Disocactus speciosus (Cav.) Barthlott
Cereus speciosus, Heliocereus speciosus
Disocactus speciosus is an occasionally epiphytic cactus with erect or pendant, much-branched stems with 3 to 5 sharp wavy ribs and clusters of spines along each rib. The stems are reddish at first but become dark green. Flowers are up to 6 inches (15 cm) long, pink to purplish-red with a green tube with reddish scales and white hairs. Edible fruits are red, oval, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long.
USDA hardiness zone 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °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 Central Mexico.
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