This piece will tickle your fancy if you are a sucker for succulent plants or cacti plants. Succulents are a class of plants characteristically known to have water-filled thick leaves and branches and most famously for their resilience to survive harsh climatic conditions. A majority of people prefer having such plants as house plants because they need little care to survive, especially if you have a busy schedule that has you moving from place to place.
Known by its scientific name Hildewintera Colademononis, the Soft Monkey Tail cactus belongs to the cactus family of plants. Its origin can be traced back to the Bolivian countryside in Santa Cruz. It is epilithic, meaning in its natural habitat, it is most commonly found growing on or between steep rocks hanging above a jungle below.
Characteristics of the Monkey Tail Cactus
This plant probably owes its name to the appearance of its stems, which take up the shape and look of a monkey’s tail. Some might argue that some species of rats take up a similar appearance, also known as The Rat Tail Cactus. The stems are greenish-yellow and on them are protruding downward-facing hair-like soft white spines that cover the entire stem. To the eye, it may seem like they are safe to touch, but don’t be fooled!
A single plant can have three to five stems, which branch at the bottom. The plant grows upright for a few feet, then the stems become pendant and droop. They produce bright, red flowers that are particularly very decorative. They bloom for a few days and then turn to fruits with a brief life span. Apart from its natural habitat, the Monkey Tail Cactus does well as a house plant too. Preferably best grown as hanging plants due to its unique drooping stems.
Also, check out “9 Types of Cacti” for a list of buddies for your new Soft Monkey Tail Cactus!
Best Growth Conditions for the Monkey Tail Cactus
The Soft Monkey Tail cactus seeds are black and easy to germinate if provided with the right conditions. The soil has to be light, well aerated, and one that drains quickly. This means sandy and loamy soils are ideal for its growth. We highly recommend this soil mix by Bonsai Jack. It is one of the best soil mixes on the market. It doesn’t need to be mixed with any other soil. It helps fight root rot, is perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: it won’t kill your plants). This soil is the go-to for our office plants. Go ahead and get the 7 Gallon Bag if you are a plant nerd like us 🙂
The watering of this plant should be done exclusively during the summer and spring seasons and only when the ground feels dry. The warmer the air, the more frequent the watering. Otherwise, over-watering may cause the rotting of the stems and roots. During the cold and winter seasons, the watering halts as this may result in the frosting of the plant, which will kill it.
The Rat’s Tail Cactus is one of the few species of the cactus plant that can survive temperatures lower than the freezing point. This happens to be its dormant stage. It becomes active and grows faster to produce flowers in the spring and summer. It does well in both a shady and a direct sunlight environment.
Be sure to also read about The Burro’s Tail Succulent for an additional cascading succulent that will surely complement your Soft Monkey Tail Cactus.
Perfect Propagation Techniques for the Monkey Tail Cactus
In the natural habitat, nature has a way of taking care of its own, but if you decide to have this plant as part of your garden, then a few rules must be followed. Otherwise, the plants won’t do well.
As mentioned above, the seeds of a Soft Monkey Tail Cactus are elementary to germinate, but cuttings can also be used in propagation as well. The cuttings are most productive during the spring and summer seasons, where growth is most vigorous. The cuttings must be allowed to grow callouts and left out to dry for a few days before placing them into the soil. Check out these shears for your propagating needs.
During its active and growth periods of summer, you should apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer adequately incorporated with the soil around the plant. The best application is by diluting the fertilizer with water and administering it as a liquid. Just one application is enough for a whole year’s supply!
Check out also “How to Propagate Your Succulents Successfully” for more tips on propagating techniques.
How to Control Pests on Your Monkey Tail Cactus
This type of cacti is particularly prone to pest infestation too. Spider mites, scales, and mealybugs are the common culprit pests. Most of these bugs are quite a nuisance but easy to control. For mealybugs, you spray your plant with a pressurized water hose to wash them off. A simple shower is guaranteed to spray the buggers away— check out our article on How to Get Rid of Mealybugs for further advisement. Another simple way to wade the bugs away is to rub alcohol; isopropyl with a soft cotton swab. And rinsing off the alcohol with water before returning the plant to its spot.
Mites are by far the most annoying pests when it comes to cacti. This is because one cannot notice their presence until they have damaged the plant to disfigurement. Their control isn’t as easy as the mealybugs and does require a keen eye. So one is inclined to monitor the plant carefully, and if you notice brown patches, then your plant is infected by these buggers. Proper watering and constant fogging by pumping up the humidity will chase these pests away.
Scales, on the other hand, do require hands-on control measures. These pests usually clamp upon the leaves’ surface and hide under an impervious shell. Meaning, that spraying them away won’t be as effective as desired. Therefore, one is advised to physically rub alcohol on the affected leaves and remove the scales. One should also pay keen attention to catching the infestation before it is too late. In the case of the Monkey Tail Cacti case, using a soft toothbrush dipped in alcohol will be of significant effect. Because if you use a cotton swab, most of it will remain stuck on the spikes.
Be sure also to read “What is Root Rot & How Do You Fix it?” for tips on maintaining your succulents from any rotting.
Repotting the Monkey Tail Cactus
Repotting of the Soft Monkey Tail cactus is best done once a year. This is because it grows vigorously and at a speedy rate. The re-potting is ideal after the growing and flowering season is complete. If the plant is fully matured, use a bigger pot with a new soil mix. The new soil mix must contain fertilizer and be well aerated as new cuttings need many nutrients to flourish.
The growing and taking care of the Monkey Tail cactus has never been more natural. This unique-looking plant will give your front yard a sight to behold.
Enjoyed learning about The Soft Monkey Tail Cactus? If so, you’ll enjoy our ebook about The Right Way to Propagating Your Succulents Successfully. With this ebook, you’ll find more detailed answers to help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents.
After reading about the Soft Monkey Tail Cactus, is it on your wish list? It sure is on ours!
If you think this succulent will make a great addition to your indoor garden, check out our articles, How to Successfully Grow indoor Succulents, or How to Care for Succulents in the Winter to ensure you’re fully prepared!
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Richard | Editor-in-chief at Succulent City
Hey everyone! I’m Richard. Welcome to my blog, which is all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, I began my journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, my fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and I gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!