Rat Tail Cacti are known as the most beautiful plants in nature. They have a very unique shape with long thin branches and small leaves. There are different types of rat tails, which differ from each other in their coloration and size. Some varieties grow only one type of leaf while others produce both kinds of leaves at the same time.
A rat tail cactus is a member of the family Amaryllidaceae, which includes such familiar members as amaranth, beansprout, catnip and daisy. These plants are native to tropical regions of South America.
The plant’s name comes from its resemblance to a rat’s tail. However, it does not resemble any animal or insect in particular; rather it resembles something else entirely.
In fact, it is possible that the plant was originally called “rat head” because of its shape.
What makes these plants so interesting is their ability to regenerate themselves. Unlike some other succulents, they do not require water or sunlight to survive and will continue growing indefinitely if kept dry and protected from extreme temperatures. When they reach maturity, however, they usually die back into a state resembling a miniature version of their original form.
Caring for a rat tail cactus is easy, requiring little maintenance. It is most comfortable and happy growing in soil that contains sand and gravel with low amounts of organic matter or nutrients. These plants can be grown outdoors provided you live in a frost-free area with an average annual temperature of between 15 and 25 degrees Celsius. They can also be placed in containers and grown indoors anywhere in the world.
The soil should be kept bone dry at all times. If possible, water it with rainwater or distilled water rather than hard tap water, which contains salts that are not good for the plant. Using well or bore water is fine as long as it has no additives and is safe to drink.
It grows best in full sun, but will survive in partial shade. If grown indoors, it can be placed in a basement, living room or any other area that receives a lot of light.
The plant is usually grown from seed but offsets (pups) can also be used to start new plants. The offsets are small, baby cacti that grow at the base of larger cacti. When growing from pups, it’s important that the offsets be separated from the mother cactus when they are between 5 and 10 centimetres tall.
Sources & references used in this article:
Practical Cactus and Succulent Book: How to Choose, Nurture, and Display 200 Cacti and Succulents by SA Bell – 2001 – Sterling Publishing Company
Cacti by AR Hemsley – British Cactus & Succulent Journal, 1990 – JSTOR
Succulent Container Gardens: Design Eye-catching Displays with 350 Easy-care Plants by F Bailey, Z Allaway – 2019 – books.google.com
Home Grown by D Griffiths, CH Thompson – 1929 – books.google.com
THE ADVENTURES OF A CACTUS GROWER by DL Baldwin – 2010 – books.google.com
Care of house plants (revised 1970) by E Roberts – Cactus and Succulent Journal, 2006 – BioOne
Care of house plants (revised 1979) by A BOARDER – The Cactus and Succulent Journal of Great Britain, 1955 – JSTOR