How To Care For Dog Tail Cactus

Your Dog Tail Cactus will enjoy full sun indoors or dappled, partial sun outdoors, like most cacti do. They require more water than the typical cactus, as well as heat, humidity, a fast-draining soil or potting mix.

Is a Dog Tail a succulent and cactus?

The Dog Tail Cactus is a natural cactus to South America’s tropical regions. Pitaya De Tortuga is an alternative name for it. Typically, in its natural habitat, this plant grows on trees (i.e. it is epiphytic just like air plants). It is a perennial cactus that succulent hobbyists adore because it can withstand drought.

The Dog Tail plant is widespread in residences. It can be cultivated in your succulent garden. It is unique in that its trailing stems make it look particularly lovely in hanging baskets.

Identifying Dog Tail Cactus

The Dog Tail Cactus is relatively simple to identify. Here are a few distinguishing qualities:

  • Dog stems The stems of tail cactus plants are lengthy. A mature plant’s stem can reach a height of over 100 inches. Because the stems are too light and fragile to grow erect, they trail. As they mature, they get wider.
  • Spines: The brown, pointed stalks of Dog Tail cactus are all over them. If the plant is not planted carefully, the spines could cause injury to people.
  • Flowers: The white or pink flowers on the dog-tail cactus resemble orchids. These flowers bloom at night and have a lovely aroma. If you give your plant the attention it needs, it will bloom from March to July. Five days are spent in each bloom.

Strophocactus testudo should be grown indoors. Learn how to cultivate and take care of the cactus by reading on.

Why is the cactus on my dog tail soft?

The Dog Tail cactus demands particular care and nurturing even though it belongs to a hardy family of cacti. It is necessary to create a well-drained soil mixture with equal quantities of sand, perlite, and gravel and natural organic matter. Low humidity and temperatures between 39F and 80F (4-27C) are ideal for the Dog Tail cactus (50 percent is the absolute max). Oh, and keep in mind not to overwater the plant as you can unintentionally cause it to wilt. There is no issue here because these epiphytic plants obtain the majority of their nutrients directly from the air.


Two parts of either sand, fine gravel, or perlite and one part of organic matter from nature make up the optimum soil mixture for a hanging basket.

Since you want to prevent any excessive moisture buildup in your plant, this is essential necessary. You can’t take that chance either because if water begins to pool close to the plant’s base, the roots will start to rot.

In particular, I mix two parts of one of sand, perlite, or fine gravel with one part of organic matter; this mixture dries very quickly and is therefore perfect for the plant.

Add a few stones or grains of sand to the top so that water does not pool there.

The Dog Tail Cactus may grow in either neutral or slightly acidic soil, with a preferred pH range of 3.5 to 4.4. (6.6- 7.3).


The Dog Tail Cactus develops best in well-lit environments, therefore a significant portion of the care you need to give is focused on providing the right lighting.

The spines become shorter and more pointy to the touch if adequate light is provided; otherwise, they droop to a softer form and take on the appearance of hair.

Why is the yellowing of my dog tail cactus?

There are more possibilities besides rot and overwatering for why the cactus feels soft. It may occasionally be a sign of the plant being severely dehydrated. Because they can store water, cacti and succulents can endure prolonged periods of drought. This does not imply that they do not require any water, either.

Water is a must for cactus plants, especially during the summer when it’s scorching. If they go too long without water, their water reserves start to run out. You can notice them softening at this point.

The plant may also turn yellow if it is very dry or lacks water. The plant will typically also look withered or wrinkled. Give your plant a good soaking when this occurs, and it should recover in a day or two.

The severity of the damage to the plant increases when there is bottom-up yellowing and the plant feels mushy and soft. The plant’s roots are starting to decay. The most frequent causes of this include excessive watering, exposure to extremely high or low temperatures, or any combination of the aforementioned.

How much light is required for a rat tail cactus?

