Moon cactus for sale – Easy plant to grow but after few years need re-grafting, grown for the ornamental cactus and also for flowers, planting in early spring to summer and as house plant all year, better to buy grafted plant because the plant can’t grow without base that will produce chlorophyll, the colorful cactus not produce chlorophyll.
Moon cactus – information before buying:
Growing information: growing hardiness zone: 9-11 but mostly grown as house plant, water needed – small amount, light conditions – partial to full shade, height: 2-10 cm (1-4 inches) and the base depend on the base cactus that you choose
Blooming in the spring to summer in trumpet shaped flowers that appear in pink color. These flowers grow from the side and don’t produce any scent. The stem color can be yellow, orange, pink, red and purple.
The shape and the color of the scion gives the common name. Generally the term moon cactus refers only to the yellow and orange varieties. The red varieties are referred as Red Cap or Ruby cactus.
What is Moon cactus? – This little cactus is a funny and interesting plant. It is the result of 2 separate cacti. The bright colorful top part (the scion) known as Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is a mutant. The scion doesn’t produce chlorophyll. This complete lack of chlorophyll enables the color pigmentation (as chlorophyll is the green pigment producing photosynthesis). The bottom part is called the rootstock. The lack of chlorophyll is offset by another cactus: the rootstock. The base cactus brings all the food and nutrients and transport the water into the moon cactus.The graft lasts a couple of years (unless re-grafted back onto a new rootstock) because the rookstock grows faster than the top.
Alternative names: Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, Mutant cactus, Chin cactus, Red cap cactus, Ruby red cactus, Ruby ball cactus, Red top, Hibotan cactus, Neon cactus, Oriental moon cactus
Grafting – The process is really simple. Always work in a sterile environment using a sharp sterile knife. Cut off the head off the cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii) to create the scion (the top) above the roots. Diagonally cut off the 4 sides of the rootstock at the high you want. It must be large enough at least 10cm (4inches). As a rootstock you can take a rooted stem from a Cereus, Trichocereus or Hylocereus cactus (Hylocereus cactus is also named Dragon fruit). Place the scion on top of the rootstock. The newly cut sections are joined together using a rubber securing the grafting from the top to the bottom. If the graft takes, the 2 plants will heal together in generally 2 or 3 weeks’ time. Remove the rubber after one or two months of growth.
Water requirements – If the soil is dry and dusty, you can add water thoroughly. Take care not to overwatering your moon cactus plant. In winter season, for a newly moon cactus you can add a little bit of water. If your plant is older than 12 months old, suspend watering in the winter. It is best to allow the soil to totally soak the water and dry out before watering again.
Soil – rich soil with a low pH. Use a pot allowing the soil and the roots to breathe. It will avoid rotting.
Light – sunny location but not too much (better indirect sunlight) to avoid the color of the top to wash out. It can grows indoor as a houseplant if there is enough light.
Temperature – Prefers warm temperature. The temperature shouldn’t be lower than 10°C (50°F). It grows well at room temperature.
Fertilizer – no need during the dormant season. You can use a cactus fertilizer during the growing period (April to September) and apply it monthly.
Propagation – no need for propagation as a moon cactus is grafted.
Transplanting – no need unless it grows too big for the size of the flowerpot.
Pest and diseases – The stem turning brown can be caused because of a fungal or bacterial infection. Spider mites and mealybugs can attack the cactus. To get rid of mealybugs, vaporize a mixture of water and alcohol on the plant. Separate the moon cactus infected from the other ones not to spread the mealybugs.