Fishbone cactus is well known for its distinct zig-zag appearance. It's fairly hardy and can add a lot of visual appeal to any indoor space. If you have a Fishbone cactus, read on to find out all you need to know to take care of your plant.
How do I water my Fishbone cactus?
If you love cacti, then you already know that most cacti prefer to be kept dry. However, Fishbone cactus is unique due to its need for moisture—it originates from the rainforest, and needs to be kept moist, particularly during spring and summer.
In the wintertime, you can allow the top layer of soil to dry out slightly before giving the plant more water. However, do not allow the soil to dry out extensively beyond the top layer, as this will deprive the plant of its much-needed moisture. Any extended dry period spells disaster for this type of plant. While Fishbone cactus can survive the occasional bout of dryness, extended dry periods will damage or kill the plant.
Due to this plant’s need for lots of moisture, mist the plant regularly to give it an extra boost of hydration, particularly during the hotter summer temperatures. Also, make sure that you pick a pot or planter with drainage holes at the bottom to avoid problems such as root rot and fungus gnats.
You may also want to consider using a self-watering pot or watering from the bottom so that the plant can absorb moisture as needed, which will decrease the chances for root rot and similar issues.
How much sunlight does my Fishbone cactus need?
Fishbone cactus needs bright indirect sunlight for most of the day. The best place to set your fishbone cactus is in an area with lots of morning sun but mostly shade in the afternoon.
Do not place the plant in direct sunlight for a long period of time, as this can scorch the plant and cause significant damage. Fishbone cactus is able to handle a bit of direct sunlight now and then, but not for extended periods.
If you want your fishbone cactus plant to thrive, make sure that it gets plenty of sun in the late summer period into the early autumn period; this will greatly increase the chances that your fishbone cactus will bloom.
Does my Fishbone cactus need fertilizer?
Yes. You should regularly fertilize your cactus, at least until the late summer or early autumn, which is the typical period when flowers bloom. Use a high-quality fertilizer that has a 10:10:10 ratio every two weeks. In February, use a 2-10-10 ratio. Do not fertilize your fishbone cactus once the flowers blossom.
Fishbone cactus can be sensitive to fertilizer, so make sure you keep an eye on the plant’s leaves and roots to ensure that you aren’t shocking the plant with a strong mixture. If necessary, cute doses in half or skip one feeding session.
What temperatures does my Fishbone cactus need?
Your fishbone cactus needs to stay between 60 degrees and 77 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months; during the winter, it can survive a temperature drop to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fishbone cactus can't survive freezing temperatures, so care needs to be taken if you live in an area where the weather gets cold. Make sure to avoid placing your Fishbone cactus near cold windows or air conditioner vents, as the cold air will damage the plant.
When should I repot my fishbone cactus?
Repot your Fishbone cactus every year or every two years at most. This will allow the plant to absorb more key nutrients from fresh soil, give the roots room to breathe, and overall increase the longevity of your plant.
If the plant has grown a lot, make sure to choose a pot that is about 2 inches bigger than the previous one.
How do I prune my fishbone cactus?
You may want to prune your fishbone cactus if the leaves are becoming too large, or the shape is too wild for your liking. Pruning will also encourage fresh new shoots to grow behind your trim cut.
Remember always to use pruning shears rather than gardening scissors, which may not be sharp enough to prune your plant properly.
What are some common problems associated with Fishbone cactus?
There are certain problems that Fishbone cactus plants may experience more often, and the most common one is not getting sufficient water.
If your Fishbone cactus doesn't get enough water, the leaves may become limp, discolored, and can even start to feel crispy and hard. If this happens, you will need to increase your plant's water intake gradually. Do not overflow the pot with water when you notice something is wrong and, instead, let the plant soak in water until the roots have absorbed enough water. You can also try moving the plant to a shadier area so that less water is evaporated by light exposure.
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