Who is the Queen of the Night Succulent?

Queen of The Night Succulent

Queen of the night cactus is a darling. Not just among succulents’ enthusiasts; but ages long cultures view it in a revering light.

Is it because of the name “queen” in it?

Or was the name as result of the elevation in the first place?

Wonder no more because you’re about to get all the juice right below. But only if you keep reading.

queen of the night cactus

Epiphyllum Oxypetalum

Queen of the night cactus is a member of the Cactaceae family, just like any other cactus. Further on, it is among the 19 species that make up the Epiphyllum genus, this particular one (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) being the most popular.

On occasions, the epiphyllum oxypetalum plant has been referred to as night-blooming cereus though has no relation to the night-blooming species in the Cereeae tribe.

Besides queen of the night, this species is also referred to as the Dutchman’s pipe cactus. There is a lot more names given to this plant in different cultures as you’ll get to see in a few.

queen of the night cactus

Description & Characteristics of the Queen of the Night Cactus

Epyphyllum oxypetalum has a varied stem growth. The stems don’t just grow erect from the ground, but can be sprawling, ascending or scandent and also bear numerous branches.

Primary stems have woody bases, a cylindrical shape up to a height of 6m and are laterally flat. Meanwhile, secondary stems are flat with oval tapering ends.

Flowers are large, white in color and fragrant – only that you’ll have to check them out during the night if you want enjoy them.

What is the origin of the Queen of the Night cactus plant?

The epiphyllum oxypetalum species like many other succulent plants and cactus plants has been found to be a native of southern Mexico and parts of south and central America.

The Queen of the Night cactus plant is quite a popular plant owing to its extensive cultivation. This has definitely bolstered its population and hence the designation “Least Concern” by the IUCN.


queen of the night cactus

Interesting facts about the Queen of the Night

Queen of the night cactus isn’t just another cutie pie succulent. In some cultures, it has been assigned particular notions that are reflected in the names it’s identified as.

  • The Japanese refer to it as Gekka Bijin meaning beauty under the moon.
  • In Indonesia it’s a flower of triumph (Wijaya Kusuma)
  • In Sri Lanka it’s a flower from heaven (Kadupul)
  • Indians have named it Brahma Kamalam, after the Hindu god of creation lord Brahma. According to their beliefs, your wishes will be fulfilled if you offer your petitions to God when the plant’s flower is blooming.

The Chinese on the other hand use it figuratively to refer to someone who scores a sudden but short-lived moment of success – just like the flower of this plant that blooms at night but can’t live to see the next dusk.

queen of the night cactus

How to Care for Queen of the Night Cactus Plants— the Right Way

Being a succulent, this is an easy peasy plant to take care of in your garden of succulents and cacti. You know, like being light-handed on some care aspects that should otherwise be thorough and so on.

For a robust and low maintenance cactus of this kind, here are the minimum specifics to keep in mind for the epiphyllum oxypetalum plant.

Should you keep your Queen of the Night hydrated?

The queen of the night cactus hates water just as any succulent out there. So, be sure to heed this if you want it to thrive. If you didn’t know already, succulents and cacti do not need as much water as other plants in order to thrive.

If anything they need less water and should only be watered when fully dried out. (Drainage holes and breathable pots/planters are what allows these types of plants to thrive best).

From spring all the way to fall, the watering frequency should be once every 2 weeks. Keep a lookout if the soil is still damp or moist, if it is, stretch out the watering process another couple days or 1 more week to ensure there will be no rotting.

Come winter, cut back on watering to allow the top soil to dry up completely. That means you’ll be watering once every 4-6 weeks.

queen of the night cactus

What are the ideal temperatures for the Queen of the Night cactus?

This particular cactus thrives in Zone 10 and 11. (If you’d like to know what zone your other plants are use this plant hardiness tool to find out). So, you’ll have to bring them inside during winter if you’re based in zones where minimum average temperatures can hit 35°F during winter.

Temperatures between 50°F and 90°F are ideal for this kind of cactus.

Proper soil and fertilization for Queen of the Night Cacti

Be sure to use a well-draining soil mix for your queen of the night cactus. That way you’re sure its roots are safe from rot that comes by as a result of excessive moisture due to the soil holding water for too long.

Use a commercial cactus and succulent mix or create your own by mixing regular potting soil with pumice/perlite and coarse sand.

Apply a low nitrogen fertilizer once a month from spring to fall. Alternatively, you can use a natural fertilizer (compost).

queen of the night cactus

Sunlight recommendations for your Queen of the Night Cactus

Direct sunlight and this cactus don’t get along well. Remember in the natural habitat it grows on other plants shielding itself against direct rays in their shade. So, if your region is ideal, planting them outside should be under bigger plants.

Placing this cactus in an environment where it’s closely matched to its natural habitat is ideal.

But for indoors, a couple of hours by a window will go a long way.

Propagating the Queen of the Night Cactus

Before we begin, if you haven’t checked out our article on propagating succulents successfully, we highly recommend you read it and learn the overall process behind propagation and why it works.

