Moon cactus growing cactus of the genus Gymnocalycium, also known as Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, Moon cactus perennial evergreen plant, used as ornamental plant for the neon colors, can grow in mediterranean, desert, subtropics, temperate or tropics climate or as houseplant and growing in hardiness zone 10b-12, possible to grow it in 9-10a but might die in the winter.
Moon cactus stems
Stem colors can be: red, purple, yellow, orange or mixed neon colors, the stem round, this refer to the neon color of Gymnocalycium mihanovichii but this cactus appear as green and when it’s colored it’s must be grafted on rootstock mostly on the base of Hylocereus (Dragon fruit plant),
Flower color pink the flower multi-petals
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How to grow Moon cactus:
Well-drained soil, grow better in temperature above 10°C+, loose soil well ventilated
How to care for a moon cactus:
Water in the right amount, light with some sun, and re-graft when show sign of graft breaking
Cactus moon grafted care:
Care for the graft require windless position, stable warm temperature
after the plant start to show signs of disconnecting to the rootstock mostly possible to renew by re-graft the plant
What is the best way to start growing?
Plant / Vegetative Reproduction – daughter plants for the colorful plant mostly called pups or “babies”, possible to cut them from the mother plant, or cutting for the base – better to take the desirable size, if it’s possible in the concatenation in the stems will be easier, cut with sterile knife after this let the cut part to stay on the shade to heal it’s might take few weeks and even months, put it on the soil with support (stick or something that won’t fall) cover lightly from the side and water it small amount of water take care not to over-water.
Is it necessary to graft or use vegetative reproduction?
Yes (for the colored plants need to graft on base rootstock cactus possible Hylocereus)
How to graft (micro grafting):
Take rooted rootstock and the desirable size of the scion stem, need that the inner circle will be the same size in the rootstock and the scion, cut the scion in the bottom ~5mm, and the same for the root stock, need to glue it, possible with organic glue to glue just in outer circle better option it’s to use better to use the plant sap, succulent sap is good, than just put the plants on each other and cover with plastic nylon with air, the moment that it’s glued it’s work
Moon cactus babies (pups)
After it arrives to certain size they fall of the mother plant and the main problem with the “babies” (pups) that they can’t live without to be grafted to another cactus that will produce the chlorophyll and better to use dragon fruits plants as rootstock.
Difficulties or problems when growing:
Can’t grow without the base of the graft
Spring to summer in hardiness zone 9-10a, spring to autumn in hardiness zone 10b-11, possible all the year in hardiness zone 12+
Pests and diseases:
How to prune:
No need to prune moon cactus, but the base of the graft need to without new stems
Size of the plant:
1-10 cm (0.15-4 inches), the base of the graft depend what you choose to use
How big do moon cactus get:
Full grown plant can arrive to 10-12cm but it’s rare usually arrive to 6-8cm
Growth speed in optimal condition:
Watering requirement – How to water:
Small amount of water, let it dry between watering and do not over water if it’s grow in pot possible to put the water from down to soak the water and let it dry
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Half Shade better morning sun / Full Shade with a lot of light
Is it possible to grow as houseplant?
Yes, grow better as houseplant, the graft hold better and longer
Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers:
Yes, pot or clay pot that will be 20-50% bigger (not need deep because the root shallow) for good drainage that important use in the bottom of the container with little rocks like: gravel, lava rocks or pebbles, soil should be cactus potting mix, make holes in the container for good drainage
Switch the soil after few years:
Removing the cacti from their pots, take paper and put slowly the plant on the paper, possible to “help” the cactus with the hands better to cover with papers or plastic wrap, after that prepare again the “little rocks” in the bottom, put part of the cactus potting mix, take the plant with and locate it in the new place, if it’s small take the soil mix with spoon and organize it (not to get the spines in hands) if it’s bigger use small garden shovel and squeeze the soil that the cactus will be stable and won’t fall, sometimes when it’s not stable better to add some stick that will hold the cactus.
Spring / Summer
General information about the flower
Pink multi petals flowers in trumpet shape