Haworthia Retusa

Haworthia Retusa – Detailed Care Guide

Haworthia retusa is also called Star Cactus. Even though it is called “Star Cactus,” Haworthia retusa is a soft window succulent with translucent leaves and not a cactus plant.

haworthia retusa
Haworthia Retusa @Amazon

Star Cactus is native to Western Cape Province, a small town in South Africa. The natural environment of Haworthia retusa is a low, flat terrain.

Not only has Haworthia retusa won the hearts of millions of succulents growers around the world, but it has also won the Award of Garden Merit put together by the Royal Horticultural Society in the United Kingdom.

This article is all you need if you would like to know how to propagate and care for the Haworthia retusa.

Description of Haworthia Retusa Succulents

Haworthia retusa is a small succulent that does not grow beyond six inches in diameter. The lime green leaves of the succulent form rosettes and have translucent windows on the tips. The leaves measure approximately three inches in length and an inch in width.

The Star Cactus produces flowers with brown or green veins when it blooms in the summer or spring.

Haworthia retusa is not poisonous to pets and humans, so you can grow it indoors.

Caring for Your Haworthia Retusa Succulents

It is not difficult to please the Haworthia retusa succulent. It will survive indoors or outdoors as long as it can get an ample amount of sunlight and water. Here are some factors to consider when growing your Haworthia retusa plant:

Light

For your Haworthia retusa to thrive indoors, it needs to be kept close to bright light. You can place the succulent pot close to an east or west-facing window to get the desired amount of light.

If you don’t have a well-lit home, the Haworthia retusa will stretch in the direction of light and become leggy. To prevent this, you should supplement your indoor lighting with a grow light.

If you are growing your Star Cactus outdoors, it would be best to plant it in a succulent pot rather than in the ground. If the weather becomes inclement, you can easily move the pot inside. Also, you can move the pot to get as much sunlight as possible.

The Star Cactus plant is better off under partial shade. But it can withstand full sun when there is no heatwave. Full sun and high heat levels can lead to sunburn and dehydration. To prevent sunburns, ensure you acclimate your succulents to full sun. About three to four weeks need to pass for the Haworthia retusa to adjust to full sun fully. But then, if your Haworthia retusa is already sunburned, the only thing you can do is to either trim off the damaged parts or allow the damaged parts to be replaced with fresh parts.

Water

Just like most succulents, Star Cactus should not be overwatered or left in standing water to avoid root rot.

To prevent overwatering, ensure you examine the soil before watering. Stick fingers into the soil and feel the moisture content of it. For better testing, use a moisture meter to determine the moisture level of the soil.

If the soil is moist, wait for a couple of days for the soil to dry before watering again. When you allow the soil to dry before resuming watering, the natural environment of the succulent is simulated, allowing the plant to grow healthy.

Note that Haworthia retusa succulents are usually dormant during the summer. In light of this, ensure you water them just enough to prevent the leaves from drying up. During the fall, when the succulent is actively growing, you can continue your regular watering schedule.

Star Cactus can thrive in fairly high humidity. If you live in an environment with a dry climate, you do not have to bother about getting a pebble tray or humidifier to adjust the humidity level.

But then, you need to water these succulents more frequently in high humidity. The rate of evaporation will drop during this period and the soil will remain moist for longer than usual.

Temperature

Haworthia retusa cannot withstand frostbite, so you must protect it from icy temperatures. While this succulent is happy with cooler temperatures in the winter, ensure you do not expose it to freezing temperatures.

Haworthia retusa can thrive in a temperature range of 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is below that range, you risk killing your plant to freezing. On the other hand, if the temperature is above that range, your Haworthia retusa succulents may suffer from sunburn.

You should consider moving your Haworthia retusa succulents indoors during the winter months, where the temperature is warmer and stable.

Soil

Star Cactus cannot survive for long in wet soil. Hence, it would be best to avoid potting mix containing water-retaining ingredients such as peat moss, coconut coir, or clay. If the soil drains quickly, small portions of these ingredients will not be that harmful.

To enhance the drainage of the soil, use large particles of perlite, gravel, and coarse sand. These ingredients permit airflow to the roots of the succulents when the soil dries up.

While succulent pots with drainage holes help the soil to dry out quickly, your succulents can still survive in a pot with no drainage holes. You just have to know how to water the succulents properly and examine the soil’s moisture level.