If you want to increase the number of your cacti quick, go with the cuttings option. Of course seeds are also an avenue but the wait is going to be a little longer.

For cuttings, make sure to make them either in summer or spring 2-3 weeks after the flowering season. Make a cutting long enough for planting and allow it sometime (a week is good) for the cut part to dry. Whatever you use should be sharp and clean to avert any infections. We highly recommend getting a handy tool like this for easy cuts, it’ll make your life so much easier.

Proceed to insert the cutting in a well-draining moist potting mix. (For organic enthusiasts and practitioners you might want to use this organic soil mix by The Next Gardener). Place the pot in a bright spot away from direct sunlight. Water every time the soil dries up until the plant is off to a start when you can now adopt the watering routine above.

Remember, less water is better than more water for these types of plants.

queen of the night cactus

How can you Repot the Queen of the Night Cactus Safely

The epiphyllum oxypetalum plant is going to outgrow its original pot as the years go by, like anything that grows. So, repotting is a sure thing if you want to keep your plant beaming.

Again, give it some time after the flowering season, usually a month is enough. Fill the bottom of the new pot with gravel to aid drainage.

Now carefully pull out the plant by its root ball from its current pot and place it in the above pot. Make sure it isn’t stuck. Otherwise, loosen up the soil mix by passing a gardening knife or garden shovel through it in a back and forth motion along the edges of the pot. Fill up the pot with a fresh mix and give it a week before watering. Allow the soil to dry for a month before doing it again after which you can proceed with the usual frequency above.

Pests & Problems to Look Out for your Queen of the Night

Queen of the night cactus is vulnerable to attacks from common pests that munch other cacti and succulents. These include mealybugs, slugs, aphids and scale bugs – among a host of others. It is important to check your plants regularly for signs of these little intruders.

Apply any of the following in case you spot them:

  • Spray the epiphyllum oxypetalum plant using a combination of rubbing alcohol and water
  • Spray with the required pesticide or insecticide
  • Blow them off using a jet of water. Just be sure to keep the soil covered so as it doesn’t end up being waterlogged.

Fungal Leaf Spot

What is fungal leaf exactly? It’s like a deteriorating plant typically spotted when a plant becomes covered in black/brown patches. Not only is it not appealing but it can be a sign your plant needs more attention to overcome this.

For a severe case, it may be impossible to salvage the plant entirely and propagating a new one is the only worth while step. But in case of just a few spots, using a fungicide is a big saver. With more than 100 reviews we believe this fungicide from Souther AG will be a safe bet if you’re using method.

queen of the night cactus

Uses of Queen of the Night Cactus

Besides the epiphyllum oxypetalum plant being ornamental, it can be used for the following.

  • Strengthen heart tissue
  • Alleviate heart pain
  • Calm the nervous system

Where Can I Buy A Queen of the Night Cactus?

In a lot of places.

With the Queen of the Night’s popularity, it is easy to come across a piece of it in succulents’ retailers either offline or online. This cactus being amongst the more popular cacti won’t be hard to come by when searching for it.

Offline, walk into your local nursery and grab one for yourself or pick it up from your friend’s place – with their expressed permission, of course.

Online, you have a lot of places to choose from including Amazon, Etsy, Succulent Box, Mountain Crest Garden etc.

queen of the night cactus

Think you’ll have yourself a Queen of the Night cactus plant now? As beautiful as they are, they’re also low maintenance! Easy to care for and the right amount of neglect goes a long way, not your typical high maintenance Queen.

Did you enjoy this article but are still confused and have more questions you’d like answered? Feel free to join our exclusive group at the Succulent Plant Lounge. We have members asking questions daily and are being answered from our awesome members as well.

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.

Thanks for reading with us, and like always, happy planting out there!

Does the Bunny Cactus Hop?

All You Need to Know About the Bunny Cactus

The IUCN assigns the bunny cactus the “Least Concern” tag. That means it’s nowhere near getting extinct – the population is huge. I think it’s safe to say, they’re hopping all over the place!

By Royal Horticultural Society’s standards, this plant is recommended for anyone with an interest in gardening. That’s why they’ve given it the Award of Garden Merit to show just how easy it is to care for. Talk about an easy bunny to take care of!

What do the above two facts insinuate?

This particular cactus is a big deal for anyone who considers him/herself a plant lover. Do you?

If yes, there is a likelihood that you’ve come across this plant. And you’re here to find out more about it. Keep reading before it hops away.

Bunny Cactus
beautiful bunny cactus display @white_barn_owl

Bunny Cactus— Opuntia Microdasys

This darling of a plant belongs to the extensive cactus family of Cactaceae. Within this family, it falls in the genus Opuntia, microdasys species. Thus it has the scientific name Opuntia microdasys, go figure!

As you already may know, bunny cactus is the commonly used name. But it’s not the only known. Other popular names that people use to reference this plant include the following…

  • Bunny ears cactus
  • Polka-dot cactus
  • Angel’s-wings cactus

The species is a close relative of Opuntia rufida and some botanists treat these two as one. See the small differentiating details below!