If you pick the correct place and keep an eye on the temperature of its surroundings throughout the year, the rat tail cactus is rather simple to maintain. Following are some steps you may do to give your rat tail cactus adequate care:

  • 1. Pick the appropriate pot. In order to enable the long stems to grow freely and fall freely as they mature, owners frequently hang the cactus in a basket. If you’re seeking to enhance the aesthetic attractiveness of a space or a particular area of your garden, this arrangement also draws attention to the plant’s sagging columns.
  • 2. Good fertilization During the growing season, you can administer a half-strength dose of liquid fertilizer every two months to encourage the growth of your cactus. A rat tail’s usual growing season is from early spring to mid-summer.
  • 3. Reproduce sporadically. Under ideal circumstances, rat tail shoots can grow up to one foot every year. Cut the stems of your plant if it becomes too long to create new plants. Take a portion of the stem and simply chop it off, letting it air dry for a few days. Replant the stem cuttings in a pot with cactus soil or other well-draining soil after that.
  • 4. Offer full sunlight. You can try to place your plant in full sunshine to replicate these arid desert conditions since rat tail cactus are native to USDA Hardiness Zone 911. A window location is a fantastic choice for placement because it may give your cactus the usual room temperatures and direct sunshine it needs to thrive. Because each stem of your hanging cactus has multiple spines that can prick passersby, be cautious about placing it in a busy area.
  • 5. Address issues right away. Extremely resilient plants that can thrive in arid environments and establish roots in the cracks of cliffs and trees include rat tail cacti. However, problems can develop inside the home, like root rot and spider mites, which can swiftly destroy a cactus. Therefore, even if mature plants usually become brown, keep an eye out for signs of pest infestation or overwatering. Repotting the cactus in a new container with fresh potting soil will help you save the plant once the first symptoms of root rot start to show.
  • 6. Use suitable soil. These succulent plants can be placed in a pot that has been lined with sphagnum moss and then filled with potting soil or another potting mix.
  • 7. Drink enough water. Most of the year, these cacti benefit from regular irrigation. To simulate the natural rest period the plant would experience in nature during the winter, you can move the plant to a cooler part of your house and water less frequently.

A dog tail cactus needs how much water?

That may lead you to believe that a dog-tail cactus prefers a warm, even heated environment. It does, too. But despite being one of the toughest cactus species, it is remarkably tough, surviving in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 90. Dog-tail cactus simply cannot withstand frost, like other cacti do.

You should be well on your way to becoming more than just a freshly minted cactus lover if you keep your dog-tail cactus in full to partial sun for at least four hours each day, water it once a week or when the soil dries out, and spoil it with a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous fertilizer twice a year. You’ll also become a cactus convert.

What distinguishes a rat tail cactus from a dog tail cactus?

You now understand the basic distinctions between the dog tail and rat tail cacti, as well as how to grow and take care of each. Why don’t we go over a few important issues again?

  • Dog tail cacti are epiphytes, meaning they may grow on both the ground and larger trees and plants. The rat tail cactus can grow on rocks and boulders, making it both an epiphyte and a lithophyte.
  • The dog tail cactus can reach a height of around 10 feet and blooms in the summer with nocturnal white flowers.
  • Rat tail cacti can reach heights of 6 to 9 feet. It produces primarily violet-red, extremely fleeting blooms.
  • The partial bright light conditions are ideal for the dog tail cactus’ growth. Additionally, it requires more watering than other common succulents. Give this plant at least one weekly watering.
  • The rat tail cactus can withstand drought and only needs watering once a month in the summer. You can completely forgo watering it during the winter.
  • For both succulents, make sure the potting soil is loose and well-draining.
  • Comparatively speaking, the dog tail cactus needs more humidity than the rat tail cactus.
  • Both of these cacti can be multiplied by removing a portion of their stems, allowing them to dry for a week, and then planting them in suitable soil.

So why are you still waiting? We advise you to go out and get both of these lovely plants as deserving additions to the succulent collection in your house.

The dog tail cactus flowers.

