular watering is essential, but it should be reduced during the dormant winter months to prevent overwatering.

Temperature and Humidity

The Ric Rac Cactus thrives in temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C). Higher humidity levels are beneficial, which can be achieved by misting or using a humidifier.


Feed Ric Rac Cactus with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season. A diluted solution applied every 4 weeks will suffice.

Pruning Ric Rac Cactus

Pruning is rarely necessary, but removing dead or damaged stems will keep the plant healthy. This can be done with clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears.

Propagating Ric Rac Cactus

Ric Rac Cactus can be propagated through stem cuttings. Take a cutting, let it dry for a day or two, then plant it in a suitable soil mix. It should root within a few weeks.

How To Grow Ric Rac Cactus From Seed

Growing Ric Rac Cactus from seed is a slow process. Plant seeds in a moist soil mix, cover them lightly, and keep the environment humid. Germination may take several weeks.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases


Infestations can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Root Rot

Caused by overwatering; ensure proper drainage and avoid soggy soil.

Common Problems With Ric Rac Cactus

Drooping Stems

Often a sign of overwatering. Check the soil and adjust watering habits accordingly.

Failure to Bloom

Can be due to insufficient light or improper care. Review care practices and make necessary adjustments.

Yellowing Leaves

May indicate a nutrient deficiency or overwatering. Assess soil condition and feeding routine.

Pro Tips

  1. Avoid direct sunlight to prevent leaf scorching.
  2. Provide support for sprawling growth.
  3. Maintain higher humidity levels for optimal growth.
  4. Protect from cold drafts and sudden temperature changes.
  5. Allow soil to dry between waterings, especially during winter.