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Fishbone Cactus Care Guide

Among cacti, there are some truly unique specimens, not only for their structure, form but also for their ability to bloom.

Fishbone cactus, for example, is a well-known example of this type of plant and is now firmly established in many modern homes.

Are you familiar with the Fishbone Cactus?

Fishbone Cactus
Fishbone Cactus

The use of plants and flowers is an excellent way to transform, lighten, and soothe an environment. Fishbone cacti, for example, is a versatile, hardy, and easy-to-maintain species that can thrive in a wide range of environments.

Fishbone cactus has beautiful, exotic foliage in a deep shade of green and is a species that does well in shady areas because it lacks aggressive thorns. 

People who are looking for plants to use as decorative accents in their houses, apartments, or workplaces will find this to be an excellent pick!

While the plant’s foliage is aesthetically pleasing, it also produces very fragrant flowers that only open at night. See below for more information on this fascinating species and how to care for it.

Fishbone Cactus Care Instructions

The Fishbone cactus is a hardy species that grows quickly and doesn’t require much maintenance. Since it’s easy to care for, you’ll be able to keep it looking great and feeling healthy no matter where you put it! 

Growing Fishbone Cactus in Container
Growing Fishbone Cactus in Container

How To Grow A Fishbone Cactus in A Container

The Fishbone cactus is easy to grow in pots or containers if you know how to plant cacti. At this point, the seedling should have developed some roots. 

The first step is to add a drainage layer to the pot, which can be made of gravel, pebbles, shingles, or expanded clay. Then fill the pot with potting soil and plant the seedling in it.

Remember to lightly press the soil around the seedling in order to keep it firmly in place. Finally, keep the plant out of direct sunlight and water it at least once a week.

Fishbone Cactus’s Lighting and Location

Unlike other similar species, the Fishbone cactus is not native to dry or semi-arid regions with full sun. Instead, it has adapted to the trunks of tropical and subtropical trees.

So, it can withstand the sun’s rays that are filtered through the treetops.

This cactus is accustomed to an environment in which the lighting is shady or half-shady, receiving only indirect sunlight.

As a result, the best places for this species to live are near windows, corners and walls, balconies, or under trees.

Place the plant on a windowsill in a western or eastern window, or near a southern window, to keep it out of direct sunlight. Although you can grow fishbone cactus in the northern windows, it requires additional lighting or it won’t flower.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperatures between 18-30 °C (65-86 °F) are ideal for growing the Fishbone cactus, which is native to tropical and subtropical forests. Furthermore, it dislikes cold environments with negative temperatures or frost.

Direct sun will have burnt leaves or extremely dry soil, allowing pests to enter and, in extreme cases, causing the plant to die. So, you should look for locations with moderate temperatures and partial shade.

The fishbone cactus does not require high humidity, but it also does not tolerate dry air. The ideal value is considered to be 50%.

In the winter and summer, you can also gently wipe the stems with a sponge or sprinkle them with warm, freshwater. However, avoid bathing your fishbone cactus on a sunny day, as this can lead to skin burns.

How Often to Water Fishbone Cactus

Watering frequency is determined by the time of year and the condition of the plant. The plant requires more water when in bloom, but keep in mind that it is a cactus, so “often” really means “once a week”.

One watering every 14 days is recommended in the winter and during the rainy seasons. To get the best results, the water should be at least room temperature and not straight from the faucet.

Soil and Fertilizer

Any soil, whether purchased in a store or gathered from a garden plot, will not suffice for your fishbone cactus; it requires loose, well-ventilated, fertile soil.

It is also important to note that cacti are extremely sensitive to soil acidity, and must not exceed a pH of 6 at all.

You can, of course, buy a ready-made substrate for succulents, but you can also make your own soil mixture.

The composition and proportions of the soil are as follows:

  • 4 parts coarse sand and 1 part leaf soil;
  • 1 part humus, 1 part sand, 1 part sod soil and 4 parts leaf soil (you can add another 1 part charcoal, but it is not necessary).

The primary concern of new owners is why their fishbone cactus does not bloom at home.

Unfavorable environmental conditions (humidity, light, temperature) or nutrient deficiencies are most likely to blame. The flower needs regular fertilization in the spring and summer when it is actively growing.

The organic material should be fertile, using worm humus, sterilized and sieved animal manure, or organic fertilizer.

You also need to use NPK fertilizer in a 4:14:8 mixture to get the recommended amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Suitable Pot Size

A container with a drainage hole, low sides, and enough width will be ideal for the fishbone cactus.

The cactus’ roots are unable to penetrate deep into the soil, and in order to stimulate rapid growth, they must be slightly cramped in the pot.

Pour a thick layer of drainage (no less than 1 inch) at the bottom to ensure that excess moisture does not come into contact with the roots. The plant will die as a result of root rot caused by the presence of water.

Transplant Fishbone Cactus Every 2-3 Years

As soon as the flowers have faded, the plants are ready for transplant. When the last flower fades, the plant is allowed to rest for about 4 weeks before being transplanted into a new pot.

Graft the cactus, taking care not to break the fragile stems. Young cacti require annual transplanting, while older cacti can be transplanted every 2-3 years.

