Devil's Backbone

Devil's Backbone

Devil's Backbone 

Pedilanthus tithymaloides is known by many names: Devil's Backbone, Jacob's Ladder, Zigzag Plant, and Rick Rack Plant, because of its unique shape. The leaves can be a solid green or variegated. This plant makes a great house plant because it's extremely easy to care for, and can grow as large as you want it to. 

How to Care for Devil's Backbone

 Caring for a Devil's Backbone is a piece of cake. You can neglect it for weeks and it will still look good as new. Let the soil dry in between waterings, it is in more danger of being overwatered than under. It grows the best in indirect bright light, but can handle anywhere between shade and full sun. If you put it outside for the spring/summer make sure to move it slowly into the full sun so that it doesn't go into shock or get sun burnt leaves. A white stem and pink leaves means shock/sun burn.

To summarize:

  • Let the soil DRY COMPLETELY in between waterings. Best to underwater than overwater
  • Full sun when outside, bright indirect sun when inside
  • When moving outside for spring/summer move slowly in shade so the leaves don't burn or go into shock

Propagating Devil's Backbone

Devil's Backbone Cuttings

Devil's Backbone is a really easy plant to propagate! The best time to trim these plants is in the spring or early summer. You can cut them all the way back and there are several different things you can do with the cuttings:

  1. You can plant the cuttings directly back into the soil of your Devil's Backbone to make a fuller plant. If you do this you will need to keep the soil moist to stimulate root growth.
  2. You can put the cuttings in a jar full of water and sit it on a window that gets good sun. They will continue growing and the roots will grow out as you watch. You can keep them like this for as long as you need to make an existing plant more full or to start a new plant! When the jar gets low on water just pour some more in. 
  3. Put the cuttings in a new pot to make a new plant. If you're going to start a new plant from cuttings you can use a regular potting soil or perlite for potting. Just make sure to keep the soil moist to stimulate root growth. Once roots have been established move to watering less and less.