Bunny Cactus
a good boy with his bunny cactus @connie_succulents

What does a Bunny Cactus look like?

The cradle of Opuntia microdasys has been found to be Mexico; central and northern parts of it. But thanks to the succulents storming popularity, you can find them in lots of places around the world.

The bunny cactus plant can grow to a height of at most 60 cm and is devoid of a central stem. Instead, it’s made of oval-shaped green pads that emerge in pairs. This gives the bunny ears cactus the appearance of a rabbit’s head hence the name. The pads take on the green color later as they mature but are red when emerging.

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Each one of these pad segments is densely covered by glochids instead of the typical spines as in other cacti. The glochids can either be yellow or white in color and are easily detached. This is the minute difference between this species and the rufida species – the color of the glochids. The one on Opuntia rufida are redish-brown. And these little structures aren’t the kind of stuff that should land on your skin. There is some serious itching involved, so beware when handling this plant.

You know the saying, “Handle with caution.”

It bears yellow flowers at the top end of the nearly-round stems. But that is on rare occasions. If you find one or grow one that appears like this, share it in Succulent City Plant Lounge, i’m sure a lot of our exclusive members would love to see this rare sight!

bunny cactus
mini bunny cactus @shinyhappyleaf

How to Take Care of the Bunny Cactus

Here’s that tired line – the bunny cactus does best in negligence and is well-suited for beginner gardeners. And it’s true. The bunny doesn’t need that much attention in order to hop vibrantly!

But it’s a sure thing that you don’t want to leave your plant to its own devices. Here’s how you can look after it, with little maintenance requirements.

The ideal Environment

The plant has a varied demand as a far as temperatures are concerned. Whatever range is best for one season is fatal for another.

For a larger part, it does best with temperatures of up to 38°C (100°F). But come winter seasons, maintaining this reading will kill the plant. To keep your plant in one piece during this season, maintain lower temperatures (10-18°C or 50-65°F). You may even get rewarded with a bloom if you keep up these readings.

bunny cactus
sunny bunny @findbeautyinallthingsnature

Sunlight Requirements to Make the Bunny Cactus Happy

This species cherishes full light exposure.

Place it on a south or west-facing window for full days during all the seasons excluding winter. In winter, limit the exposure to just a few hours per day.

In case of deficient light in your region, consider putting your plant under a fluorescent light for 16 hours maximum every day. If all else fails we highly recommend using a grow light to keep your cactus happy. This isn’t ideal for this specific plant, but it can help you achieve more light for the darkest of hours to rejuvenate your bunny.

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bunny cactus
a bunny and its pebbles @prakritisgarden

Soil and Fertilizing Must-Haves

Well-draining is the one property you need to look out for when potting this plant, amongst other plants. A lack of it will lead to root- rot, which spells doom for the bunny ears cactus. So a potting mix with a tendency to let away water quickly is a no-brainer.

And there are two options for you here:

  • Purchase a commercial cactus and succulent mix.
  • Make your own well-draining mix by mixing potting soil, coarse sand and pumice/perlite.

For the second option, you can test for drainage by wetting the mixture and squeezing it. If it is coarse and crumby, kudos. Proceed with it. If not, add some more coarse sand and pumice/perlite.

Liquid fertilizer should be applied during the growth of the plant, that is in summer, spring and part of fall. 3-4 times should serve the plant just right for optimal growth.

Hoffman 10410 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix, 10 Quarts
Miracle-Gro Foaming Succulent Plant Food, 8 oz (6 Pack)
USA Pumice - 1.25 Dry Quarts
Hoffman 14302 Western Desert Sand, 2 Quarts, Brown/A
Hoffman 10410 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix, 10 Quarts
Miracle-Gro Foaming Succulent Plant Food, 8 oz (6 Pack)
USA Pumice - 1.25 Dry Quarts
Hoffman 14302 Western Desert Sand, 2 Quarts, Brown/A

Last update on 2021-10-07 / Amazon

Tip: Stash your fertilizer in winter.

bunny cactus
colorful bunny cactus display @colourfulcactusflowers

Hydrating your Bunny Cactus

Being a desert grower, this plant is always on standby to grab as much water as possible through its roots.

This means it doesn’t need gallons upon gallons of water just because it’s in a pot. So you don’t need to try and outdo yourself with watering it every day.

The top part of the mix should be dry 2 inches down before watering again. That is during the seasons when the plant is growing.

In winter, when the plant is dormant for a larger part, watering isn’t necessary. But keep the potting mix moisturized nevertheless. For more tips on watering your succulents and cacti, read our article on how often you should water these plants, it’s helped more than 1000 plant lovers!

bunny cactus
best friends @lostinblossom

How to Propagate the Bunny Cactus Easily

You can either use seeds or the individual stem segments.

For seeds, soak them up briefly before sowing. After sowing keep the temperature at 21°C for proper germination. Let the baby bunnies grow to considerable sizes before potting. Seed should be sowed in spring.