A fascinating and unusual houseplant, dog tail cactus has cylinder leaves that are covered in clusters of tiny spines. The result is appealing and distinctive. Dog tail cactus makes a good choice for hanging baskets in front of a bright window since it trails as it grows. Use it to make the pot appear to be flowing with water!

Dog Tail Cactus Growing Instructions

In a light area, cultivate dog tail cactus. It produces lovely pink blossoms with an exotic, orchid-like appearance when given enough light.

Because this unusual houseplant is a variety of cactus, water it when the soil becomes dry. If you water your dog tail cactus too much, it will decay.

How should a trailing succulent be cared for?

Watering is the main challenge that novice succulent growers encounter while trying to keep their plants alive indoors. So much so that I’ve written a whole ebook and an entire post about watering succulents. You can read the two together here.

It’s significant! Surprisingly, succulents require a lot of water to survive. They require less watering than the majority of indoor plants do, though.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that succulents seldom ever require water, though. So, here’s the situation…

Succulents enjoy having their roots well wet, but they also dry out quickly. The soil was then irrigated once more after drying up for a few days.

Succulents can be kept alive temporarily by being lightly sprayed with water, but if you want them to thrive, you need to use the “soak and dry method.”

Additionally, be aware that during their dormant stage, succulents don’t require as much water. This typically occurs during the colder months of the year. They require less water because they aren’t actively growing.

People who think their succulents are dying because the leaves are drooping and shriveling up frequently email me. Here’s a little secret: Succulent lower leaves will eventually shrivel up and die, just like all other plants.

Only if the topmost or most recent leaves on your succulent are shriveling should you be concerned about dying leaves. You shouldn’t be concerned if it only affects the stems that are closest to the soil at the bottom.

Can a yellow cactus revert to greenery?

The soft yellow sections of the cactus do not turn green again if root rot is the cause of the yellowing, and they should be removed to stop the rot from spreading throughout the entire plant.

The cactus does not turn green again if it has been turned yellow by sunburn. Keep the cactus out of direct sunlight and produce a new green cactus from any offshoots, pads, or cuttings that are still healthy.

The cactus should turn green again if it has been yellow and wrinkled as a result of submersion. Make sure the soil is evenly moistened by giving the cactus plenty of water. This aids in replenishing the cacti’s moisture stores and transforming their previously yellow appearance into one that is healthy and green.

How can you determine if a cactus has been overwatered or not?

The cactus won’t typically seem radically different from day to day because underwatering typically happens gradually over time.

There are a few indicators, nevertheless, that will let you know if your cactus is submerged.

Signs of an Underwatered Cactus

Knowing the warning signals of an underwatered cactus is crucial for prompt response. Your cactus will have a better chance of recovering if you do this.

The most typical warning indicators of a submerged cactus include:

The Cactus Is Light Green or Yellowish

Since this normally happens gradually over time, the color change might not be apparent right away.

If your cactus begin to become light green or yellowish, keep an eye out for more symptoms of an underwatered plant.

The Spines Are Falling off Easily

A well-watered cactus has roots that go far into the ground and take in water there.

Their root systems do not, however, work correctly while they are underwater because the dearth of nutrients in the soil leads them to wither away.

As a result, the spines become fragile and easily detach.

another typical indicator of a submerged cactus

The Cactus Is Wilting

Due to nutrient deficiency, their spines cannot support the plant adequately, which causes them to lose their shape.

As a result, plants that were formerly upright and in good shape gradually start to sag or droop.

Decay at the Base of the Plant

Roots will cease developing and begin to deteriorate over time if they are unable to absorb enough nutrients from the soil as a result of a lack of water, which will eventually result in decay at the base of the plant.

It’s possible that you won’t immediately notice whether or not your cacti are underwater because this normally happens gradually.

The New Growth on Your Cacti Is Weak and off Center With Older Growth

Lack of nutrients will have an impact on how a cactus develops new limbs.

In this instance, you’ll see that the younger growth is somewhat deformed and less symmetrical than the older ones-another indication that the cactus has been submerged.