How to Propagate Haworthia Retusa Succulents

Haworthia retusa is quite easy to propagate. It is best to propagate this succulent when it is actively growing, so the new plants can have enough time to develop before their dormancy period. Here are the ways to propagate Haworthia retusa succulents:

Seeds

Propagating Star Cactus plants from seeds require patience because seeds take time to germinate. But the process of experimenting is quite fun for succulent growers.

Plant the seeds in a damp, warm soil. If these soil conditions are not met, your succulent seeds will not germinate. You can use a seed tray to cover the soil, so the seeds will always be warm.

After about three or four weeks, you will notice that the seeds are germinating. At this stage, you can remove the seed tray.

Ensure that the soil is not overwatered to prevent root rot. You can adopt the “wet and dry” watering technique that involves watering and waiting until the soil is dry before resuming your watering schedule.

Cuttings

If you got no patience to wait for seeds to germinate, you can opt for propagating by stem or leaf cuttings. This is a more effective method of propagating Haworthia retusa.

To propagate from leaf or stem cuttings, cut off a mature stem or leaf with a sterilized knife. Allow the cuttings to dry for a couple of days, so the cuts can heal. This helps to prevent infectious organisms from attacking the cuttings when they are planted.

After sticking the cuttings in the soil, do not water until you notice tiny roots springing up. If you want to speed up the root development process, dip the cuttings in a rooting hormone before sticking them in the soil.

You can water and care for the cuttings the same way you would care for a mature succulent as soon as you notice the tiny roots appear.

Bear in mind that planting a number of cuttings in a single pot will give you a vibrant array of succulents when the cuttings mature, so you should consider taking more than a handful of cuttings for propagation.

Offsets

Propagating Haworthia retusa by offsets is the easiest way to go. If you follow the watering, lighting, and temperature conditions mentioned above, your Haworthia retusa will produce offsets in no time.

You can cut off these offsets with a sterilized blade or pluck them from the plant with your fingers. Ensure you go as close as possible to the parent plant when cutting off the offsets. This will help the offsets in forming roots quickly and increase their chances of survival.

Plant the offsets in a different pot and nurture them the same way you would nurture a mature succulent.

Common Pests and Disease Problems Associated with Haworthia Retusa Succulents

Perhaps, the most difficult aspect of caring for the Star Cactus plant is watering. The chances of survival for the Haworthia retusa succulent are quite slim if it is overwatered. Hence, it is very important to check the moisture level of the soil regularly.

If the roots of this succulent start to rot due to overwatering, it will be pretty difficult to save the plant. If the roots are not yet damaged, but the leaves are becoming mushy or yellow, you can still save the succulent by removing the excess water from the pot.

To remove excess water your succulents are standing on, hold the soil with one hand and flip the container with your other hand. If the water is not that much, you can move the pot to a dry, sunny area so that the excess water will evaporate.

In a bid not to overwater your Haworthia retusa succulents, ensure you do not under-water them. If you notice that the leaves of the Star Cactus have a wrinkly or shriveled appearance, take that as a sign to up your watering game.

When it comes to pest attacks, keep an eye out for fungus gnats, spider mites, and mealybugs. Ensure that there is no decaying material in the soil that will attract these pests. Also, insecticides can help to get rid of these pests, especially at the early stages of infestation.

Thimble Cactus

Also commonly known as “Thimble Cactus” or “Powder Tassel,” this is a low-maintenance, tussock cactus that does not usually exceed 3 inches in height, grows in clusters has dark green conical tubers. The areolas have white wool and are round; these can include up to 50 intertwined radial white spines and 1 to 7 thicker central reddish spines. Some varieties of this plant are better known; they are smaller and have white central spines with a brown tip, with fewer radial spines, partly brown, and without central spines. These unique cacti are short in height, but they add a peculiar beauty and color to our garden because they grow in groups.

Thimble Cactus-SC
A picture of Thimble Cactus @thedangergarden

Flowers

Due to their small dimensions, the most common is to grow them in pots and planters. These are slow-growing, fast-spreading plants and are an excellent addition to rock and cactus gardens. Since it grows in clusters, it is also well suited to fairy gardens. Flowering in this species does not occur until the specimen is not at least three years old. The fruit is orange. It has small yellow or cream flowers.

While the usual flowering time for these succulents is late spring or early summer, in some cases, we can see beautiful and striking yellow flowers in winter as well. For this flowering to be best, allow the plants to enjoy a cooling period in winter. We must stop irrigation entirely during this time. One of the many characteristics that differentiate this cactus from others is that Mammillaria has tubers from which the flowers emerge at the time of flowering.

