Disocactus flagelliformis (L.) Barthlott
Rat Tail Cactus, Rattail Cactus
Cactus flagelliformis, Aporocactus flagelliformis, Aporocactus flagriformis, Aporocactus leptophis, Cactus serpentinus, Cereus flagelliformis, Cereus flagriformis, Cereus leptophis, Discocactus flagriformis, Disocactus flagriformis, Nyctocereus serpentinus var. pietatis, Peniocereus serpentinus subsp. pietatis, Selenicereus innesii, x Aporberocereus innesii
Disocactus flagelliformis is an attractive cactus with thick hanging stems with 8 to 13 ribs and clusters of bristle-like spines. The stems are slender, green to gray-green, and grow up to 6.6 feet (2 m) long and 0.8 inches (2 cm) in diameter. Each whitish areole bears 15 to 20 reddish-brown to reddish-yellow, up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) long spines. Flowers are magenta-colored, up to 3.2 inches (8 cm) long, and 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Rat Tail Cactus is an easy-to-cultivate and relatively fast-growing cactus. Its trailing stems make this ideal cactus for a hanging basket. Line the basket with sphagnum moss before filling it with potting mix, and make sure it is hung where the prickly stems will not pose a threat to the unwary. If Rat Tail Cactus is grown in a pot, hang the pot up or attach it to a high shelf. If it is left free-standing, it can soon be overbalanced by the lengthening stems.
To propagate, use either 6 inches (15 cm) tip or 6 inches (15 cm) segment of the stem. Allow each cutting or segment to dry for three days, then insert it about 0.8 inches (2 cm) deep in a small pan or pot of the recommended potting mixture for mature plants. Be sure that any stem segment is planted with the bottom end down. If this shallowly inserted cutting tends to fall over, it can be supported by being gently tied to a small wooden stick. The cultivation needs of cuttings are the same as those for mature Rat Tail Cactus, and rooting will occur within a few weeks. Rat Tail Cactus can also be grown from seed.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Disocactus.
This species is native to Mexico (Hidalgo, Oaxaca).
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