Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ric-Rac Cactus - A Unique Epiphyte

My friend, Steve Asbell, lives in Florida. Because of this, it's no surprise that Steve is a big fan of epiphytes - plants that grow on other plants or objects and get their nutrients from the air and rain. Some common epiphytes are orchids, Spanish moss and bromeliads. They use their roots to attach themselves to other plants. Steve is currently having an Epiphyte Blog Carnival, during which bloggers write about some of their favorite epiphytes.

A couple of years ago, I purchased an epiphyte from Logee's Greenhouse - the Ric-Rac Cactus, one of a group called orchid cacti.  It's also known as the Fishbone Cactus and Zig Zag Cactus, but its botanical name is Epiphyllum anguliger. I've seen it listed as Cryptocereus anthonyanus, too, so I'm not sure which one is accepted currently. Either one is a mouthful!

Ric-rac cactus, with Streptocarpus 'Party Doll', as I received them from Logee's.
What attracted me to the Ric Rac Cactus was its unique foliage. It does indeed look like rick-rack trim used in sewing. Beyond the shiny, somewhat puffy foliage, its bloom is gorgeous. Mine has never bloomed, but I'm hopeful it will someday. The "cereus" in one of its botanical names brings to mind the Night-Blooming Cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) and so does its bloom. Instead of being all-white though, the Ric-Rac's bloom has a soft shade of peach sepals to go with its white center petals.

As is the case with many epiphytes, the Ric-Rac likes it dry. It also prefers smaller pots and to be somewhat rootbound. It should be grown in bright shade, although direct sun is okay too, provided it isn't too hot. Considered to be a tropical forest cactus, it hails from Mexico, where it grows naturally in deciduous oak forests. Being a cactus, there are spines, though you'll have to look closely to find them.

Check out Steve's blog, The Rainforest Garden, to see other favorite epiphytic plants.


Terra said...

Wow, this rick rack plant is the cutest thing.

Steve Asbell said...

Thank you so much for featuring an epiphytic cactus! I just finished a post on another kind of rainforest cactus, right when you shared this link with me. :)

one of many said...

I find if I bring my plants outside in the summer, they tend to bloom for me over the winter (SE Wisconsin). My Jade plant bloom last winter which was a first for me.

Kylee Baumle said...

Terra ~ Isn't it though? :-)

Steve ~ This is a really new "world" for me! Thanks for having the carnival!

one of many ~ I think I'll do that this year. Right now, it's in the conservatory, which is around 60-65 degrees all the time. I'm wondering how that will affect this, since it's always been in the house prior to this. I saw several Jade plants in full bloom a few weeks ago - the first I'd ever seen that. Beautiful! Mine have never bloomed and one is quite large.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

My husband's Uncle gave me a start of this interesting plant this past summer. I didn't know much about it other than it appeared to be a succulent. Wow, love that bloom. I hope mine blooms some day.

Julie said...

Hi! I found you over on Steve's blog! This is a great looking zig zag cactus you have here! Mine is long and straggly! I did not realize it had spines...gonna have to look closely there!!! Mine has never bloomed either, but can't wait now that I know the color peach is involved!!! :)

Tom said...

Well, I thought I had left a blurb...but it didn't post. *shrug* How ironic that you recently posted about what I asked Steve about tonight! The one and same Rik Rak Cactus. Looks like fun times ahead, between reading your information, and the tips Steve gave me tonight. Maybe we'll get lucky and ours will bloom before I pamper it to death.

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ I love the ric-rac form and I know I'll be so excited if it blooms! I hope yours does, too!

Julie ~ Hi Julie! Welcome to Our Little Acre! Well, mine doesn't look like this now. It's rather straggly, too. Even though I love the zig-zagginess, I don't think it's all that attractive as a plant. But if it blooms, I'll be thrilled. There will be a LOT of pictures, you can be sure! :-)

Tom ~ You did leave a comment, but I've got comment moderation turned on, because of so much spam. I know what you mean about pampering it to death. I lost part of mine due to overwatering. But it's hanging in there, literally, because I have it in a hanging pot. If yours blooms, be sure to post photos!

Candice Suter.....Sweetstuff said...

Wow great contest and congratulations! I entered it too so I'm jealous! LOL I love your blog and it is so nice to meet new blogger friends!

Anonymous said...

I've had a ric rac for 18 years and just today discovered a pink bloom! On Mother's Day! I am so thrilled. I did not even know they bloomed, until I started reading...I would love to post a photo.


Lynn Webb said...

Looks like this was posted some years ago, but thought I'd share with you that I have had my ric rac cactus for about 2 years in a West facing box bay window and found it blooming yesterday. I don't do anything special to it and I live in a dry climate. It doesn't get direct sun in the summer, but now that it's October it is getting some sun. During the winter the window can get a bit cold, but it seems to handle it fine. i didn't take it outside this year. The blossom is very fragrant. Looking forward to watching the rest of the blossoms open!

blogger templates | Make Money Online