For the stem pads, cut off a couple of mature ones from the plant and allow them to callous over one week. For best results, group the segments in threes or more. Burry them an inch into the potting mix and water regularly to promote healthy root development. Cuttings should be made in summer. Remember to mind the glochids.

In both cases, use cactus and succulents potting soil. You can use the soil we mentioned earlier but if you’re into the organic trend, you’re in luck.

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bunny cactus
a bun in the sun @gardenstudiogoa

Repotting the Bunny Cactus the Bigger it Grows

You’re going to have to repot your plant every one or two years. This way, the plant doesn’t grow too big for the pot and the roots are in an ample position to keep growing. Your bunny cactus should not seem like it’s squished into the pot nor should it look like it has way too much room for it’s own good.

A good sized pot typically allows for a plant to be snug but allow room for growth and movement. 

For the love of your skin, don’t touch the plant with bare hands. Use a rolled up piece of cloth or towel during the move. Even simple gardening gloves will do the trick, we just can’t stress enough that your skin should NOT touch this plant. You’ll have very irritated skin if you do.

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Summer is the perfect season to repot as your plant will have enough time to recover from the whole process before the cold catches on. Even then, give the plant some time before resuming the fertilizing and watering rhythm. A week without watering is fine at first, while for fertilization, you can wait for as much as a month.


bunny cactus
cool bunny cactus @vrikshvan

Pests to Look Out for & Potential Problems

Mealybugs and scale insects love to hang out on the pads. But their fun isn’t particularly a good thing for the plant. They suck sap out of the stems which is detrimental to the plant’s well-being.

To stop them, apply a mixture of rubbing alcohol with water on each of the individual pests using cotton. Grab yourself any kind of 70% rubbing alcohol and dilute it further with water. Be sure to use gloves to protect your skin from long sessions of alcohol scrubbing.

For a more persistent pest problem, read our article: “How to Get Rid of Mealybugs From Your Succulents”.

Root rot is a common problem due to overwatering. Be sure to follow the watering guidelines above to evade this problem.

bunny cactus
peek-a-boo bunny cactus @cacti.cacti

Where Can I Buy a Bunny Cactus

In a lot of places!

You can choose to either order online or pick up your bunny from your local garden nursery.

To order online, log on to any of the following and click away to order them bunnies

  • Amazon
  • Succulent Gardens
  • Mountain Crest Gardens
  • Leaf and Clay

If you prefer checking out your plant in person before purchasing, have a visit to your local nurseries and see what they got for you. Given the popularity of these bunny cacti plants, you might have luck in finding these in your local nurseries anyways.


bunny cactus
two best-bunnies @cocolentmersin

Thanks for reading with us and be sure to share your favorite photo above! Maybe even share your thoughts about how cute the bunny cactus is in our exclusive group, Succulent Plant Lounge.

Loved learning about this succulent and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complimentary guide. 

Happy planting!?

Everything You Need to Know About the Brain Cactus

Everything about the Brain Cactus


This spooky, scary cactus really does look like brains! If you put it in a faux human skull planter, you may be able to fool a few people into thinking your Brain Cactus is a real human brain! Maybe an idea for halloween 2019?

OK, we’re just kidding about the real brains thing! The Brain Cactus is bright green, so you probably won’t be fooling anybody with it anytime soon. But it does have curvy stems that wrap and twist around each other into a round shape, so the whole plant does look a lot like a brain.

This unique cactus has an interesting history and some specific care requirements, so if you want to learn more about it, keep reading!

Also, for our new readers that don’t know. We’ve been collaborating with Amazon to provide our readers amazing deals! Like this one, you can sign up for Amazon Prime for a 30 day FREE trial. How cool is that? Our team is thinking about getting new planters to spice up the office!

Anyways, onwards to the brains…

everything to know about the brain cactus
sunny brain cactus @plant_addiction__

Origins of the Brain Cactus

The Brain Cactus, also known as the Mammillaria ElongataCristata’ cactus, is native to central Mexico. It’s a rare form of the Mammillaria Elongata cactus and has a unique, crested shape. Its growth pattern kind of looks like worms or brains, which is how it got the nickname Brain Cactus.

Mammillaria Elongata cacti are called Ladyfingers and grow nice and straight, but this crested form has stems with lots of kinks in them that grow in one big round clump. How did that happen?

It didn’t happen through cultivation—it actually happened through mutation or damage.

All succulents, including cacti, have a center of growth. This center of growth is called the apical meristem. If the apical meristem gets munched on by an insect or damaged somehow, your cactus may start to grow in a wormlike crested shape. Pretty cool, huh?

That’s not the only way that crested cacti can form, though. Sometimes a mutation happens in the cells of a cactus and causes it to become crested. Mutations happen much more rarely, though.

everything to know about the brain cactus
brain cactus @maijamasena

How to Care for the Brain Cactus Properly

Taking care of a Brain Cactus is easy, but there are a few things you should know, especially when it comes to propagation. Keep reading if you want to learn how to take care of the amazing Mammillaria Elongata ‘Cristata’ plant!