Thimble Cactus-Soil Required-SC
IG@pomariusnursery

Soil Required

Thimble Cactus requires porous soil; a particular substrate for cacti may be ideal. It can also grow well in a mixture of cactus soil and rich, fast-draining ordinary soil with a pH range between 6.1 and 6.5. Some species of these types of plants require sandier soil for potting cacti or succulents for best results. When grown in a pot, the earth can be a mixture, in equal parts, of coarse sand, garden soil, and leaf mulch or also a commercial substrate for cacti.

Thimble Cactus-Cultivation-SC
IG@dragons.roots

Cultivation

In indoor cultivation, it produces a group of small round offsets around the mother plant. These are densely covered with silky white hair, the body of the plant is generally green/blue. Since short white spines densely cover the globes, this looks like a speck of dust around the mother plant. If this cactus is kept in the right conditions, it grows slowly but steadily until it reaches its mature size. A slow-growing, mature Mammillaria cactus can grow to about 5 inches tall and 4 inches in diameter. To obtain the best results in its growth, provide the plants with good airflow; for this, we will find that a window sill with lots of sunlight is an optimal environment conducive to the cactus to thrive.

Thimble Cactus-Weather Conditions-SC
Sunshine Bloom:IG@iowasian

Weather Conditions

The Mammillaria gracilis cactus prefers full sun exposure; however, we must bear in mind that although most Mammillaria species prefer intense light, some cannot survive more than four hours of direct sunlight. It is also preferable to keep it in high temperatures. This little cactus grows well in temperatures between 70 and 80 ° F and becomes dormant in winter.

When temperatures drop to between 60 ° and 65 ° F, the plant will give flowers. The winter temperature should not drop below 41ºF, and although they could withstand a weak frost; It is convenient to rest at about 50ºF. Thanks to the fact that this cactus can withstand the cold well as long as it is dry, we can keep our “Thimble Cactus” as indoor plants during the winter. When summer returns, we can move our cactus outside again to receive more light and air and begin its spring flowering season. Since “Thimble Cactus” plants are not resistant to intense cold, we must offer them plenty of sun on a window sill protected from the elements.

Thimble Cactus-Watering-SC
Watering image: IG@vtdiscthrower

Watering

The watering of our “Thimble Cactus” will depend on the season in which we are. In summer we can water it regularly every other day, in spring, only about twice a week. In this measure, they will decrease in autumn until almost eliminating all irrigation in winter, this being approximately one time a month at most if they are grown outdoors. Something essential for this cactus’ healthy watering is to wait until the soil has completely dried before watering again to avoid drowning it. We must not expose our plant to prolonged humidity or let it rest in the water for extended periods, so we must be attentive to any dish under the pots to avoid any waterlogging.

Thimble Cactus-Fertilizers- potted in beautiful marble pots-SC
Source: IG@peacockandcompany

Fertilizers

The “Thimble cactus” does not require a specific pruning or fertilizer for its growth. However, we can fertilize it with commercial cactus compost in its growing periods to grow more healthily, and its flowering season is abundant. The pot transplant is carried out at the beginning of spring. Its cleaning and maintenance are simple. We must monitor any rot that appears and cut it quickly before it spreads. In case the plant is overcrowded, a pot transplant is necessary; this is an excellent opportunity to remove all the rotten or dead roots that our plant may have.

Thimble Cactus-Reproduction-SC
IG@thatsucculentcat

Reproduction

It is possible to multiply our “Thimble Cactus” by rooting the lateral suckers or seeds sown in spring in a sandy and slightly humid substrate. To reproduce it by cutting, we must carefully remove the suckers and dry them for a couple of days. We will know that they will be ready to plant when a callus forms on the cut surface. At that time, we take a new pot filled with a mixture of substrate for cacti and garden soil; and there we will place our cuttings. It is imperative to keep them in a warm and dry place where they receive enough light.

Diseases

These plants are susceptible to excess moisture; this produces a rot in their roots that can spread to the stems and kill it. In case of excessive dryness, you will also be in danger of the spider mite attack. When grown as a houseplant, it often contracts bacterial diseases caused by excessive watering. That is why it is essential to follow a strict irrigation schedule. The “Thimble Cactus” is also susceptible to attack by some pests such as mosquitoes or mites, but nothing is not resolved with insecticide or rubbing alcohol carefully.

