Zig Zag Cactus

A Beginner's Guide to Zig Zag Cactus Plant Care | All you Need to Grow

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Family: Crassulaceae
Common Name: fishbone cactus, orchid cactus, zig zag cactus
Botanical Name: Epiphyllum anguliger, Disocactus anguliger  

We love how this indoor succulent can't be straight with us! The fish bone-like leaves have very pronounced angles (with spines!), giving them a recognizable shape. Zig Zag Cactus (Epiphyllum anguliger) is an excellent choice for someone starting to care for houseplants. The succulent leaves hold moisture minimizing the need for frequent watering. The thin wavy leaves will cascade over the sides of the container, creating undulating waves of green ribbons.


For Zig Zag Cactus, at least 6 hours per day of bright indirect light is necessary. In nature, this plant thrives most in desert environments where there is an abundance of light, so providing similar amounts of light is a must for it. Established, mature plants of this kind can often handle direct light, but if your plant is younger, it may become scorched if exposed to direct light. It's often best to err on the side of caution and avoid direct light.


Let the soil completely dry out before watering a Zig Zag Cactus. This easy-care houseplant prefers more arid conditions, making it a good fit for forgetful plant owners. When it is time to water, saturate the soil until water drains all the way through the soil. Make sure to empty the cache pot and tray, so your plant is not sitting in standing water. 


The potting soil for your Zig Zag Cactus plant should contain more drainage materials (compared to soils for most indoor plants), such as wood chips, perlite, coarse sand, or pumice – which will let the water drain quickly. Most bagged soil-less potting soil made for indoor plants will work fine but remember that you must let the soil dry out completely before watering it again.


Your Zig Zag Cactus will do best in temperatures that are between 60°F (15°C) and 80°F (27°C). Avoid your plant in overly cold temperatures as this plant is sensitive to frost! Frost can damage this plant, or even kill it, so be extra careful with the temperatures that it endures. 

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This plant loves to be in high humidity. Ideally, you should aim for humidity levels between 40% to 60%. This range replicates where the plant originally came from. To increase the humidity, you can mist it, group plants together, provide a humidity tray or pebble tray, or use a humidifier.


Apply fertilizer to your Zig Zag Cactus every two to four weeks during the growing season, which is usually spring and summer. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with an equal ration of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. We suggest 10-10-10 or 14-14-14. These ratios help the plants overall health. Always adjust your fertilization routine when it is the fall and winter months. You won’t need to fertilize your plant as often.

Growth Rate

The mature height that your Zig Zag Cactus plant can reach is up to 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) in height. This is in its natural environment. However, for a houseplant, it may still be able to reach the same height under the proper care. This plant generally grows slower than other plant. It can take many years for it to reach its mature height.

Pet Friend or Foe

Zig Zag Cactus plants are non-toxic to pets! Friend! 

Pro Tips

  1. You should prune your Zig Zag Cactus plant to maintain its appearance and overall health. We recommend using clean, sharp tools, which will help to prevent introducing diseases to your plant.
  2. Repot your plant every 2-3 years or when it becomes too big for its current pot.
  3. For your plant to receive the right amount of bright, indirect light, keep it near a north or east-facing window. That is usually a great location for this plant!
  4. Remember to fertilize your plant once a month during spring and summer and don’t fertilize it in the fall and winter months.

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