Fishbone Cactus- Grow Non-spiky Zigzag Cactus in Low Light Indoors

Don’t have enough sun for desert cacti? This cactus thrives in lower light!The fishbone cactus (Disocactus anguliger) is not like other cacti. This tropical, epiphytic cactus is from Mexico and is perfect for cactus lovers who don’t have the right conditions to keep the typical desert cacti alive. It does well even when it doesn’t get direct sunlight and grows best when damp. 

Fishbone Cactus 

The fishbone cactus is grown for its unique, toothed stems. It is also known as the zigzag cactus, the ricrac cactus, and the orchid cactus. You can show off the beautiful leaves of your cactus by hanging a pot or planter from the ceiling. Read the whole article to know more about growing this unique zig-zag cactus.

Care for a Fishbone Cactus 

The fishbone cactus is easy to take care of and grows well as a houseplant. It does best in bright, indirect light and likes it moist and humid. The fishbone cactus comes from the jungles of Mexico and grows on tree branches. It is epiphytic, which means it can grow in low soil if needed. 


In its natural habitat, the fishbone cactus grows as an understory plant and gets indirect light from a few spots. The fishbone cactus needs a spot that gets few hours of bright, indirect light when grown inside. 


This houseplant likes a potting mix that is well-drained, airy, and full of organic matter. This is because it grows on other plants. To make the best mix for the fishbone cactus, mix one-part commercial cactus/succulent soil, one part perlite, one part peat moss, and one part orchid bark mix. 

Fishbone Cactus 


Unlike desert cacti, the fishbone cactus likes to be watered often. It would be best if you generally watered your cactus when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry. If you water your fishbone cactus with too cold water, it can shock the roots. Fishbone cacti are also sensitive to chemicals in city water. If water is hard, let it sit out for 24 hours before watering your cactus, or use distilled water. 

Temperature and Humidity

The fishbone cactus grows best in warm and humid places, like the jungle. Keep the temperature between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius (60 to 78 F) and the humidity above 60%. 


You should use a liquid cactus and succulent fertilizer to feed your fishbone cactus once in the early spring. As long as the fishbone cactus’s growing medium has organic matter (peat moss or orchid bark mix), it won’t need to be fertilized again during the year. 


Fishbone cacti don’t need to be pruned often to stay healthy and happy. However, you may want to trim them every so often for looks. The good news is that any cuttings taken while you can use trimming to make new plants. 

Propagation of Fishbone Cactus 

Stem cuttings are an easy way to make more fishbone cacti. Propagating your fishbone cactus is a great way to make new plants and fill out your existing plant. Don’t try to grow more of your fishbone cactus in the fall or winter when it goes dormant. Instead, it would be best if you did propagation in the spring and summer. Here’s how to make stem cuttings from your  cactus to make more plants: 

  1. Take cuttings from your plant with a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears. The cuttings should be between 4 and 5 inches long. 
  2. Place the cuttings in a cool, dry place for at least 24 hours so the cut edge can harden. 
  3. Fill a small pot with potting soil that drains well and is light and airy. Lightly wet the soil. 
  4. Plant the calloused cuttings in the potting mix that has already been moistened, and put the potted cuttings in a place that gets bright, indirect light. 
  5. Give the cuttings a little water every few days to keep the soil moist. 
  6. Once you see signs of new growth, you can treat the cuttings like a normal fishbone cactus again. Now is the time to move the cuttings to a new container. 
Fishbone Cactus 
Photo by feey on Unsplash

How to Bloom a Fishbone Cactus ?

  • For the fishbone cactus to bloom in late summer and fall, it must be cold from winter to early spring, ideally between 52 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit (or 11-14 degrees Celsius).
  • Start regular care again in late spring. Some growers have found that putting a high-potassium tomato fertilizer on their fishbone cactus in the summer helps it bloom later in the season. 
  • If none of these steps lead to flowers, try again next year. Fishbone cacti are notoriously hard to get to bloom indoors, and they may need care for a couple of years before they are ready to bloom. 

Common Plant Pests and Diseases 

Because the fishbone cactus likes it when it is humid, it is vulnerable to several common pests and diseases. Mealybugs, fungus gnats, and aphids are all common pests. Root rot and fungal leaf spots are both common diseases. 

Leggy growth

A healthy fishbone cactus’s stems should be flat and have wide, zigzag edges. If all of the stems stay thin and round, this could mean that your plant is not getting enough light. Try moving your fishbone cactus closer to a window. 

Leaves with brown spots

Your cactus could get fungal leaf spots if there is too much humidity or if you let water sit on its leaves. Most of the time, these brown spots are slightly raised. This happens more often on plants grown outside but can also happen inside. Even though the scars on the leaves are ugly, they won’t kill your plant. To stop the fungus from spreading, just cut off the affected areas. 

Wrinkled Leaves 

If the leaves on your fishbone cactus are wrinkly, it means it needs more water. But don’t worry; as long as the stems aren’t completely dry, your cactus will come back to life as soon as you water it.

(Also Read-Indoor Flowering Plant For Low Light Conditions)

Fishbone Cactus 


Zigzag cacti don’t like cold winds very much. Keep them away from cold doors or windows you often open in the winter. If you can help it, don’t put the plant above or near a forced-air heat register. This plant doesn’t like the warm, dry air because it needs humidity. This article should have given you some good tips for taking care of a fishbone cactus. They are great houseplants for both beginners and experts, so we recommend adding one (or two!) to your collection.

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