What is a Cactus Plant?

What is a Cactus?

The cactus is a very popular plant, no questions about that, right?

Among the more than 10,000 succulent species out there, cacti steal the show with just how every plant enthusiast is on the prowl on grabbing at least one of them. They surely reign supreme not just in the succulents’ circles but the whole houseplants empire.

You have one sitting around, right? Definitely. I know we do.

So, it’s only prudent that you at least have a little bit of more information about your plant. Here it is.

What is a Cactus?
cactus on cactus on cactus @olivra.cactusucculents

Why is it Named “Cactus”?

Cactus is a Latin-inspired word from the ancient Greek life. Back then, kaktos was the word used to refer to a spiky plant that was prevalent in Sicily.

But as time will have it, the name gradually became a reference to the present day plants we know, most which are desert dwellers in the wild.

Cactus in the Botany World

In scientific terms, cactus belongs to the family— Cactaceae. This family is a vast collection under which there are more than 120 genera and an upwards of 1,700 species.

Though the majority here grow in arid and semiarid areas, a select few cacti thrive in tropical regions with far much better conditions for lush growth.

Here’s an article depicting the difference between cacti and succulents.

What is a Cactus?
stand tall @thornlesscactus_

Origin of Cactus

Cacti are largely endemic to the American continents. The whole regions from north to south are home to dozens of known cactus plants.

The northern limit stretches all the way to Western Canada. In the south, the cacti cover extends to Chile, British Columbia, Alberta Argentina and Patagonia.

Mexico takes the lion’s share, as the country native to the most species of cacti.

The only cactus without its roots in these regions is the Rhipsalis Baccifera, which has been found to be a native of parts of East Africa, Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

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What is a Cactus?
pickles? Or cacti? @houseplantcanvas

General Characteristics of Cacti

Most cacti are adapted to thrive in conditions of little water. The following are the physical attributes that make this possible. Of course, there are exceptions which form just a small part of the cactus type.

If you need some additional help on when to water your succulents, we have the perfect article for you!

What is a Cactus?
bright and sunny @houstonpetals

Short Growing Season and Long Periods of Dormancy

Water availability (rather lack of it) is a strong contributor to this. The growing seasons coincide with periods of rain, which are obviously short-lived. Consequently, the plants have to use this limited time (and the additional vital resource) to develop.

Growth is put on hold as soon the rains are over to preserve as much water as possible.

When it’s time to repot your cactus, check out this article!

A Shallow Root System

This is very important in the desert ecosystem, where rains are far apart. The roots are found near the surface and spread out over a large area so that any water droplets are immediately sucked up and stored.

What is a Cactus?
careful where you walk… @natizxy

Highly Modified Leaves in the Form of Spines

Most cacti are devoid of leaves. Instead, they possess spikes that serve a number purposes

  • They deter desert herbivores from feeding on them
  • Reduce loss of water from the stem by being hindrances to free flow of air around the plant.

The spikes also serve as distinctive features of different cacti plants. By looking at them, you can be able to tell which plant it is that you’re handling. That’s by observing properties like color, number, shape, size and hardness.

Just in case you may be a little clumsy (like some us here), here’s a useful pair of tweezers that have help us pull out a cactus thorn… or two.

What is a Cactus?
too cute to eat @marj.jpg

Store Water in Their Stems

Succulents typically store water in their leaves. But for cacti, their reduced leaves come up short on size.

So, the stem is the part equipped for this function. The presence of spikes and a waxy cuticle greatly reduces the amount that is lost in the air.

The stem is also a food factory for the plant.

Here’s a more in-depth conversation about what adaptations a cactus has. Check it out! And here’s a useful watering bottle for when your cacti become thirsty!

What is a Cactus?
an army of cacti @theboskycompany

Specialized Branches in the Form of Areoles

Areoles are a feature specific to cacti. They are small hairy structures found on the stems.

From the areoles, spikes and flowers emerge. Areoles on the lower parts of the stem become inactive after a few years leaving those at the terminals to keep up with their function.

What is a Cactus?
photogenic cactus @viverolafelicidad

More Than Just Ornamental Plants— Uses of Cacti

Of course cacti are grown for the main reason of raising the aesthetic appeal of a place – be it a home or an office. Or as a hobby.

Here’s a few planters we love tat would look great in your house! Check out this one with a bamboo archway, these cute minimalistic ceramic pots, or even this festive cactus pot!

