How to Grow and Care for a Moon Cactus
It’s hard to mistake a moon cactus; you’ll always recognize them by their bright pink, yellow, or orange colors. The bright neon colors are usually in the shape of round looking balls, with thorns, and they’re sitting on top of another green colored cactus. The little moon cactus is a funny plant because it’s actually two plants in one and the product of human design.
In order for the bright section of the plant, to survive, it had to be grafted to the second plant beneath. Many people don’t realize when they see these easily recognizable little cactus plants at their local plant nurseries that they’re really looking at two separate plants.
The beautiful, bright, colorful part of the moon cactus naturally does not produce chlorophyll, and the lack of chlorophyll allows for the bright, vibrant colors to show. So in order for it to continue living, human grafting to another plant or rootstock is required, and then it’s able to get the proper amount of nutrients and chlorophyll that it needs from the second plant that it now sits atop of.
Growing and taking care of these unique little cacti plants is not very difficult at all. They’re extremely low maintenance plants and caring for multiple moon cactus plants at the same time is not much harder than caring for one. They can add color and life to your window seal or porch area and because they’re such low maintenance, moon cactus are an easy choice for those that are new to horticulture.
The water requirements for moon cactus are minimal. They’re not the type of plant that you have to water often. Additionally, these plants do much better when their not subjected to excess rainfall. If you live in an area where it rains frequently, moon cactus will do much better if they’re situated under a covered porch, if you have them outside. You can generally tell if your plants need watering by feeling the soil. If the dirt is dry and dusty, your moon cactus would probably benefit by a mild watering. Not too much. You never want to overwater to where the pot is waterlogged and soggy and the potting soil is running over the sides of the pot. You don’t want to ever water so much that your moon cactus is sitting in a pool of soggy dirt. Additionally, it’s recommended to stop the watering completely for the older moon cactus during the winter season, that would be those that are a year old or more. On the other hand, if you have a young moon cactus plant, just a tiny bit of water during the winter months is required.
With regard to water, remember that the moon cactus calls for unglazed, shallow pots with good drainage. Make sure your pots or containers have adequate drain holes so that the water can run down and out. Additionally, it’s advisable to put a thin layer of gravel in the bottom of your container prior to adding you moon cactus. The gravel with aide in water drainage.
Sunlight & Temperature Requirements
As far as temperature and sunlight, the moon cactus calls for the temperature that you might expect for a desert type plant. They do the best in bright but indirect sunlight. Prolonged periods of direct sunlight can be harmful to the plant. So a covered porch that has some shade or an area to where much of the direct sunlight is blocked is the best location for a moon cactus. There are cacti plants that will survive through a winter freeze but to be on the safe side, bring your moon cactus indoors, or in the garage when the temperature drops below 40 degrees. If you’re unable to, them cover them up with a sheet or light blanket to shield them from the cold weather. Cactus will freeze if exposed to the elements during a hard winter so keep that in mind as the seasons change.
The main problem for moon cactus is root rot which is a result of over watering. The best thing you can do it enjoy your moon cactus and enjoy it’s slow growth and remember not to over water! For the most part, they a wonderful, colorful, low maintenance plant that’s easy to grow as long as you do not give it too much water.
A moon cactus is a fun, easy, colorful little plant to add to your collection and it’s especially a good choice for beginners in the plant world, due to their fairly low maintenance requirements.