How to grow Moon cactus

Moon cactus plant grow and care – cactus of the genus Gymnocalycium, also known as Gymnocalycium mihanovichii or Ruby ball cactus, Moon cactus plant perennial evergreen plant, used as ornamental plant for the neon colors, can grow in mediterranean, desert, subtropics, temperate or tropics climate or indoor as houseplant and growing in hardiness zone 10b-12, possible to grow with the right overwinter care in hardiness zone 9-10a.

Moon cactus plant stems Neon colors

Stem colors variegata and can be: red, purple, yellow, black, 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, flowers shape of trumpet and bloom occur after maturity of the plant

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How to grow Moon cactus plant – growing and care condition:

Well-drained soil, grow better in temperature above 10°C+, loose soil and 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, caring for soil drainage is important

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 – How to propagate?
Plant / Seeds explanation / Vegetative Reproduction – propagation by pups (babies) and grafting them on base

How to propagate:
Propagating by 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.

Grafted plant care:
the most important thing to know that when the grafting injured by mechanic problem need to re-graft or when there is rotten in the grafting connection between the two cactus need to cut the rotten part before all the cactus will die

What can be done when the plant dying:
When the plant dying possible, depend the part the root stock or the t

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.

How to care babies (pups):
Better take the pups before they fall by them self, need to find rootstock in the same size and micro grafting.

How to separate pup:
Separate the pup it’s not hard and better to do it with the hand and not with shape object, usually the pups grow in groups and when use shape object it’s injure the other pups.

Difficulties or problems when growing:
Can’t grow without the base of the graft, losing color, grafting problem, dying without reason, overwater, turning brown or yellow

Losing color:
When the plant losing the color (fade away) mostly can mean that the plant don’t get enough nutrient and might be that the rootstock start to die, another option that the grafting to the root stock not function and need to re-graft, not enough light and also possible that humidity can cause fading color

Turning brown or yellow:
Might be cause by overwater – in this case let it dry for a while another reason that roots stock is dying and need to re-graft on new rootstock, another problem that the top dying there isn’t a lot to do possible try to cut the parts

Grafting problem:
After few years the grafting might die it is normal condition and it’s possible to re-graft just graft again cut the old part

Dying from overwatered:
When the plant dying from over water, first thing try to let it dry for 2 weeks or more

Top of the plant dying or rotting:
When to dying or rotting the only option to cut the rooting part plus 5-10% more, use sterile knife it’s important

Planting season:
Spring to summer in hardiness zone 9-10a, spring to autumn in hardiness zone 10b-11, possible all the year in hardiness zone 12+

How to plant:
Plant in well-drained soil when there is problem with a lot of rains need to to grow the plant with raising bad

Pests and diseases:
Snails, slugs

Pruning season:
All year

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:
Slow growing

Watering requirement – How often 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, in the winter put less water than in summer and in humidity watering less

Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Half Shade better morning sun / Full Shade with a lot of light

Is it possible to grow indoor as houseplant?
Yes, grow better as houseplant, the graft hold better and longer

How to care indoor:
Locate the plant in a place without high humidity, if it’s cold in the winter choose a place with heater next to the plant (do not burn the plant), when growing indoor the plant require less water, unless the plant next to heater or air condition

Growing is also possible in a pots, 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.

Blooming information

Bloom season:
Spring / Summer

General information about the flower
Pink multi petals flowers in trumpet shape

How to grow Moon cactus plant from seeds

Sowing requirement:
Sow in in half sun or full shade, better sandy soil or well ventilated soil like cactus potting mix and good drainage is important

Saving seeds and care until sowing:
Dry and dark place in room temperature

Sowing season:
Spring but possible in autumn and winter in hot climate, in summer put it in half shade, in hardiness zone 10 spring to summer, hardiness zone 11 spring to autumn, hardiness zone 12 all year

How to plant:
Well drained soil and potting mix or sandy soil

Planting spacing:
10*20cm, (4-8 inches) or for transplanting 2*2cm (1*1 inch)

Depth of Sowing:
0.5cm, (0.25inches)

Conditions for seeds germinate:
Moist soil but do not over water and don’t let it dry

Watering requires for Seeds:
Small amount of water, lightly moist soil and don’t let it dry

Germination time:
2-6 weeks

Condition of seedling:
Half sun or full shade and don’t overwater

Scientific name:

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii

Alternative names: Moon cacti, Ruby ball succulent, Ruby ball cactus, Hylocereus cactus, Hibotan cactus, Neon grafted cactus

How to grow Moon cactus

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Blooming Seasons
  • Spring flowers
  • Summer flowers
Flower colors
  • Pink flower
  • Desert Climate
  • Mediterranean Climate
  • Subtropics Climate
  • Temperate Climate
Ornamental parts
  • Ornamental flower
  • Ornamental plant
Plant growing speed
  • Slow growing plants
Plant life-form
  • Cactus
  • Perennial plant
Plant Uses
  • Drought tolerant plants
  • Indoor plants
  • Ornamental plants
Planting Season
  • Autumn Planting
  • Spring Planting
  • Summer planting
  • Winter planting
Plants sun exposure
  • Part shade Plants
  • Shade Plants
Watering plants
  • Small amounts of water
Hardiness zone
  • Hardiness zone 10
  • Hardiness zone 11
  • Hardiness zone 9

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