Zigzag cactus – cool plant even before the flowers

Easy to see why Epiphyllum anguliger is also called the zigzag, ric rac or fishbone cactus

I’ve had a crush on this plant in the Allan Gardens cactus house for ages. A big crush. Look at those cool leaves! Well, not leaves, actually – as these are in the cactus family, they’re flat, zigzaggy stems, like living architecture.

How thrilling to learn that its flowers would be just as cool. The Epiphyllum genus is also called the orchid cactus, for its showy, sometimes fragrant blooms. Wouldn’t it be amazing to catch this huge specimen in bloom? Have you seen it?

They say these plants are fairly easy to look after. The caveat for Helen the Houseplant Killer is that they shouldn’t be allowed to completely dry out. Alas, that means I’ll have to admire them from afar.

If you’re interested in growing them, here’s a good overview on Epiphyllum care from the RHS. And if you want to learn all there is to know and more, check out this comprehensive article by Marina Welham on The Amateurs’ Digest [Update: in 2016, this link is no longer active] – amateur in the true sense of the word, most likely. Because there’s lots to love about this plant.

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