Scientifically known as Selenicereus anthonyanus, Fishbone cactus or Rick-Rack cactus, St. Anthony’s Rik Rak is a cactus species native to southern Mexico. It is an evergreen succulent from the Cactaceae family. The species is named after Dr Harold E. Anthony who first flowered this species in June 1950.
Fishbone cactus is not very fussy. You just need to take care of the basic requirements like water, light and fertilizing.
The plant likes a lot of bright, indirect sunlight. You can plant it in a sunny window in a container or a hanging basket. Diffuse the direct sunlight with a sheer curtain. It can grow in low-light conditions too.
The plant has very unique foliage with green, zigzagging succulent leaves that look like fish bones and hence the name Fishbone cactus. The flowers are star-shaped with white, pink and maroon coloured slender petals. The flowers are nocturnal i.e. they bloom at night. The plant also has aerial roots. Growing season is in summer.
Unlike most cacti, fishbone cactus is not highly drought resistant. Water it regularly. Let the top soil dry however and do not ever over-water. Letting the plant sit in boggy conditions over a long time can lead to root-rot. You can cut back on watering in the winter months.
Fishbone cactus prefers a rich, well-drained, well-aerated soil. The soil needs to be rich in humus and moist. Mix in organic content like compost to make it more nutrient rich. A layer of mulch will help maintain soil moisture.
Average height is about 10 to 15 cm but under ideal conditions, it can grow up to 90 cm.
Fertilize with a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Regular fertilizing will lead to better growth. Water the plant before fertilizing to prevent fertilizer burn.
The plant might get infested with common bugs like mealy bugs and spider mites. Spray the plant with an organic insecticidal spray like neem oil.
It is the perfect plant for hanging baskets. It does not require much care and adds an exotic, tropical look to your house or office with its uniquely shaped foliage and beautiful large showy blooms.