The best soil to use for your Brain Cactus

The best cactus soil is going to be something that drains well, like succulent soil or a homemade soil blend made with potting mix, perlite or pumice, and sand.

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, perfectly pH Balanced & is pathogen-free (ie: 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 plant nerd like us :). Pick up some of our favorite soil by clicking here: Bonsai Jack Succulent Soil.

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Repotting the Brain Cactus safely

When you get your Brain Cactus home from the nursery or in the mail, you’ll probably want to plant it in a new pot.

When you repot this cactus, you have to be careful! It has spines that can hurt you, so put on a thick pair of gardening gloves before you try to pick it up. Once you have your gloves on, grab your new pot and cactus soil and fill it up, leaving some room for the plant and its roots.

Now you’re ready to take your cactus out of its old pot!. Run a trowel around the edges of the pot to loosen up the soil. Gently pick up the cactus and shake as much of the old soil out of the roots as you can. Plant it in the new pot and add more soil around it so that the soil reaches the top of the pot. Hold off on watering it for a few days to give it a chance to acclimate to its new pot.

You should repot your cactus once every two to four years in the spring. If you see its roots peaking out of the drainage hole, that’s a definite sign that it’s outgrowing its pot and needs to be replanted!

everything to know about the brain cactus
up close and personal @stringofplants

Brain Cactus water requirements for ideal growth

Most cacti don’t require a lot of water, and the Brain Cactus is no exception. Excess water can get in the folds of this crested cactus and rot it quite quickly, so you have to be careful when watering it! Make sure that you don’t get water on the body of your Brain Cactus. We like to use a small watering can and point the spout at the soil, not the plant.

We use the “soak and dry” method to water our cacti, so we keep pouring water onto the soil until water runs out of the drainage hole of the pot. Then we wait until the soil is completely dry to the touch before watering again.

I know what you’re thinking. Soaking my cactus with water? Won’t that cause it to rot?


everything to know about the brain cactus
brain cactus in yellow pot @omniasucculents

Cacti have a reputation for needing very little water, so I totally understand why you think that! But this watering method actually mimics the weather patterns in their native environment, the desert, so it keeps them nice and healthy.

Deserts get periods of heavy rain followed by long periods of intense drought. Cacti soak up all the water they can during those heavy rains and then dry out during the drought, drawing on their water reserves to keep themselves hydrated.

So soaking them mimics those heavy desert rains and drying them out mimics the drought. They love this watering method, so try it out!

As for frequency, we soak out cacti once every one or two weeks during the summer, and then cut back to once every four to six weeks during the winter.

everything to know about the brain cactus
potted brain cactus @succiexhi

How much sunlight does a Brain Cactus really need?

Like most cacti, this one likes bright, direct sunlight. With that being said, you shouldn’t leave it in the hot summer sunshine for more than four hours. If you do, your cactus could get scorched!

When growing this cactus indoors, you should put it near the brightest window in your home to ensure it gets enough sunlight. Having some sort of window sill planter will make it look pretty too!

The ideal temperature for Brain Cactus growth

Unfortunately, the Brain Cactus isn’t cold hardy, so you’ll have to bring it inside for the winter. It can’t handle even a light frost, so bring it indoors at the start of fall.

If you don’t quite understand the difference between hardy or soft plants, be sure to take a detour here.

everything to know about the brain cactus
pretty in pink @pottheadluver

Does a Brain Cactus need any fertilization?

Sure thing! You should try fertilizing your Brain Cactus about once a month during its growing season in the spring and summer. A water soluble cactus fertilizer like this one is a great choice.

If you want more options be sure to ask some of our green thumbs in the Succulent City Plant Lounge.

Propagating the Brain Cactus the Right Way

Propagating Mammillaria Elongata ‘Cristata’ is a lot different from propagating other cacti and succulents, in case you’ve read our most popular propagation guide. But because it’s crested, you’ll have to get a little creative with your propagating techniques to preserve its unique shape.

This plant does produce offsets that can be divided and replanted, but we’ve heard that these offsets usually have a normal growth pattern that’s more like the Mammillaria Elongata. You may get lucky, though—normal looking offsets can become crested as they grow, so don’t pluck them off your plant and throw them out. Try and replant them and see if they become crested as they mature!

You can also propagate the Brain Cactus from cuttings, but those cuttings should be grafted onto another cactus for best results. Grafting is kind of like creating a Frankenstein cactus. You cut off the head of one cactus, take a cutting from another, and mush them together to create one brand new cactus!

It sounds weird, but it works! If you put a cutting from your Brain Cactus on top, the new cactus will have the same characteristics and crested shape, which can’t be said for other methods of propagation.

