Updated: July 2, 2023

Ric Rac plants, also known as Zigzag Cacti or Fishbone Cacti, are unique and fascinating in their appearance. With their wavy, zigzag-shaped leaves that resemble fish skeletons, they add a touch of whimsy to any indoor or outdoor garden. However, one common issue that ric rac plant owners may encounter is the curling of its leaves. This article will explore the various causes of ric rac plant leaves curling and provide some tips on how to prevent and treat this issue.


One of the most common reasons for ric rac plant leaves to curl is overwatering. These plants are native to arid regions and have adapted to survive in low-water conditions. When they are consistently exposed to excessive moisture, their leaves can start curling as a response to the excess water.

To prevent overwatering, it is crucial to establish a proper watering routine for your ric rac plant. Only water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Ensure that the pot has good drainage so that excess water can escape. It is also beneficial to use a well-draining soil mix specifically formulated for cacti and succulents.

If your ric rac plant’s leaves have already begun to curl due to overwatering, it is essential to correct the watering practices promptly. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings and reduce the frequency of watering. Trimming off any damaged or curled leaves can also help the plant redirect its energy towards new growth.


While overwatering is a common cause of leaf curling, underwatering can also lead to this issue. When a ric rac plant does not receive enough water, it goes into survival mode and starts conserving moisture by curling its leaves.

To avoid underwatering, ensure that you are providing your ric rac plant with adequate moisture. Monitor the soil moisture level regularly, and water when the top inch of soil is dry. However, be cautious not to overcompensate by overwatering the plant, as this can lead to other problems.

Temperature Extremes

Ric rac plants thrive in moderate temperatures and can suffer from leaf curling when exposed to extreme heat or cold. High temperatures can cause the leaves to curl as a defense mechanism against excessive evaporation. On the other hand, cold temperatures can lead to leaf curling as the plant tries to protect itself from frost damage.

To prevent temperature-related leaf curling, it is crucial to provide your ric rac plant with suitable environmental conditions. Keep it in an area where temperatures remain between 60-80°F (15-27°C). Avoid placing the plant near drafts or heating vents that can cause sudden temperature fluctuations.

If your ric rac plant’s leaves have already curled due to temperature extremes, try relocating it to a more suitable spot with more stable temperatures. Providing some shade during hot summer months or using a space heater or insulation during colder periods can also help regulate the temperature around the plant.

Inadequate Light

Insufficient light can also cause ric rac plant leaves to curl. These plants are adapted to bright, indirect light conditions. When they don’t receive enough light, their leaves may start curling as they try to maximize their exposure to available light.

To ensure that your ric rac plant is receiving adequate light, place it in a well-lit area near a window with bright, indirect sunlight. If natural light is limited, you can supplement it with artificial grow lights specifically designed for indoor plants.

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases can also contribute to leaf curling in ric rac plants. Infestations of spider mites, mealybugs, or aphids can cause stress to the plant, leading to curled leaves. Fungal infections, such as powdery mildew, can also affect the plant’s health and cause leaf curling.

Regularly inspect your ric rac plant for any signs of pests or diseases. If you notice any infestations or infections, take appropriate measures to control and treat them. This may involve using insecticidal soap or neem oil for pests or applying fungicides for fungal infections. Removing severely affected leaves can help prevent the spread of pests or diseases.

Nutritional Deficiencies

In some cases, leaf curling in ric rac plants may be a result of nutritional deficiencies. These plants require a well-balanced fertilizer to thrive. Lack of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, potassium, or magnesium, can lead to leaf curling and other growth abnormalities.

Ensure that you are providing your ric rac plant with a balanced fertilizer specifically formulated for cacti and succulents. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and frequency. Regularly monitor the plant for any signs of nutrient deficiencies and adjust the fertilizer regimen accordingly.


Curling leaves in ric rac plants can be indicative of various issues, including overwatering, underwatering, temperature extremes, inadequate light, pests and diseases, or nutritional deficiencies. By understanding these causes and implementing appropriate preventive measures and treatments, you can help ensure the health and vibrancy of your ric rac plant. Remember to always observe your plant closely, provide it with proper care, and make adjustments as needed to maintain its unique beauty.