Have you ever considered propagating your fishbone cactus? If not, then it’s time to give it a try! Keep reading to learn all about how to propagate fishbone cactus.
Propagation is the process of creating new plants from existing ones. And with its unique appearance and easy maintenance, the fishbone cactus, also known as Epiphyllum anguliger or zig zag cactus, is a popular choice for plant enthusiasts.
What is Fishbone Cactus?
Before we dive into propagation, let’s first learn a bit about the fishbone cactus. Native to the jungles of Mexico, this plant is a type of epiphytic cactus that grows on trees or rocks instead of in soil.
Its long and flat stems resemble a fishbone, hence its name. The zig zag pattern of its stems also adds to its unique appearance, making it an eye-catching addition to any plant collection.
Types of Fishbone Cactus
Though the term ‘Fishbone Cactus‘ is often used to refer to the species Epiphyllum anguliger, there are actually several types of cacti with a similar fishbone structure that gardeners can grow. Below are different types of plants you can enjoy of this cactus species.
Disocactus anguliger is another popular type, which has a more rounded and fuller stem compared to the Epiphyllum anguliger. Other varieties include Disocactus flagelliformis and Selenicereus anthonyanus.
There’s Epiphyllum anguliger, often referred to as the true fishbone cactus, notable for its zig-zag shaped stems and fragrant flowers that bloom at night. This plant is particularly well-loved for its unique, ornamental appearance.
Orchid cactus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) is another variety that has a similar fishbone structure but with thinner, more elongated stems. This plant produces large and showy flowers, making it a popular choice among growers.
Another species is Selenicereus anthonyanus, also known as the Rick-Rack Cactus due to the deep zig-zag pattern on its stems. It’s characterized by large, star-shaped flowers that usually open at night.
Ric rac cactus (Cryptocereus anthonyanus) is another type that closely resembles the fishbone cactus, with its stems forming an almost perfect zig-zag pattern. However, it produces small pink flowers and has a more compact growth habit.
Finally, there’s Cryptocereus anthonyanus, another close relative, often mistaken for Selenicereus anthonyanus. It also boasts an unusual zig-zag stem and flowers that open after dark, but it’s distinguishable by its darker green color and smaller size.
These are just a few examples of the beautiful and varied fishbone cacti available to growers. All share a similar structure, adding an intriguing visual element to any indoor or outdoor garden.
Why Propagate Fishbone Cactus?
There are several reasons why you may want to propagate your fishbone cactus. Firstly, it’s a great way to create more plants for yourself or to share with friends and family.
Secondly, propagation can help rejuvenate an old or leggy plant by encouraging new growth. And lastly, propagating your fishbone cactus is a fun and rewarding experience that allows you to witness the growth of new plants from cuttings.
When to Propagate Zig-Zag Cactus?
The best time to propagate your fishbone cactus is during its active growing season, which usually occurs in spring and late summer. This is when the plant naturally produces new growth, making it easier for cuttings to root and grow.
How to Prepare Fishbone Cactus for Propagation?
Before propagating your fishbone cactus, it’s important to make sure it is in good health. Look for any signs of pests or diseases and treat them accordingly before taking cuttings. Additionally, you should choose a healthy stem with no visible damage or rot to use for propagating.
How to Propagate Fishbone Cactus in Water?
Propagating fishbone cactus in water is a simple and effective method. Here’s how to do it step by step:
- Choose a healthy stem and cut it into 4-6 inch sections using a sharp, clean knife or pair of scissors.
- Let the cuttings dry for a day to allow the wound to callous over and prevent rotting.
- Fill a jar or glass with filtered water and place the cuttings in it, making sure at least 1-2 inches of the stem is submerged.
- Place the jar in a bright area, but not in direct sunlight.
- Change the water every week to prevent bacteria growth.
- After a few weeks, you should start to see small roots forming from the bottom of the stem. Once the roots are about an inch long, you can transfer the cuttings to soil.
How to Propagate Fishbone Cactus in Soil?
Another way to propagate your fishbone cactus is by using soil. Here’s how:
- Prepare a well-draining pot with a mixture of cactus or succulent potting mix and perlite.
- Take cuttings as described in the previous method and let them callous over for a day.
- Place the cuttings about an inch deep into the soil, making sure to leave at least one node (where the leaves grow from) above the soil line.
- Water the soil lightly and place the pot in a bright spot with indirect sunlight.
- Mist the cuttings every few days to maintain humidity.