Grafting works best if the two plants you use are closely related genetically. So, if you can get your hands on a Mammillaria Elongata, you should graft your Brain Cactus onto that. If you can’t find a cactus that’s the same species as your Brain Cactus, then just try to use a cactus that’s in the same genus.

everything to know about the brain cactus
outdoor garden @arelys_succulent_shack

Let’s begin

To begin, cut the body of your Mammillaria Elongata with a grafting knife. Make sure that the part of the cactus that’s still in the soil is at least a few inches long. Discard or set aside the top part of the cactus that’s no longer attached—you won’t need it.

Then, take a stem cutting from your Brain Cactus that’s at least one inch long and put it on top of the Mammillaria Elongata.

On the cut side of both of your cacti, you’ll see a ring—at least part of those two rings need to overlap in order for this to work. So when you layer your Brain Cactus cutting on top of the Mammillaria Elongata plant, make sure that they line up.

Grab some rubber bands and use them to hold the two pieces in place. You can wrap the rubber bands around the pot as well to better secure them. In about two months, the pieces will be joined and you’ll be able to remove the rubber bands!

In the meantime, continue to care for the plant just like you would any other cactus. There’s a small risk of infection and a chance that your graft will fail, but it’s a pretty reliable way to create a new cactus if you use species that are closely genetically related.

everything to know about the brain cactus
beautiful brain @cactusky9

Well, that’s everything we know about the Brain Cactus! We hope that this post has given you the confidence you need to grow this awesome little succulent. It’s not hard, we promise!

Is this plant going on your wishlist? Let us know in the comments below!

Loved learning about this succulent and now inspired to add more to your collection?! (We don’t blame you) Check out Succulent City’s new line of ebooks covering topics from, “All the Types of Succulents for Indoor and Outdoor,” “Different Types of Planters,” and many more helpful in-depth ebooks. Head to this link to view our full line of ebooks and get started with our complementary guide. 

Happy planting! ?

9 Most Rare Cacti that are Hard to Find

9 rare cacti

If you’re new to the cacti world and you’re already fascinated by the magnificent saguaro cacti, well, don’t get too excited –that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Cacti are quickly increasing in popularity as the latest house plants décor. And quite rightly so! Their antique and alien looks set them apart and make them seem like living sculptures. And literally anyone can grow them – they require little water, some sun, and probably lots of neglect. Yes, neglect!

No, seriously. That’s just how easy it gets when it comes to growing cacti. See how easy it is to take care of your cacti or succulents here.

Throw in some exotic, rare specimens in the mix and the story becomes more interesting. Their quirky and striking looks adds a tinge of charm to your indoor aesthetics. These rare cacti may require extra effort in taking care of them but every minute spent is totally worth it.

Ready to take them on?

Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii – Rubi Ball

Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii Rubi Ball
Rubi Ball @suzy2510

The Rubi Ball cactus, also known as the red cap cactus or the Hibotan cactus, is a showy and brightly colored cacti variant of the moon cactus. It pairs perfectly with a dark contrasted planter like this modern one from Greenaholics.

Although usually red in color, they can come in different shades such as purple, white, yellow, or even orange.

The stem is globose (fancy word for spherical), colored, and possess rigid ribs which divide it into several segments. The ribs have white markings that hold the brown spines which grow to 1 cm long. The Rubi Ball is a bloomer producing pale pink flowers and gray-green fruits.

The Rubi Ball cactus contains little to no chlorophyll and therefore it must be grafted to another species for survival. The graft is mostly a Hylocereus cactus that makes the bottom green part. This is a parasitic relationship where the top colored Rubi ball depends on the lower Hylocereus cactus for food and even support. What a weird relationship right?

Growing a Rubi Ball is quite straight-forward. They prefer partial shades but won’t mind a few hours in bright, direct sunlight. You’ll want to keep them away from the hottest summer day times as this may injure the delicate flowers. Use a commercial cacti mix that’s well-draining. Be easy on watering. These plants are desert survivors and can go for quite a while without water. Let loose a deluge and only do so again once the soil completely dries out.

Check our article about the best soil for succulents if you need some pointers.


Stenocereus Hollianus Cristata

Stenocereus Hollianus Cristata
Stenocereus Hollianus Cristata @plantasia75

This spiny, exotic cactus is easy to care for and may suit both indoor and outdoor gardeners. Compact and wavy in appearance, this cactus embodies true versatility in the rare cacti space. It can survive anywhere –full sun or partial shade.

The spines which may be white or cinnamon-brown in color minimize water loss and this makes stenecereus a real plant camel. Give it a thorough pouring and allow the soil to dry out completely in between the watering. It loves a well-draining cacti mix so that it doesn’t sit on damp soil for long. Ensure there is good air circulation around it for optimum growth.

Dinosaur Back Plant

Dinosaur Back Plant
Dinosaur Back Plant @justin.carrier

The dinosaur back plant, also known as Myrtillocactus geometrizans cristata, is an interesting plant that’s native to the northern and central parts of Mexico. It can be huge, growing to a height of 5 meters or 16 feet for those that need a bit more perspective. Although these can get very massive, when they’re babies it’s a great aesthetic to have indoors, a pot like this would suit it well!