New roots appear in about two to three weeks after a plant is replanted. Keep watering and fertilizing the soil as normal when this happens.

Pruning And Tying Stems

Pruning the fishbone cactus is necessary for more than just aesthetic reasons. Pruning preventively revitalizes and heals the plant. Remove all weak (too thin, withered, and bearing mechanical damage) branches without pity.

It is worthwhile to remove shoots that are not even capable of flowering (dry, sick, and woody). For the procedure, a sharp sterile knife is prepared, and it is recommended that the cuts be treated with crushed activated charcoal.

Reduce Watering During Dormant Period

Fishbone cacti should rest from the end of October until the beginning of February so that they can bloom the following year. At this point, keep the cactus in a cool, well-lit area with a temperature of (50-60°F) (10-15°C).

It’s best to stick to the lower end of the range’s recommended range. Water sparingly during the resting period to prevent the roots from drying out. As the weather warms up, gradually resuming watering your cacti is a good idea.

Fishbone Cactus Blooms After 3 Years Of Age

Fishbone cactus blooms frequently and abundantly in most cases. However, there is one exception: cactus blooms after 3 years of age, not immediately.

Flowers begin blooming in mid-to-late spring and can last through July, but some varieties can produce buds twice a year.

Your fishbone cactus will not bloom if you touch or otherwise disturb the pot it is in. The buds are extremely delicate and can fall off at any time.

Reasons Why Fishbone Cactus Does Not Bloom

A lack of sunlight; excessive watering, especially in the winter and during the dormancy period; excess nitrogen in the soil; a large pot; and high temperatures in the winter are all contributing factors.

Ways To Make It Bloom

Fishbone Cactus Flower
Fishbone Cactus Flower

Take the following actions to encourage flowering

  • Increase the amount of light available by using a phytolamp (10-12 hours a day).
  • Adjust watering schedules to reduce the amount of water used and the number of procedures.
  • Maintain a stable temperature. Winter temperatures should be between 50-60°F (10-15 °C), while summer temperatures should not exceed 77°F (25°C)
  • After the dormant season, prune the plant on a yearly basis.
  • If it becomes clear that the pot is too small for the fishbone cactus, move it to a larger container.


In the home, epiphyllum is propagated both vegetatively and by seeds.

Propagating by Cuttings

Fishbone Cactus Propagating by Cuttings
Fishbone Cactus Propagating by Cuttings

This is probably the most popular method. In the spring, while pruning, cuttings are prepared. Cuttings should be no longer than 15 centimeters long. It takes 2 days for the juice to drain from the cuttings.

Then place the cutting in a 2 cm deep container with cacti nutrient substrate and shaded.

After the cuttings have had a month to develop their own root system, they are ready to be transplanted into larger pots to continue their growth.

Fishbone Cactus Seeds for Propagation

To grow plants from seed, you’ll need a lot of time and patience, as well as a few specialized abilities on your part. The plant you get this way will only bloom in its 5th or 6th year of life.

Prepared seeds are sown on a nutrient-rich substrate and watered with a sprayer. Place the container in a bright, warm area.

In order to keep the pot fresh, it is recommended to ventilate it every day and to water it frequently, but not too frequently. In about 30 to 35 days, sprouts may begin to appear. 

Fishbone Catus Propagation By Division

Vegetative propagation can be used to propagate an adult epiphyllum. One or more sections of the mother bush are separated out and placed in their own pots. 

Fishbone Cactus Pests and Diseases

The mealybug is a white insect that leaves a white coating on the stems of the plants it infests. A variety of methods can be used to combat it.

The quickest method is to spray with a solution of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of dish soap, but you can also do without it. You’ll need a cotton swab and a bottle of rubbing alcohol to get the job done.

Go over all areas where there is white plaque as well as the insect with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol.  

After the alcohol treatment, make a soapy solution and give the cactus a good spray from a sprayer, then leave it for 10-15 minutes. Wash it with warm water after that.

Cacti are also plagued by aphids, spider mites, and scales. Treatment with special preparations is the most effective way to handle them. The interval between sprays should not exceed 7 to 10 days.

Black Rot– You can tell if a plant is infected with black rot by looking for black spots on the stems. If cutting out the affected areas is not possible, the affected stem should be completely removed. You can try removing the black spots with a disinfectant 

Dry rot, the plant’s most dangerous disease, is difficult to cure. Symptoms of damage, such as withering stems, appear after the damage is done when nothing else you can do to help.

Brown and reddish spots appear all over the plant as a symptom of rust. During dormancy and low water temperatures, improper watering is to blame. Read this article to get rid of brown spots on cacti

Fusarium is a disease that can be caused by poor plant care. A fusarium is a cactus that begins to turn burgundy or slightly reddish in color if it is exposed to light.

The root cause is excessive and frequent watering, which also causes the roots to rot.

You can use a copper-based fungicide to treat the plant. But in most cases, the plant is dug up, the damaged roots are removed, and the plant is transplanted into a new pot with new soil. These steps will save your fishbone cactus. 

When it comes to the initial watering, it’s best to wait at least a week and use warm, boiled water.

The Fishbone cactus is a sight to behold with its striking foliage and vibrant color. So, take advantage of these tips to grow this cactus in your home.

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