8 Ultimate Ric Rac Cactus Care Tips You Need To Know

How To Care For The Ric Rac Cactus

Ric Rac cactus, also known as the fishbone, zigzag, or orchid cactus, has originated in the tropical rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico. This fabulously uniquely shaped cactus does not look like the traditional cacti plants but is a great indoor houseplant.

It naturally grows as an epiphyte, a plant that grows on other plants but is not a parasite. The ric rac cactus does not get taller than two feet, so you may grow it in any corner of your home.

You would have started dreaming about bringing the one for yourself, but a little wait! Before heading to the nursery, let’s get through the ric rac cactus care guide.

If you already have the ric rac cactus and are looking for how to care for the ric rac cactus, here you’ll find many useful tips for your cactus, so stick with me!

What Is Ric Rac Cactus?

Ric rac cactus, native to Central and South America, have long ric rac leaves. It does not grow much higher, but the leaves spread around the plant, making it an ideal indoor plant for hanging baskets.

The original color of the cactus is white, but it is now usually found as a hybrid. It has big showy blooms in multi colors (yellow, pink, red, orange, or purple). So, you may buy any of your favorite colored cacti.

When mature, it produces beautiful white and pink flowers open only at night. It is one of the easiest indoor plants to grow as it does not require much maintenance.

Let’s move to the ric rac cactus care guide to keep your plant alive and fresh for longer!

Ric Rac Cactus Care Guide

How To Care For The Ric Rac Cactus

As mentioned earlier, growing the ric rac cactus is easy but needs some maintenance. Let’s look at those factors in detail.


This eye-grabber cactus plant grows in shades which is why it grows best in tree shades and hanging baskets. No direct sunlight is required for it to thrive. It will turn yellow and wilt if you place it under direct sunlight.

It can also be grown in the shade of big trees, i.e., by hanging the pot to a tree branch.

If your ric rac is leggy, it is probably due to a lack of light hours. You should take care of its light hours according to the weather in your area.


Do not keep the cactus plant in the same pot as you bring it from the nursery. Replace its pot with one size bigger than that. But if you’re growing cactus from a cutting, you may use a 4 to 5 inches pot with a drainage hole.

Other than the pot, you can also use the basket to grow ric rac. It does not grow taller, so it does not get too deep with roots.


Prefer a very porous soil for growing the ric rac cactus. Pro-tip is to mix three parts of potting mix with one part of pumice. Or you may also buy it from any of your nearby stores.

Tip: slightly acidic soil works best for ric rac cactus.


As it has originated from the tropical rain forest, it likes a little humidity. So, it grows happily in normal household conditions. 

Never overwater any plant as it kills them. They require water but don’t water them to make their soil soggy, especially from spring to fall.

Water the ric rac to moisten the soil when new growth starts after winter. But keep an eye on the soil; let the soil dry (one-third) before you water again.

Do you know? It gets root rot when overwatered.


For the ric rac cactus care during the spring through fall, you should keep it at normal household temperature. But during winter, it requires 15 to 18 degrees centigrade (60 to 65 Fahrenheit) to thrive.


You need at least 50% humidity for fishbone cactus care. If you are growing it in the shade or bathroom, it may get enough humidity to grow happily. But at other places, you would need to add yourself.

Tip: It likes more humidity. So, add a saucer filled with pebbles. Place the saucer in the pot and water it when it evaporates.


During the winter, fertilizing the plant once a month is fine. But from spring to fall, add fertilizer mixed with water high in phosphorous and low in nitrogen every 15 days. You may also use formulated liquid fertilizer for orchids. 

Common Problems Of Ric Rac Cactus

How should I get my ric rac cactus to flower?

Ric rac cactus have impressive, vibrant blooms that show up at night. But the cactus starts blooming when it matures and reaches three years old.

Even if you take ric rac cactus care properly, it is rare for it to flower. So, to enhance the chances of blooming, ensure it gets enough sunlight during the day. 

Your ric rac would show blooms during the springtime, and the flowers will be of white or pinkish color depending on their variety.

Tip: keep it in the same pot if you wish to see it flowering. Don’t repot!

