Epiphyllum Anguliger (and how to propogate)

So in my first blog post I gave you guys some information on how to care for your string of pearls.
Thanks you for all your support and lovely comments!

In this post I will give some information on how to care for and propogate the lovely Epiphyllum Anguliger. I wrote a post about this on instagram about a year and it is still one of my most shared posts of all time. I was so happy that the propagation was a succes!

When I got my hands on some cuttings last year they were pretty hard to come by. But these days  you can find them in a lot of different shops. If you want a large plant, the best tip I can give you is to just buy a full-grown plant.
But off course there is a special place in my heart for plants that grew from a cutting.

It takes some time before your cuttings grow into a beautiful full plant but the good thing is that you only need one leaf (and a lot of time) to grow a pretty and full plant

First a little bit of information about this plant.

I bet that the first time you saw this plant you didn’t think this strange looking guy was part of the cacti family. Well Epiphyllum Anguliger is indeed a cactus species native to Mexico.
It goes by many names: Ric Rac cactus, Zig Zag cactus, fishbone cactus,  and here in The Netherlands we call it a “saw cactus” or “leaf cactus”. It flowers in late autumn or early winter under the right conditions.

The nickname “fishbone cactus” is very misleading. Epiphyllum Anguliger is not a desert cactus and therefore can not withstand bright sun and prolonged drought. A bright spot without direct sun sun is ideal.
It does well in ordinary potting soil and during the growth season you can give it some fertiliser every 2 or 3 weeks and water frequently. Let the plant almost dry out before watering again. Make sure it’s not too wet. This plant is very susceptible for root rot.

In the winter you can give it less water and place it on a cooler spot that is around 10 to 15 degrees celcius.

Care in growth season:

  Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry.

  This plant needs a lot of filtered light! So put it on a bright spot but not in direct sunlight

  Ideal temperatures lay between 15°C and 30°C.

Epiphyllum Anguliger versus Selenicereus anthonyanus.

Both are often called fishbone cactus but they are not the same plant (although they look very much the same)!

If you live in America chances are big that you have a selenicereus anthonyanus (which is the actual “real” fishbone cactus). Epiphyllum Anguliger are pretty rare in America while the Selenicereus Anthonyanus is hard to find in Europe.
The Selenicereus Anthonyanus can tolerate (moments of) full sun unlike the Epiphyllum Anguliger.

The “leaves” of these plants look quite the same but the flowers look different, both are + – 15 cm in diameter but the flowers of Epiphyllum Anguliger are golden yellow with white while the flowers of the selenicereus anthonyanus are purple and beige.

Flowers and fruits

The golden-yellow flowers of the Epiphyllum Anguliger appear in October-November. They smell strongly of vanilla and are very beautiful. Unfortunately they are short-lived: they open in the evening, bloom at night and die somewhere next morning.

The green, fragrant fruits of the saw cactus are edible and remind of gooseberries. The plant is not self-pollinating so to grow fruit and seeds, it’s necessary to pollinate two flowers coming from two different plants (that are not grown as cuttings from the same plant).
This means that you need two genetically different specimens.

Two ways of propagation

This plant is not difficult to propagate and it can be done in a two ways.

1. Gently wiggle of a younger leaf that is not more than 15 cm long. Let the wound collapse. (3/4 days in a cool dry place is enough) and just stick it into the ground 3/5 cm.

2. Cut off a big leaf and cut it into pieces of about 12 cm (or make sure you have 3 full curves, see pic). Let the wound collapse in a cool dry place for about a week. After a week put halve of the leaf into the ground.

After putting it in soil give it some time. If your cuttings don’t dry out or die they will be fine. I just takes a while. First 2 weeks don’t give it water, and after 2 weeks you can give it tiny bits of water every one or two weeks. Be patient and don’t pull out to check if you there are some root growing. If it does make tiny roots they might break off when you do this. It took my cuttings 7 weeks to show some growth in the middle of summer. When it’s cooler it can take up to 3 months.


This is how it looks a couple of months later


This is a fullgrown epiphyllum grown from cuttings after 2/3 years



Do you have any questions that I didn’t answer? Send me a DM on instagram to or send your mail to plantenstudio@gmail.com

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