Disocactus flagelliformis (Rat Tail Cactus)

Disocactus flagelliformis (Rat Tail Cactus)

Scientific Name

Disocactus flagelliformis (L.) Barthlott

Common Names

Rat Tail Cactus, Rat-Tail Cactus, Rattail Cactus, Flor de Látigo (Spanish), Floricuerno (Spanish), Junco (Spanish), Junquillo (Spanish), Nopalillo (Spanish), Ormkaktus (Swedish)


Cereus flagriformis, Aporocactus flagelliformis var. leptophis, Aporocactus leptophis, Aporocactus flagriformis, Aporocactus flagelliformis, Cereus flagelliformis, Cactus flagelliformis, Cereus leptophis

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily:  Cactoideae
Tribe:  Hylocereeae
Genus:  Disocactus


Color:  Pink
Bloom Time:  Spring and summer


Disocactus flagelliformis is a cactus with thick hanging stems, each up to 3.3 feet (1 m) long, up to 0.75 inches (1.9 cm) in diameter, and has 8 to 13 ribs. The needle groups are tiny, almost fuzzy-looking, and have 15 to 20 fine reddish-yellow spines each. Beautiful flowers are bright pink, up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) long, up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in diameter, and appear along the stems from spring to summer. Fruits are red, globose, bristly, and up to 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) long.

Disocactus flagelliformis (Rat Tail Cactus)

How to Grow and Care

Disocactus flagelliformis is easy to cultivate and a relatively fast-growing cactus. Their trailing stems make these cacti ideal plants 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 Disocactus flagelliformis 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 any part 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. Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Disocactus.


Native to Mexico (Hidalgo, Oaxaca).


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