The large number of species really does provide more than enough options in terms of color, shape and size. But then this same number is a gateway to more cacti benefits. Have a look.

And if you’re curious… Here’s our interpretation of what it means if someone gifts you a cactus!

What is a Cactus?
it’s a cactus… inside of a cactus! @uurscactuses

Food

Cacti are a known source of food in many regions across the world. Generally, any fleshy fruit from a cactus is a potential savory delight.

Apart from fruits, flowers and pads of some cacti species are edible. The Indian Fig Cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) is one of the plants whose fruits and pads can be munched. It is widely recognized for this in Mexico and parts of Africa. Check out this edible Prickly Pear Cactus.

Other cacti grown for food are Carnegiea Gigantea, Stenocereus Queretaoensis, Hylocereus Undatus among others.

Cacti can even become a part of your daily beauty routine, with this antioxidant serum!

Fodder / Forage

Human beings are not the only beneficiaries of the edible nature of some cacti. Livestock too enjoy a mouthful of these desert vegetation. But first, the spines will have to be removed. Manadacaru (Cereus Jamacaru) is the most common cactus for this purpose.

What is a Cactus?
bloomin’ cactus @thetrexgarden

Medicine

The medicinal properties of cacti are just limitless. Among the numerous species, there are a host of them that can be used to combat common illnesses effectively. They are:

  • Night-blooming Cereus whose stems and flowers are processed to manufacture medicine for urinary tract infections
  • Peyote whose extracts play a role in regulating blood pressure and sleep
  • Prickly Pear which is used to treat a range of conditions like indigestion, burned wounds and oedema. Here’s our article devoted to the Prickly Pear!

Other common uses include fencing and making alcoholic drinks (fermenting fruit syrup).

What is a Cactus?
Lime green cactus! @mook_cactus

What do you think? Are you ready to own a cactus (or add 10 more to your already existing collection)?

Let us help you get started! Have you heard of Succulents Box? They offer more than 200 varieties of succulents and cacti, that are organically grown in California, along with monthly subscription boxes of fresh succulents and air plants! Starting at just $5/month, you could be on your way to creating a beautiful succulent garden, all from the comfort of shopping at home! Click this link to learn more about Succulents Box and start your subscription today! 

Want to continue expanding your cacti knowledge? Check out these additional Succulent City articles — How to Check if Your Cactus is Dying, How to Make Your Own Succulent Soil at Home, 9 Rare Cacti That’s Hard to Find, or What is the Purpose of Thorns on a Cactus Plant + many, many more on our website!

Thanks for reading! Be sure to join our ever- growing succulent community on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Calling all succulents/cacti lovers— rookie or veteran! Succulent City has developed a line of 12 ebooks (see here), ranging on topics from indoor & outdoor succulents, essential tools, the best soil to use, and more! We even threw in a complimentary ebook to help get your succulent journey started you just have to insert your email on our front page for this. With our ebooks you’ll be a succulent guru in no time, have fun!

Happy planting! ?

Mysterious Christmas Cactus – Schlumbergera Bridgesii

Mysterious Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera Bridgesii

You have to agree that this is an instant love at first sight for succulent lovers. However, its mystery is what attracts most of its lovers.

From botanists, gardeners, to the typical plant lovers (in this case succulent lovers), the mysterious Christmas cactus is fast becoming a household name. Its magical nature sells the plant as one of the most amazing succulents for home decor.

This is a detailed guide that unravels the mysteries of a real Christmas cactus. What is it like? Its origin, mysteries, how to get the best of it…. Much awaits you (like father Christmas candies) if you only keep on reading. 👇

Mysterious Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera Bridgesii
The Mystery of Christmas Cactus @_mygreenworld

The Origin of Mysterious Christmas Cactus

The best way to unravel any mystery is to understand where it has its roots.

Schlumbergera bridgesii originates from the mighty Amazonian rain forests of Brazil. The holiday bloomer hails from the Zygocactus genus or Schlumbergera according to its name. The genus is home to only six species of which the bridgesii is one of them.

Thus absolute beauty was discovered in the mid-1800s by a scientist called Charles Lemaire. The plant has its name from the famous cacti collector from France, Frederic Schlumberger.

How Mysterious is The Christmas Cactus?

In its native home in Brazil, the plant is christened “Flor de Maio.” It is where it gains its fame to be a mystery for most of its growers, and it is all about the blooming time.

