Rat tail cactus (Disocactus flagelliformis) is easy to care for, it has slender trailing stems that can grow 3 to 5 feet long and gracefully hang down over the sides of its pot. Stems of this handsome cactus are covered with short, reddish-brown spines. New growth has brilliant pink spines. In spring, its stems bear handfuls and many rosy to fuchsia-pink tubular flowers that stand perpendicular to the stems. They are two to three inch long and can last for several days. Display Rattail cactus in a hanging basket or on a shelf near a window that offers great light, locating it where no one will brush against it since the spines are extremely hard to expel from the skin and the lengthening stems can soon overbalance a freestanding pot.
Scientific Name: Disocactus flagelliformis
Common Name: Rattail cactus
How to grow and maintain Rat tail cactus:
Rat tail Catus requires full sunlight. Hang the pot or basket in the sunniest window available. If possible, hang the plant outside in summer to give it fresh air and additional light.
Best kept in a container with rich, but fast-draining potting soil. They should be repotted every other year because their soil tends to sour.
During the active growth period, normal room temperatures are suitable. In winter these plants should be refreshed at 45 to 50 °F (7 to 10 °C), if possible, but they endure temperatures up to 59 to 61 °F (15 to 16 °C).
Apply a high-potash compost at every 2 weeks from midwinter until blossoming stops.
It is fitting to water this plant frequently in the summer and much less winter time. Include water at the top of the pot or container and enable it to seep through to the drainage holes, then remove the excess water from the pot tray. Keeping the soil slightly moist is also advisable during the summer.
Propagation by 6-in/15-cm tip cuttings in early summer. Allow them to dry for a day or two, then insert them in a peat moss and sand mixture. Seed can be sown in spring.
Pests and diseases:
Mealybugs may assault this plant. Treat with a systemic insecticide. Red spider mites may infest the trading stems. Look for stem discoloration and the telltale webbing. Water the soil with insecticide.