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Rat-tail Cactus: A Spectacular Addition

July 24, 2008

photo by m free!

The Rat-tail Cactus is adored by some and despised by others. I had been admiring this wild, medusa-like plant in a neighborhood nursery for the longest time and finally decided to buy it for myself. I was honestly turned off by the plant at first sight but found myself drawn to the thing every time I would visit the nursery. I now have my Rat-tail hanging outside my kitchen window in a sunny spot, but they should be given dappled shade in hotter climates. In their native Mexican habitat, these cacti grow in trees where they are shaded by branches and leaves. >>More Care and Growing Info

I didn’t include my less-than-spectacular Rat-tail Cactus photo because he is a little lopsided at the time and not as handsome as these photos. However, feel free to visit the Nest In Style Photo Group to see my new cactus addition.

photo by m free

What’s the Wildest Plant You’ve Ever Brought Home?

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2008 3:14 pm

    I can see why you brought this home. it is incredible.

  2. July 30, 2008 9:07 pm

    Thanks for the visit Phillip! The summer has slowed down the blogoshpere around here. I bet you are very busy this season. I absolutely love my rat-tail!!!

  3. Martin permalink
    August 28, 2008 12:53 pm

    I just got one myself and I love it. I’m curious on how to use the one I purchased to start others. Do you know where I can find thorough information on the rat tail? Thanks.

  4. August 28, 2008 7:37 pm

    First off, thanks for the visit and the time to make a comment. I would love to see a photo of your rat-tail. If you have time, join my Nest In Style photo group to share some of your plant favorites.

    About your question…I included a link in my original post about more growing info. Once on the growing info page, scroll down to the PROPAGATION section. Checkout this article if you have never used stem cuttings before. (HINT: the “green” words throughout my site are links to more information)

  5. October 27, 2008 7:41 am

    Hi Jayme! I just found your blog courtesy of Debra Prinzig and will definitely be back. Craziest plant I ever brought home? A bat plant. Though I’m sad to say it died a quick death. I think it had fungus gnats when I got it.

  6. October 27, 2008 7:55 am


    Thanks for the visit Kim. Do you personally know Debra? I was able to meet her at the Hardy Plant Society meeting. Great person! Just visited your blog and that bat plant is so cool lookin’!


  7. Barbara Smith permalink
    August 23, 2009 3:17 pm

    Can anyone tell me why my Rat Tail is turning brown? One long stem can be green at the top, brown in the middle and green at the tip. It is turning browner and browner. I am sick that it might die.


    • August 25, 2009 6:35 am

      Hi Barb,

      First off, thanks for the visit and taking the time to ask a question. Without know a whole lot about your location, weather conditions, plant placement and so forth, it sounds like cactus root rot. Here is a link for more information about cactus diseases and what causes them.

      Good luck and I hope your rat tail can be saved!

  8. March 31, 2010 12:48 pm


    Thank you so much for your response. I had put my Rattail outside and I guess it didn’t like it. I brought it back in and all is well. I cut out a few of the brown spots and my plant to growing well. It is also right now in bloom. We live in Colorado Springs, CO. and I keep my Rattail in a sunroom. It is cold here in the winter and very dry, otherwise not a bad climate.

    Thank you,


    • April 1, 2010 7:46 am

      Yay Barb! I am so glad your rat tail is doing better, even blooming. I love Colorado, but not enough to move from Oregon’s mild weather climate. Although it did snow in the foothills yesterday and it’s almost April!

      Best of luck to you this spring!

      • Barbara Smith permalink
        March 4, 2011 4:06 pm


        My Rattail is blooming right now. I live in colorado Springs and have it in my Sunroom at the corner of the South and East window. It grows fine, looks fine and I just love it, but always when it blooms they ar scant, here and there. The plant is about 4 years old and I feel it should blooms more profuse. I feed it during the summer month and repotted it 2 years ago. It still seems to be ok as far as the pot is conerned. Do you have any ideas for me how I can get it to bloom more beautifully.

        Thank you,


  9. Larry Kingsbury permalink
    October 18, 2010 11:47 am

    I have a rattail cactus that was given to me. They have had it for over 40 yr .
    Never replanted it and about all the did was water it. not a hanging plant.
    set on a sand and let hang over the side. Looks healthy no bugs never has bloomed.
    lots of new growth. I have it on a table and it is a big pot no hole in the bottom and 3″ deep with small gravel and sand. Now do they need to hang to bloom? this is hanging over the edge. and at present
    dry. She told she only waters it when she thinks about it.. I can send pictures if you like Thanks Larry

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