Rat Tail Cactus

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  • Showy, Low Maintenance Cactus
  • Light Preference/Tolerated (Bright Direct Light)
  • Below Average Watering Needs
  • Mature Height 6 Feet
  • Pet Safe

Do not let the name “Rat Tail Cactus” fool you. When you first see this cactus and eye its many clusters of scarlet and fuchsia flowers clinging to its long evergreen stems, you won’t be thinking of a rodent scampering across a kitchen floor. Instead, you will be wondering how this drought- and humidity-tolerant perennial evolved to develop its unique traits. Originating from Mexico, this succulent looks great planted in pots or suspended from baskets, as its jade-colored stems, resembling rats’ tails, curve over the sides of the plant’s container. Otherwise known as Disocactus flagelliformis, syn. Aporocactus flagelliformis, Whip Cactus, Rats Tail Cactus, and Cierge Serpent, this low-maintenance plant is easy to grow. The only concern any newbie gardener will have with this gem is finding the proper spot to maintain it so that its numerous prickly teeth remain…untouched.

Best Locations For Growing Rat Tail Cactus

This attractive succulent likes bright direct light and a temperature range of 50°F to 75°F. Average indoor humidity of about 50% is fine. A brightly lit kitchen might be the perfect spot. Just take note, though, that this cactus can be toxic to pets and has sharp teeth, or spines, that can cause pain when touched, so keep it out of the reach of tiny fingers and paws.

Rat Tail Cactus Sunlight Requirements

Rat Tail Cactus prefers bright direct light. Any room with south-facing, west-facing or east-facing windows will suffice.

Rat Tail Cactus Care

Plant your new Rat tail Cactus in a 6-inch pot filled with rich, acidic, and well-draining soil. A good indoor potting soil amended with peat moss and sand/perlite/pumice will be fine.

Rat Tail Cactus is celebrated for its showy, cylindrical, scarlet and fuchsia blooms, with each flower approaching two inches in length and opening in spring or early summer. While Rat Tail Cactus does not require frequent pruning, this fast-grower usually needs to be repotted at least once per year, preferably after the blooming season has concluded. Simply repot your Rat Tail Cactus in a pot that is one to two inches bigger than the old pot. 

Watering Rat Tail Cactus

In spite of being drought-tolerant, this tropical perennial does require moist soil in order to thrive. We recommend doing a moisture check prior to watering. Simply insert your finger 1 to 2 inches into the soil. Water if the soil is dry. If not, wait one to two days to conduct another moisture check. In most typical cases, you will need to water Rat Tail Cactus more often during the summer months and less frequently during the winter.

Feeding Rat Tail Cactus

Rat Tail Cactus is not a heavy eater. During the growing season, feed this lovely cactus a water-soluble fertilizer, diluted 50%, bimonthly.

Rat Tail Cactus Information

Light Exposure: Bright Direct Light
Care Requirements: Easy
Watering Requirements: Below Average - Let the soil dry completely, then, water deeply.
Pet Friendly: Yes
Kid Friendly: Yes
Air Purifier: High
Habit: Spreading
Growth Rate: Fast
Mature Height: 6 feet
Mature Spread: 3-6 feet
Flowering: Yes
Flower Color(s): Purple, Red
Flower Shade/Description: Violet-Red
Fragrant: No
Foliage Type:
Foliage Color(s): Brown, Green
Foliage Description: Green to Almost Beige
Temperature: 45° - 90°F (7° - 32°C)
Humidity: Low
Common Name: Rat Tail Cactus
Other Name(s): Rats Tail Cactus
Scientific Name: Disocactus flagelliformis
Plant Type: House Plant

Container Sizes

Please Note: The pictures below are to give a general representation of the different container sizes. The actual size/ages of plants are estimates and will vary based on; type of plant, time of year, last pruning & many other factors.

4.5 Pot

4.5" Pot
 Also Know As:
   4.5" Container

 Plant Age:
   ~ 6 months
 Plant Size:
   ~ 3"-6"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 4.5"H x 3.75"W
   1.42 quarts

Quart Pot

Quart Pot
 Also Know As:

 Plant Age:
   ~ 1 year old
 Plant Size:
   ~ 4"-8"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 4.75"H x 4.5"W
   1.50 quarts

2.5 Quart

2.5 Quart
 Also Know As:
   2.5 Quart Pot

 Plant Age:
   ~ 1.5 year old
 Plant Size:
   ~ 8"-12"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 6.5"H x 6.5"W
   2.20-2.30 quarts

#1 Pot

#1 Pot
 Also Know As:
   #1 Container
    1 Gallon
 Plant Age:
   ~ 2 year old
 Plant Size:
   ~ 10"-14"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 7"H x 7.75"W
   2.26-3.73 quarts

#2 Pot

#2 Pot
 Also Know As:
   #2 Container
    2 Gallon
 Plant Age:
   ~ 2-3 year old
 Plant Size:
   ~ 12"-18"
 Pot Size:
   ~ 9.5"H x 9.5"W
   1.19-1.76 gallons

#3 Pot

#3 Pot
 Also Know As:
   #3 Container
    3 Gallon
 Plant Age:
   ~ 3-4 year old
 Plant Size:
   ~ 12"-30"
 Pot Size:
   ~9.5"H x 11"W
   2.32-2.76 gallons

For more detailed information, please click here.

Plant Addict Guarantee (Included On All Plant Orders)

Plant Addicts guarantees your plant(s) will arrive happy and healthy, but the plant(s) are being shipped through the mail and accidents happen. If the plant is dead, has dried out roots or the incorrect item was shipped just notify Plant Addicts within 3 days upon delivery. We may ask for pictures but will try to make it as easy as possible for you. Please note plant(s) with damaged branches or wilted leaves will not qualify for this guarantee. Plants are very resilient and will rebound quickly when cared for correctly.

For information on how to care for you new plant please check out our guide. Guide: How to Care for Your New Plant(s)

Plant Addicts Warranty - 1 Year (Extra Purchase Required)

We encourage all plant lovers to purchase the Plant Addicts Warranty whether you’re new or an expert. There are many variables outside our control and yours that can cause the demise of your plant(s). Examples would be hungry animals, drought, poor soil conditions, over watering, disease, insects & many other factors. The Plant Addicts Warranty is a 1 year warranty protecting you from all the unknowns and will replace your plant if it moves on to the plant afterlife.

The warranty is purchased on a per plant basis and must be purchased at the same time as the plant purchase. We will cover 100% of the price of the plant but the warranty does not cover shipping cost. Simply let us know if your plant has died within one year of receiving it and we’ll get you a new one shipped out. We may ask for photos for documentation purposes but again we’ll try to make it as easy as possible.

For more information, please go to our Shipping & Returns page at the bottom of the website.

Guide: How to Care for Your New Plant(s)

Planter Shipping

Standard Colors: 2-3 business days

Special Order Colors: 8 weeks - this is due to the planter being custom made with the color(s) of your choice

Please Note: On special orders there can not be any cancellations

Plant Shipping

Time of Order:

Summer Shipping

  • If there is extreme heat we’ll delay shipping.  
    • We’ll have to review what areas the plants are traveling through along with your location

Once your plant is shipped you’ll receive an email with tracking information. Depending on the above criteria we’ll ship your plant(s) towards beginning of the following week from your order. We put together this helpful guide of what to do when you receive your plants in the mail.

It is important to know that all of our plants are clearly labeled for which growing zones the plant can survive in. The plants are thoroughly trialed and tested in every growing zone before we state the plant can grow in a zone. Again, our #1 priority is to ship the plants to you healthy and ready to thrive in your location. So we will do everything in our power to do so.