It has a one-of-a-kind appearance that results from its intertwined tree trunk that’s usually cluster forming. The Dinosaur Back Plant is blue in color and may be tipped with a bold hue. These semi-hardy cacti have a waxy body and would suffer if exposed to anything below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

The dinosaur back plant doesn’t need lots of water. Ensure you’re using a well-draining cacti mix to prevent root rot. Keep it in bright direct sunlight or in filtered sun. This cactus produces creamy blooms and teeny fruits during spring or summer.

Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus

Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus
Rainbow Hedgehog Cactus @agirlwithagarden

Pink and pretty, Echinocereus Rigidissimus Rubrispinus (quite a name!) is a showy cactus that thrives in full sun. It is globose in shape, completely covered with little spines that are pink in color.

Though quite cold hardy, this cactus doesn’t do well when exposed to frost and may succumb to scarring. Use soils with high drainage capacity especially those fortified with perlite. The Rainbow Hedgehog cactus requires little water during winter and none when the humidity levels are sky-high.

Watering a cactus is not an easy task, that’s why you need to know How Often to Water A Cactus!

It produces brilliant pink blooms with a white shade at the center. If you want a beautiful cactus, this is definitely the one!

Emerald Idol— Opuntia Cylindrica Cristata

Emerald Idol Opuntia Cylindrica Cristata
Opuntia Cylindrica Cristata @likeplantlight

A member of the prickly pear family (which actually produce edible fruits— check it out here!), the Emerald Idol is a fascinating rare cactus with an antique appearance. It grows in a curvy form, marked with white ribs that are covered with small spines.

Water only when the soil is bone dry, as this cactus can quickly rot if given too much to drink. This sun lover prefers a brightly lit window sill or indirect sunlight. Use a porous potting mix and set it in a well-ventilated space. Avoid exposing the emerald idol to frost as this may lead to an early grave.

Using a squeeze bottle like this for your mini or baby cacti will allow you to control the watering a lot more too!

Lophocereus Schotti— Totem Pole

Lophocereus Schotti Totem Pole
Totem Pole @succulentsaddicted

The Totem Pole cactus is not your average hostile type of cacti. It sets itself apart from the common cacti landscape by its spineless, smooth and tall physique. Though slow growing, Lophocereus Schotti can grow huge and live for many years.

This rare cactus is native to the Baja California Peninsula and thrives in full sun in its original home. If growing it indoors, place it in a south-facing window for maximum bright sunlight all day long. Here are some tips for growing your succulents indoors.

Propagation is via cuttings as this cactus doesn’t bloom or produce seeds. Avoid feeding it too much water otherwise, it will be plagued by pests and diseases.

Echinopsis cv. ‘Haku-Jo’

Echinopsis cv. Haku-Jo
Echinopsis cv. ‘Haku-Jo’ @spina_di_cacti

Quite a fast grower, the Haku-Jo cactus is a Japanese cultivar believed to be a chimera – a fancy word alluding to the fact that it may be having genes of different species. It is dainty and globose in shape having wooly areoles embedded with sharp, brown spines growing in clusters.

This plant is hard to get to a flowering phase but when it does, it produces lightly-scented white flowers that resemble trumpets. Caring for the Haku-jo is easy –set them out in full sun during summer and ensure they don’t get wet during winter.

Orange Cob— Lobivia Famatimensis Cristata

Orange Cob Lobivia Famatimensis Cristata
Lobivia Famatimensis Cristata @succume_right_meow

Squat and tightly forming, the Orange Cob cactus is a spring or summer bloomer giving forth gigantic flowers that may be red, orange, or pink in color.

Its body is covered with a dense network of dark orange spines. This cactus may easily rot on you and prefers being kept dry during winter. It doesn’t mind some frost and so it might make an awesome addition to your outdoor collection. Just ensure you plant it in well-draining soils.

Opuntia Subulata – Eve’s Needle

Opuntia Subulata Eve’s Needle
Opuntia Subulata @ckristufek

This popular shrubby cactus is tall growing and may reach a height of 60 cm. Thought to be a native of the Andes of Peru, the Eve’s Needle does well in lots of sunlight. Just like any other cactus, it is water-saving and therefore requires little water for survival.

If you’re looking for some pop and color, the Eve’s Needle may not be your best fit as it takes a long time to bloom. However, when it does, the flowers are red with reddish fruits just beneath. If you want color, Hens and Chicks are not a good choice!

Be sure to protect this plant from frost— but that doesn’t mean that you can’t grow it outdoors.

There you have it… 9 rare cacti! Are you going to go hunt for them?

Join our exclusive Facebook group, Succulent City Plant Lounge, and let us know if you ever capture any of these 9 rare cacti.

Did you enjoy learning about 9 Rare Cacti that are Hard to Find? If so, you’ll really enjoy the ebook about Rare Succulents You Wish You Knew About. With this ebook you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll 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.

Happy planting!

What Adaptations Does a Cactus Plant Have?