Most cacti lovers assume that Schlumbergera blooms during Christmas hence its name Christmas cactus. To your surprise, this is never the case. The Schlumbergera genus is made up of holiday bloomers. The most confusing bloom closer or during Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving holidays.

So after all, the Christmas cactus blooms during Christmas. Its siblings from the Schlumbergera family host its mystery.

Mysterious Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera Bridgesii
A Cactus for Your Christmas @_mygreenworld

What Does the Mysterious Christmas Cactus Look Like?

To completely unravel the mystery, we need to understand the plant’s physical appearance. In the end, you will find that it is a beautiful house plant from its looks.

The hardest hurdle to getting the real color of any holiday bloomer is the amount of propagation that it undergoes. The six bloomers take several colors ranging from magenta, pink, to white, and even some are bicolor. It is unfair to mention that the plant is one of the easiest to propagate.

The Christmas cactus is leafless with flat, segmented and slightly spiked stems. You will find its beautiful flowers that are red, pink or white in most cases emanating from an areola on its stem.

To quickly tell the Christmas cactus from the rest of the holiday bloomers, take a closer look at its stems. They are less spiked.

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04/20/2021 08:37 am GMT

Blooming the Christmas Cactus

Well, there is more mystery to unraveled than what you already know about this fantastic cactus so far so good.

What Comes into Your Mind When You Hear of ‘Cactus’?

As most of us would have never imagined, the Christmas cactus has its origin in the Amazon, think of the biggest rivers, and the highest rainfall amounts. In short, no desert-like climates where you find the thorned cactus.

Mysterious Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera Bridgesii
Bloom Your Christmas Cactus @hnevvv

Does this Affect How it Blooms? How do You Care For it for Those Scintillating Flowers to Burst Out?

  • Christmas is winter time(well, not everywhere on earth). Winter is cold and so does the Christmas cactus hate hot environments. Avoid exposing it to hot air or direct sunlight. Its beautiful foliage can quickly turn into an eyesore.
  • Keep the plant exposed to bright light (probably next to your window). However, remember not directly under the sun. You can get it near the north or west-facing window or easier done, get a light-diffusing semi-transparent curtain. drain
  • Unlike other cacti, maintain a humid environment for this zygocactus mystery. The optimum humidity levels range between 50-60%.
  • The Christmas cactus is a long-living plant which makes it a great gift to be passed from generation to generation. Do not commit a crime of killing this beauty by letting its roots swimming in too much water. They can easily rot. Go for pots and soils that drain the water optimally.
  • Fertilizers work magic when it comes to growing indoor bloomers. Consider applying some fertilizer to a 2-3 week old plant. The process can also be done up to four times annually with breaks smashed four weeks before its blooming period.
  • Water your plant at least weakly during winter and 2-3 times a week when its a hot and dry summer season. Check the soil water retention(with your hand) any time before watering and only water if the top layer is dry.
Mysterious Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera Bridgesii
Beautiful Cacti Species @oneofthejessies

Can you confess your love for housing succulents? They are all juicy and beautiful to look at while adding more life to your interiors. But wait until you have your Christmas cactus. Christmas will never be Christmas again until you see the blossoms of a succulent queen.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out similar articles on the cacti species like “5 Dangers Of Overwatering A Cactus” or even “The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus“.

BE SURE TO ALSO READ:

If you’d like this read you’re going to love our full in-depth ebooks! With so many of our succulent lovers asking for more, we listened and can’t wait to share it with you here! With our very detailed ebooks, you’ll get more information than these short articles, some ebooks are 30+ pages, perfect for a weekend read.

Happy Planting! 🌵

The Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii)

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii

Moon cactus, also known as Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii or Hibotan cactus, is native to desert habitats in various parts of South America; Argentina to be precise. It belongs to the Gymnocalycium genus of globular cacti. These cacti are succulent plants that are very colorful but lack the necessary chlorophyll to produce plant sugars through photosynthesis. This makes the plants to be grafted onto a species that provides plenty of chlorophyll upon which the moon cactus can sustain itself for several years.

The blooming beauty of Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii plants is seen in its vibrant bright colors of brilliant orange, hot pink and an almost neon yellow. The lack of chlorophyll causes this color difference. They are small plants, generally a half-inch across. This makes it common for them to make lovely window boxes or southern exposure houseplants and be sold as gift plants.