Is ric rac cactus vulnerable to pests?

Yes, the ric rac cactus is vulnerable to pests as other common household plants are. They are subject to scale that leaves orange residue on them. 

If you notice an infestation on your cactus, separate it from other houseplants. And apply insecticide on them regularly.

Do you know? Ric rac cactus does not usually develop disease or pest damage; problems commonly arise due to overwatering.

Does fishbone cactus like to be root bound?

Yes, the fishbone cactus like to be root bound. Also, it is said that it flowers when it is root bound. So, there is no need to repeatedly replace its pot, as it will happily grow in the same pot for a long time.

You may check the drainage hole to see if the roots are coming out to decide whether or not you should repot it.

Why is my ric rac cactus wrinkly?

If your ric rac cactus is wrinkly, the reason behind this is that your cactus is thirsty and needs water. 

Remember: Ric rac cactus does not stores water as traditional cactus does.

So, don’t forget to water it before the soil dries out completely. 

But if you have already been watering it often and see the cactus becoming wrinkly with the wet soil, it is probably because of overwatering it. 

Why is my ric rac cactus leaves turning brown?

To take ric rac cactus care, you must monitor the plant’s color. If you notice the color of the leaves turning brown, that can result from overexposure to sunlight or overwatering it. 

Make sure to place it somewhere where it gets indirect sunlight. And water it according to the weather and soil dryness. 

Pruning and repotting

Ric rac cactus care does not include cutting or pruning. But its leaves get too large under favorable conditions, so you may trim them. Prefer pruning it right after blooming. 

Or in the case of leaf sickness and damage, you may cut it from the base.

You may repot your ric rac after two to three years of planting it. While repotting, use size bigger pot. Repot it when it’s not blooming, and use fresh soil in the pot.

Tip: Dust the leaves from time to time and keep an eye on the health of your cactus.

Propagating The Ric Rac Cactus

Propagating a ric rac cactus is similar to the propagation of other succulents. You can take cuttings and place them in water or soil.

Soil Propagation

Let’s discuss the soil method:

  1. Cut a few inches of long stems.
  2. Let them rest for a day or two.
  3. Place it in a well-drained soil or potting mix for succulents.
  4. Water it every seven days or when the soil dries out.
  5. Keep it under indirect sunlight or shade.
  6. Cutting will grow and become a new ric rac cactus within a few weeks.

Water propagation method

Now let’s discuss the water propagation method.

  1. Cut a few inches of long stems.
  2. Let them rest for several days because if you don’t let them rest, there’re higher chances that your ric rac will suffer root rot.
  3. Place it in a jar of water (only the lower part of the cutting should touch the water).
  4. Check every few days and add water as it evaporates.
  5. When you see the roots growing (an inch or so long), please place them in a separate pot and treat them as a new plant.

Wrap Up!

This article covers what a ric rac cactus is. It is a uniquely shaped cactus that does not look like the traditional cacti plants but is a great indoor houseplant.

The article covers a complete guide on how to take care of the ric rac cactus. Growing the ric rac cactus is easy but you should take care of a few things to keep it alive and healthy.

You may also make many plants after buying one. The propagation method has been explained step by step above. 

Have you got more questions related to the ric rac cactus care guide? Here’re the answers to a few frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the common problems of ric rac cactus?

They are vulnerable to mealybugs, branch dieback, root rot, and aphids. But many problems arise from over-watering, so you can avoid them by maintaining the water frequency.

Does ric rac cactus produce flowers?

Yes, it does have flowers of white or pink in colors usually. They bloom during spring and have a shorter life span.

Why is my ric rac cactus new growth skinny?

It is probably due to the lack of sunlight. You should place it where indirect sunlight comes in for at least 6 hours daily.

Why is my ric rac cactus turning white?

It is probably because of the cold temperatures. It does not withstand frost. Ric rac cactus care involves maintaining its temperature at around 15 to 20 degrees centigrade.

Is ric rac cactus toxic?

There is no harm in having dogs, cats, or children around it. But definitely, it should not be consumed. 

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