Fish Bone Cactus (Selenicereus anthonyanus) is an ornamental plant because of its nocturnal flowers and unusual, leaf-like stems. It is a fast-growing, epiphytic, scandent or climbing cactus that branches along a notched narrow stem. It produces green, up to 1 m long and up to 15 cm wide, flat branches. They have up to 5 cm long and up to 1.3 cm wide lobes that are tapered towards a rounded apex so appear to be a pinnate leaf. The stems can adhere to porous surfaces and often have a few aerial roots.
The flowers are showy, fragrant up to 12 cm long and up to 15 cm in diameter, with outer petals that are a dark violet rose color with white inner petals, yellow stamens and a prominent white branched pistil in the center. The flowers only open for one night and are very fragrant, as to attract nocturnal pollinators. Flowers in late spring or early summer.
Scientific Name: Selenicereus anthonyanus (Alexander) D. R. Hunt
Synonyms: Cryptocereus anthonyanus (basionym)
Common Names: Fish Bone Cactus, Fishbone Orchid Cactus, Rick Rack Cactus, Ric Rac Orchid Cactus, Zig-Zag Cactus, St. Anthony’s Rik-Rak, Orchid cactus.
How to grow and maintain Fish Bone Cactus (Selenicereus anthonyanus):
It thrives best in the light shade when young, then when they are mature, full sun is recommended, they need bright light all year round. Extra light in the early spring will stimulate budding.
It grows well in a rich-organic, well-drained soil mix.
Water regularly, during the growing season, but water sparingly when dormant (autumn and winter). Allow the top of the soil to slightly dry out before watering again.
It prefers average room temperatures of around 16°C – 24°C / 60°F – 75°F. The temperature should not be kept under 4 °C (39 °F) in winter.
Fertilize once every 15 days with compounds containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium or use a good cactus fertilizer.
Repotting should be done every other year, or when the plant has outgrown its pot. Make sure the soil is dry and then remove the pot. Knock away old soil and prune away any rotted or dead roots, then replace it in a new pot and backfill with new soil.
It can be easily propagated from cuttings in spring or by Seeds. Simply sever a branch and replant in moist, well-drained soil. It helps to allow the cut end dry out and harden before you replant it, this makes it easier for the new cactus to form roots.
Pests and Diseases:
Fish Bone cactus are susceptible to the scale or mealybugs. If bugs are detected on the cactus, apply an insecticidal soap to the plant according to the directions on the label.