The 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.

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.

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.

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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! 🌵

Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it

You love succulents. Of course, that’s why you bought them. Also, you are happy since you can plant them anywhere, from paving stones, flowerbeds, containers, and nooks. But after a while, you begin noticing some changes. The succulents are not as green and healthy as before. Instead, they look stretched, thin, pale, leggy, and weak.

The results, they stop being attractive. Then you become stressed, you even develop panic attacks, since you are attached to them. But don’t worry as this problem is usual. The best part is, you can rectify this mistake and let get your succulents, healthy and fleshy as before. This article covers the reasons why succulents grow tall and how you can solve this issue, Read on to get the insights.

The following are some of the reasons your succulents are way out of line!

Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it
Attractive Succulents @aubreys_plants

Succulent’s Nature

It’s hard to fight nature. Succulents come in different sizes and shapes. Mostly Indoors, succulents grow horizontally, and at a slower rate. Most will grow naturally, but there are exceptions. Instead, they would grow at a faster pace. These kinds of succulents need some cutting to ensure that they fit in the space which you have provided.

You can always buy another type of succulent if you are not satisfied with the ones you have.

The Lack of Sunlight

Yes, your succulents don’t get enough sunlight or grow under, hence they cannot perform photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants make their food. They use light energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water. They later convert this into plant energy which they use in their growth, flowering, reproduction and development of new roots and leaves.

When they lack sunlight, they wouldn’t be able to photosynthesize, thus resulting in smaller and lighter succulents than the average size.

Signs that Your Succulents Don’t Have Enough Sunlight

When you notice that your succulent is growing toward a particular direction, then it’s seeking the light. This process is known as etiolation. Just like animals, plants also move. Not literally, like walking, or crawling, or even flying. But they move. Though not evident, this gesture signifies a plant is seeking comfort. In this case, succulents craving for sunlight. Check out “My Succulents are Etiolated, what can I do?” for more info on etiolation.

Also, you will notice that the succulent starts leaving spaces between the leaves. Unfortunately, plants that don’t receive sunlight are prone to wither and die quickly.

The discoloring of leaves- instead of their usual green color, they start turning pale.

ALSO READ:

Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it
Care About Your Succulents @succulentsssss

How to Control Your Succulents from Growing Tall

Grow Your Succulents Where they Can Access Sunlight

Succulents look better when they get adequate sunlight. When you’ve noticed the plants start growing towards a specific direction, then move them to that side so that they receive the light they need. You can relocate the plant near the window, that’s prone to the most sunlight.

Alternatively, you can take them outside for a few hours each day. This ensures that the plants get enough sunlight, or use can use grow light, and let it act as a supplement. Be sure to also check out “Are Grow Lights Bad for My Succulents” to see which lights won’t damage your succulents.

Time to Propagate

Propagating your succulent is a scary shirt. At first, you will think you are hurting the plant, but in the real sense, you are helping it. Don’t feel guilty. You are only offering the plant new beginnings. Soon, it will have thick stems, dense leaves, and intensely color succulents.

Trimming

For the plant to remain in perfect shape and size, the first step is pruning. This will not only ensure it‘s desirable, but also attractive. You need a sharp scissor before cutting the flowers, stems, and foliage when they elongate. The best part is, you can grow the cuttings, meaning, more healthy succulent for you. Take a look at “How To Prune Succulents” for a full guide on trimming your succulents at home.

Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it
Trimming Your Succulents @eemmalynn

Plant the Cuttings

First, you need to dry the cuttings for a few days, before embarking on planting them. This gives the succulents enough time to lose moisture and develop pink roots. Then, remove the layer of the topsoil in the container you planted the succulent before. Also, you can buy a formulated mix of succulents and cactus. Get a loose mix, to ensure that water drains out. After all, you don’t want the plant to rot.

Although not necessary, you can use coir, as it’s environmentally friendly, with a neutral PH. Actually, it increases the rate at which succulents hold nutrients and also improves aeration. You can use compost since they enhance soil nutrients resulting in strong, healthy roots and stronger plants.

Interested in giving your succulent the best possible living conditions in your garden? Check out “How to Make Your own Succulent Soil at Home” to have the best soil mix for your plant.

Lastly

Arrange the cuttings before planting. Place the bigger cuttings at the edge of the pot. Leave for least three days, before you start watering. Later water once a week and you can adjust according to your conditions. You can apply fertilizer if you want

Cuttings start to produce roots in a couple of days or a period of 2 to 3 weeks. You don’t want all your efforts to be futile after the planting process. The least, you can do is ensure the plant gets adequate light. When the new shoots start sprouting, place them in a place where they get enough indirect sunlight than before. Or, you can use the grow light, to assist you in the process.

Why Succulents Grow Tall and What to Do About it
Tools for Care @succulentcarekit

Fixing, those long and elongated succulents is possible. As much as the process can be robust, the results are incredible. Thank you for reading! Let us know in the comments below your techniques to control the growth of your succulent. We’d love to add new techniques to our arsenal!

If you liked 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! 🌵

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