Dancing Bones Information – How To Grow A Dancing Bones Cactus

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Dancing bones cactus (Hatiora salicornioides) is a small, shrubby cactus plant with slender, segmented stems. Also known as drunkard’s dream, bottle cactus, or spice cactus, dancing bones produces deep yellow-orange blooms on the bottle-shaped stem tips in spring. Interested in growing dancing bones? Read on and we’ll tell you how.

Dancing Bones Information

A native of Brazil, dancing bones cactus isn’t a desert cactus but rather an epiphytic denizen of the rainforest. The stems are spineless, although older plants may develop a few spiny growths at the base. A mature dancing bones cactus plant reaches heights of 12 to 18 inches (30-45 cm.)

Growing dancing bones is possible outdoors only in USDA plant hardiness zones 10 to 12. Gardeners in cooler climates, however, can enjoy this tropical plant indoors.

How to Grow a Dancing Bones Cactus

Dancing bones cactus plants are easy to propagate by taking cuttings from a healthy, established plant. Cuttings from the segmented stems usually root immediately and is similar to that of rooting Christmas cactus.

Simply plant the cuttings in a pot filled with a potting mix for cacti and succulents, or a regular mix combined with a small amount of coarse sand. Be sure the pot has a drainage hole in the bottom. Like all cacti, dancing bones cactus is prone to rot in soggy conditions.

Dancing Bones Cactus Care

Place dancing bones in indirect light where the plant is protected from direct afternoon sunlight. Water regularly during the growing season. Allow the pot to drain thoroughly after watering and never allow the potting mix to remain soggy.

Fertilize your dancing bones cactus plant every other week during the growing season using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength.

Dancing bones cactus goes dormant during winter months. During this time, water occasionally to keep the soil from becoming bone dry. Withhold fertilizer until spring and then resume care as usual.

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