- After a few weeks, you should see new growth from the top of the stem, indicating successful propagation.
How to Select the Right Pot and Soil for Propagated Fishbone Cactus?
When it comes to selecting a pot and soil for your propagated fishbone cactus, it’s important to choose wisely. As an epiphytic plant, the fishbone cactus prefers well-draining soil and a container with good drainage holes. A mixture of cactus or succulent potting mix and perlite is ideal for this plant.
How to Care for Propagated Fishbone Cactus?
Once your fishbone cactus cuttings have successfully rooted and started growing, they will require the same care as a mature plant.
- Water: Like most succulents, the fishbone cactus is drought-tolerant and prefers infrequent watering. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and be careful not to overwater as it can cause root rot.
- Light and Temperature: These plants thrive in bright but indirect sunlight. Too much direct sun can cause sunburn on the leaves, whereas lack of light will result in leggy growth. They also prefer temperatures between 70-80°F (21-27°C).
- Humidity: As mentioned earlier, fishbone cactus is an epiphytic plant that requires high humidity levels. You can maintain humidity by misting the plants or placing them in a humid environment, such as a bathroom.
- Fertilizer: It’s not necessary to fertilize your propagated fishbone cactus, but if you choose to do so, use a diluted solution of balanced orchid fertilizer or water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season.
Fishbone Cactus Flower
One of the most rewarding aspects of growing fishbone cactus is its beautiful pink and white flowers. While it can take several years for a mature plant to produce blooms, propagated plants may flower sooner if given proper care and conditions.
The flowers typically open at night and last for one day before closing.
Pests and Diseases
Fishbone cactus is generally resistant to pests and diseases, but it’s still important to keep an eye out for common issues such as mealybugs or root rot.
Spider mites and fungus gnats can also destroy your fishbone cactus plant. If you notice any pests or signs of disease, treat them immediately to prevent further damage.
Treat any infestations or diseases promptly to prevent them from spreading to other plants.
Most Common Problem of Epiphytic Plants
One of the most common problems faced by epiphytic plants, such as fishbone cactus, is overwatering. These plants have adapted to grow in environments with limited water and are not used to being constantly moist.
Overwatering can cause root rot, killing the plant. It’s important to remember that less is more when it comes to watering epiphytic plants. Another issue is insufficient light, which can cause leggy growth or even make the plant stop growing altogether.
Make sure to place your fishbone cactus in a bright spot with indirect sunlight to promote healthy growth. With proper care and attention, you can avoid these common problems and help your fishbone cactus thrive.
What to do with Fishbone Plants in Winter Months?
During the winter months, it’s important to protect your fishbone cactus plants from colder temperatures and drafts. If possible, move them to a warmer location or provide some extra protection with a plant cover or insulation.
Also, be mindful of watering during this time as the plant may not require as much water due to slower growth. With proper care and attention, your fishbone cactus plants can thrive year-round. So don’t let the colder months deter you from propagating and caring for these unique plants.
How to Propagate Fishbone Cactus FAQ’s
Check out these frequently asked questions to learn more about how to propagate fishbone cactus.
Can you propagate a fishbone cactus in water?
Yes, you can propagate a fishbone cactus in water. The preferred method to propagate a fishbone cactus is through stem cuttings, where you take a healthy stem segment and let it callus for a few days before planting it in well-draining soil.
Can you put a cactus straight into soil?
Yes, you can naturally propagate cactus cuttings by putting them directly into well-draining soil. For example, with the fishbone cactus, let the cuttings callus for a few days, then plant them in soil to encourage root development and successful propagation.
Do fishbone cactus like sun or shade?
Fishbone cacti prefer bright, indirect sunlight. They thrive when placed in a location with filtered or dappled sunlight. Too much direct sun can scorch their delicate leaves.
This is important to consider when naturally propagating fishbone cacti, as the right light conditions promote healthy growth from cuttings.
Can you propagate cactus in water?
Fishbone cacti, like many other cacti, are typically not propagated naturally in water. The recommended method for propagating fishbone cactus is through stem cuttings in well-draining soil, as water propagation can lead to root rot.
How to Propagate Fishbone Cactus Conclusion
Propagating your fishbone cactus is a simple and rewarding process that allows you to multiply your plant collection while rejuvenating old or leggy plants.
With the right preparation, method, and aftercare, you can successfully propagate your Epiphyllum anguliger and enjoy its unique beauty in multiple pots.
So why not give it a try and see your fishbone cactus grow and thrive? Happy propagating!