What Adaptations does a Cactus Have

Out there in the wild, cacti plants have braced the desert conditions for many years. But I’m sure you know that, right? If not, don’t worry, you will today!

Extreme temperatures. Little rainfall. Odd climate patterns.

Cacti plants know best how to maneuver around them. They relish in them. If it’s any plant that is capable of adapting to their environment, the cactus plant is just that.

So, how are they able to do this? How have they been able to put in places known to be a death sentence for most plants? What makes cactus plants different?

Obviously they’ve been able to develop specialized features but what are they?

They’re not like the average plant growing in places where water is an everyday thing. They’ve adapted to especially take advantage of the little rainfall in their natural habitat.

Continue reading about these adaptations below and let us know what you think, some of them you might already know but there’s others than are quite cool!

cactus adaptations
stand tall @suculentasdomat

Leaves are Reduced to Spines on a Cactus

Spines are one of the most notable features in cactuses.

Instead of having leaves, the stems are covered in a number of these prickly structures. You know, the spiky little fellas that they have, ouch! They guard against desert herbivores but that’s not important for now. (Maybe a future article, let us know!)

Here’s how cacti plants are adapted to saving water by having spines. It’s quite interesting…

  • The white spines are made up of dead cells at a mature age. This means they don’t take up water as it would have been the case if they were alive. Just one less part for the plant to worry about right?
  • They trap air around the plant. This air provides a thin cover over the plant preventing water loss by evaporation and transpiration.
  • The spines, with their numerous number, add up to provide a considerable amount of shade for the plant. Such an adaptation lowers the temperature of the cactus surface which further reduces water loss.
  • In instances of fog/mist, the spines condense it into water droplets that fall off to the base of the plant where they are absorbed immediately – courtesy of the nature of the roots as you’ll see below.

To ensure you know how to properly handle the thorns on a cactus, check out this article here.

cactus adaptations
mammillaria hidalgensis @toms_cacti_collection

Cactus have a Highly Specialized Root System

Cacti roots differ from those of other plants in a number of ways and these are in themselves adaptations to better survive the desert terrain.

  • They’re shallow and widespread to take advantage of any light rains in the desert. That means they can absorb quite an amount of water within the shortest time.
  • They can grow new tiny roots very fast when it rains. These contribute to the more rapid absorption of water. The roots also dry up quickly so they don’t turn out to be another burden for the plant.
  • The root cells have a very high concentration of salts. An essential adaptation that translates to a higher water absorption rate.

In some specific cacti species, the roots are also used as water storage organs. In this case, the species will have a taproot larger than itself for this sole purpose.

cactus adaptations
cacti collection @aiverpatsiv

The Stem of a Cactus is Well-Equipped to Store Water

For a majority of cacti species, the stems are the main water storage organs. And, the species have particular adaptations, not just to store but also to retain the water. Have a look at them:

Stem Shapes

Cacti species have varied shapes that contribute immensely to water storage and retention capabilities. Cylindrical and spherical shapes are adapted to bring about a low surface area to volume ratio which reduces water loss to the atmosphere. These shapes also reduce the heating effects of the sun.

In other words, cactus plants have lower than average evaporation rates.

cactus adaptations
hang on tight @maddymadepottery


Particular cacti have specific features on their stems. For instance, the ribs and flutes on a species, like the rounded ball cactus stem, enable it to easily shrink during the prolonged desert droughts and expand when it rains.

Shrinking is an adaptation that ensures there is just a small surface area hence reducing water loss.

Expanding gives the stem enough room to take up as much water as possible.

cactus adaptations
two cacti @firplants

Wax on Cacti

The stems and spines of any cactus plant have a layer of thick wax. The functionality behind this is so that cacti can stop any water loss as much as possible.

With the thick layer of wax mixed with the ability to shrink and expand, the wax serves as a multifunctional purpose. It helps the cacti retain as much water in as possible without allowing the sun, or the idea of evaporation, to affect cacti as much as it would with your average plant.


cactus adaptations
potted cactus @cactus_santaana

Short Growing Seasons and Long Periods of Dormancy

Cacti grow only during the short rainy seasons and stay dormant for the long dry months of the desert.

This adaptation ensures water efficiency as the stored water is only used in very vital processes such as photosynthesis. The development of new cells and tissues (water-intensive) is confined to periods of rain when water is aplenty.

cactus garden @theprettylifeless

Night Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis occurs in the leaves during the day for most plant species. But not for a good deal for cacti.

This vital process is carried out in the stems (as the cacti are devoid of leaves) at night. Such an adaptation ensures the plant loses very little water as its stomata are only open at this time when temperatures are at the minimum.

Water is a valuable commodity to lots of organisms but its value increases probably hundreds of times in a desert setting. Every drop counts. Cacti get this all very well. So they try to keep as much of it as it’s possible through an array of adaptations.

And that’s how they’ve been able to thrive in the deserts for years.

cactus adaptations
mini wheel barrow @oberryssucculents

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Happy planting!