Cryptocereus anthonyanus: Care and Propagation Guide

Cryptocereus anthonyanus or Selenicereus anthonyanus, commonly called fishbone cactus or Ric Rac cactus, is originally from Mexico. It is part of the family of cacti that produce pink flowers at night.

It is most famous for its arching, long stems covered with leaf nodes. Here’s how you take care of it.

cryptocereus anthonyanus

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How to Care for Cryptocereus Anthonyanus

Cryptocereus anthonyanus cacti are found hanging from trees in groups in the rainforests where the environment is humid and moist. If you’re looking to shop for them, you might also find them under the name orchid cactus because the two families are cousins and this one grows like orchids too.

The flowers of this plant last a single day, so you might want to catch a glimpse while you still can. Here’s everything else you need to know about them.


The Cryptocereus anthonyanus cactus doesn’t do very well in direct sunlight. It will be okay in bright sun for some time but indirect light is where it grows really well. You can put it in bright sunlight but if it’s direct, you might see sunburn.

When they get the right amount of sun, these plants will have dark green leaves with red edges. If the light isn’t enough, they have the ability to adapt but they’ll start stretching towards the sun. If you’re growing these plants indoors, it is recommended that you keep them close to a window.


These plants don’t need too much water seeing as they are cacti. You should make sure that one-third of an inch of the soil is dry before you water them. That’s for summer and spring. In the winter, you must give them half as much water because too much can rot the roots.

cryptocereus anthonyanus


Cryptocereus anthonyanus cacti grow well in an orchid substrate or a cactus blend that has a little bit of compost in it. The best mix is to add three parts of potting soil and one part of perlite, pumice or bark chips.

You could also use a potting mix that is sold especially for cacti.

The soil you use will determine how much moisture it will retain, which will dictate your watering schedule and is why this is important. In any case, the pH level of the soil should be between 6.1 and 6.5.


You can fertilize these plants with an orchid fertilizer or a water-soluble cactus fertilizer for obvious reasons. Summers and early spring are both good times to do this when the plant is kept outside.

But when winter begins, you should bring it back inside because this plant can only deal with some neglect.


Cryptocereus anthonyanus plants grow really well when the temperature ranges from 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. But once they are ready to go dormant, the temperature range should drop to 60-65 degrees. And at night, make sure that the temperature is 40-55 degrees.

Now, these plants do okay in spring, summer and fall when humidity is in the normal range. If possible, reduce the levels of humidity in winter with a dehumidifier.

cryptocereus anthonyanus

Pests and Diseases

The Cryptocereus anthonyanus cacti have a lot of tolerance for pests, but only if you take good care of them. They are also good at fighting pests off if you keep them fed with fertilizers in spring and summer.

But if there is low humidity or water-related problems, bugs are a problem. Mealybugs are ready to invade the crevices in the stems. So, you should check them for white, fluffy material.

If you do find any, wipe the plant down using cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol. Too much sun or too little water might attract spider mites and scales.


Once the plant is about 3-6 inches tall, it has matured. These plants grow quite fast, so keep an eye on them. If you are growing them indoors, you might need to prune them just a little bit depending on comfort and look.

Potting and Repotting

Repotting is not uncommon with these cacti, and you’ll need a big pot for that. You can do this once the plant is too big for its old pot. If you don’t, the roots might get tangled up or grow out of their drainage holes. That’s not good.

Spring or summer is when you should do this.

Propagating Cryptocereus Anthonyanus

Propagating Cryptocereus anthonyanus is not very difficult, especially when compared to other cacti. A small piece of the stem is all it takes to get a new plant. But when you get a fresh cutting and leave it on the counter, it will develop calluses.

Place that callused end into a peat moss mix or a similar low soil medium. Make sure it gets medium light and moisture and that’s all you need to do. Within a matter of days, you will have a new and thriving Cryptocereus Anthonyanus cactus to boast of.