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii
The Beauty of Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii @flowers.cactus

Moon Cactus Has The Following Characteristics:

  1. This plant grows as a globular mass, reaching about two inches in size.
  2.  It tends to produce offsets that grow around the base of the globe where the sides of the globular shape feature seams with prickly quills.
  3. It has a thick base that makes the perfect host for the moon cactus.
  4. Moon cactus is typically grafted to another cactus-like Hylocereus undatus commonly known as the dragon fruit cactus.
  5. This plant may produce flowers from the sides giving it a blooming beauty but does not produce a scent.

Just like other plants, some factors determine the growth of the moon cactus as seen below.

Light

Moon cactus does well in bright but indirect sunlight. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can be harmful to the plant. A covered porch that has some shade or an area where direct sunlight is blocked is the best environment for a moon cactus to grow. If the plant is indoors, set it near a window to give it plenty of sunlight. Note that, if the plant does not get enough bright light, the color starts to fade.

Temperature

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii grows well at average room temperature throughout the year. For your cactus to survive through a winter freeze, bring it indoors or in the garage where the temperature drops below 40 degrees. Alternatively, you can cover them up with a light blanket or sheet to shield them from cold weather. When exposed to hard elements during a hard winter, the moon cactus will freeze.

Water

Just like other succulent plants, moon cactus requires water. Water it regularly throughout the spring and summer months. During the winter months, water less frequently. Ensure the soil is dry before watering the plant. Make use of unglazed pots with numerous drainage holes to prevent standing water at the base of the pot, which further prevents the roots from rotting. Putting a thin layer of gravel at the bottom of your container before adding the moon cactus plant is advisable as it aids in water drainage.

For a more in-depth coverage of your cacti’s water needs check out: “How Often To Water A Cactus: Essential Guide”.

Soil

Moon cactus grows well in the regular commercial soil with good drainage. You can opt to use a mixture of pumice or perlite and regular potting soil. Though, we highly recommend this succulent and cacti soil from Hoffman. Our plants here at the office rated it with 5 stars! 

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Try making your own succulent soil at home by checking out “How to Make Your own Succulent Soil at Home“.

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii
Growth of Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii @plantvalley.shop

Glooming Maintenance & Propagation of Moon Cactus

To maintain the globular shape of the moon cactus, cut off the side shoots. When propagating, use the side shoots or the offsets growing from the plant. Use host plants for the side shoots like the Hylocereus undatus which offers a perfect base for them. Select host plants of the same thickness, height, and diameter.

Prepare the host plant before collecting the side shoots. Cutting at a slant, cut the top of the host plant, then carefully cut the side shoots from the mother plant. Press the two cut pieces together, setting the side shoot on the host plant. Press firmly but not too tight. Don’t allow the cuts of the host plant and the side shoots to dry before finishing the grafting process. To hold the two pieces together, secure the side shoots with a rubber band.

After several weeks, the side shoot should have started growing off the host plant. Remove the rubber band and follow the moon cactus care tips.

Be sure to check out our in-depth ebook on all things propagating. Don’t miss out on “The Right Way to Propagating Succulents Successfully” today!

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii
Maintenance & Propagation @little_gavin_cactus

Advantages of The Moon Cactus

Due to its fun appearance, it is made an excellent choice for any cactus or succulent garden. It is also seen great in window sills where it grows in a small pot.

The Shortcomings of The Moon Cactus

The major problem faced by the moon cactus is being infested with mealybugs and scales. You can deal with these infestations by use of tweezers, or cotton wool dipped in alcohol. If this does not curb the situation, use an insecticide as your last resort.

The other common problem is root rot which results from overwatering. Always be careful when watering your moon cactus. Want more info on root rot? Check out our piece “What is Root Rot & How Do You Fix it?” for more helpful info.

Blooming Beauty Moon Cactus Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii
The Moon Cactus @suzy2510

Despite these challenges, the moon cactus plant is easy to get, fun to own, and a colorful little plant to add to your collection. Besides, it has relatively low maintenance requirements.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to check out more pieces on the cacti species like “The Beautiful Blue Cacti—Pilosocereus” or even “Why Succulent Plants Are So Popular“.

Did this article help answer your succulent-care questions? We sure hope so! If not, no worries. Succulent City is devoted to aiding all succulent lovers, and that’s why we created a line of ebook guides! Check out our in-depth tips on “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor & Outdoor” or even “Rare Succulents You Wish You Knew About” today! 

Happy Planting! 🌵

 

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