How To Propagate Moon Cactus

In a procedure that involves cutting off the top of the rootstock cactus and the bottom of the Hibotan, the moon cactus is typically sold already grafted. The sliced edges of the two sections are secured together, and they soon heal together. Re-grafting the moon cactus onto a new rootstock will increase its lifespan.

Additionally, it can be grown from seed, although it will take at least a year to produce a usable specimen. Sprinkle some fine sand on top of the seeds after scattering them over a dry succulent mixture. For germination, moisten the flat and move it to a warm area. Replant the seedlings in groups for the best results once they are big enough to be taken out.

Removing the offsets, which are tiny replicas of the parent plant growing from the rootstock, is the more typical way to propagate moon cacti. In cactus potting soil, these easily divide and take root.

How long do moon cactus live?

Moon cactus are short-lived because they are grafted. Your moon cactus should survive for a few years, possibly longer. However, eventually the two grafted plants will start to separate or split, and at that time the moon cactus will perish unless it is grafted onto a new foundation.

How often do you water a moon cactus?

Since moon cacti are indigenous to dry desert areas, they don’t require a lot of watering. It is preferable to fully water them, let them dry completely, and then wait a little while before watering them once more. This mimics the rare downpours that occur in their natural habitat. They usually only require watering once or twice a month as houseplants, and even less in the winter. The most frequent cause of death for moon cactus houseplants is overwatering.

What do I do with moon cactus pups?

Your moon cactus may start to develop tiny bumps or colored balls on the side that resemble miniature replicas of the plant. These are puppies or babies, not blossoms.

The moon cactus puppies can be propagated, but keep in mind that they won’t be able to survive without being grafted to a host cactus until they have some green or a darker spot on them. If you prefer the way your Moon cactus looks without them, you can either leave them in place or remove them.

Hylocerus undatus or Myrtillocactus geometrizans are typical stock cacti if you wish to try grafting them. In essence, you simply slice a little portion off the bottom of the Moon cactus baby and a slice from the top of the stock cactus, set them together with the sliced regions touching, then tie them together with twine for about a week or two until they bond.

Your moon cactus pup could be able to survive on its own without a graft host if it is a dark-colored type (occasionally dark purple, burgundy, or almost brown looking), or if it has any green on it. To determine if the pup will develop roots, you can pluck it off and place it on top of cactus soil.

Why is my moon cactus growing arms?

The bottom stock cactus will occasionally branch, sending up side shoots that resemble arms. There is no reason not to leave them if you like them, even if you might notice that they begin to grow more quicker than the rest of the plant and may eventually dominate it.

Using a pair of tidy, razor-sharp pruning shears or scissors, you may also clip the side growth. The cut will heal without any issues, and if you’d like, you may plant the cutting in a different container where it will establish roots and grow into a brand-new plant (without the moon cactus on top, of course).

How do you keep a moon cactus alive?

A moon cactus requires little maintenance to be healthy. Overwatering or when they split from their root stock kill the majority of moon cacti. Simply give your cactus some strong indirect light and water it every few weeks once the soil has dried up fully to keep it alive.

Why is my moon cactus dying?

Usually, grafted moon cacti only live for one or two years. This is due to the fact that the moon cactus depends on the graft with its host cactus (the green “stem”), and it will perish if that begins to split or separate.

Overwatering is another common cause of moon cacti death, and you can see it if the green base starts to become brown or mushy.

Why is the moon cactus top turning brown?

When a cactus turns brown, it usually means that it has been overwatered (especially if the brown areas feel mushy or squishy to the touch). However, if the plant has gone for several months without water, it may also mean that it has been underwatered.

It may have been scorched by too much direct sunlight or a grow lamp that was too close if the top of your moon cactus is becoming brown. Moon cactus only require indirect light; direct sunlight can cause them to burn or fade. Simply relocate your plant to a location with less sunlight if this is the case. The brown top won’t go away, but perhaps the healthy tissue that is still there will live and develop.

Is the moon cactus graftable to any cactus?

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, a particular species of cactus, is indigenous to the deserts of South America, including Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. This succulent plant, which belongs to the Cactaceae family, is also known as the ruby ball cactus, star flowered cactus, and red cap. The moon cactus features clusters of tiny, sharp spines and grows to a mature width of one to two inches.

Moon cactus are frequently mutant houseplants that lack chlorophyll, which accounts for their vibrant colors, which range from hot pink to bright yellow. They are unable to survive without chlorophyll, thus they must be grafted onto a cactus rootstock. The moon cactus is most frequently coupled with Hylocereus undatus (dragon fruit), however Cereus peruvianus and Trichocereus spachianus are also frequently used.

Can you remove the moon cactus’s top?

Hibotan cactus is another name for the moon cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii). It is actually a cactus that has been grafted from two separate species.

Grafting is the process of fusing the tissues of two different plant species so that they can develop together.

Because it lacks chlorophyll, the top portion of the moon cactus (the vibrantly colored ball) is unable to make its own food.

The top part is unable to create enough food on its own to support itself. It survives and thrives by using the lower cactus’ capacity for food production.

What is the top cactus (scion)?

Gymnocalycium mihanovicii friedrichii, sometimes known as a chin cactus, is the cactus on top.

The ball cactus on top is referred to as the scion when people or businesses are making these cacti.

What is the bottom cactus (rootstock)?

The cactus at the bottom is a Hylocereus undatus, sometimes known as a pitahaya or dragon fruit.

The bottom cactus is referred to as the rootstock supporting the scion while moon cacti are being created.

Why is this cactus not destined to survive long?

Because the scion acts as a parasite on the rootstock, the moon cactus cannot endure for very long.

The rootstock is unable to continuously support the scion and itself through food production.

When a result, as the rootstock tries to maintain both of them over time, it gradually becomes weaker from lack of nutrition and eventually dies, which results in the death of both cacti.

How long will moon cactus live?

Because we don’t know how long they were alive before we bought them, it’s difficult to provide an answer. Before a person’s health begins to deteriorate and eventually leads to death, it seems typical for them to have moon cactus for anywhere between 1.5 and 3 years.

Deaths from overwatering and/or lack of light typically occur more quickly than this, which may help you figure out what is ailing your cactus.

Can you root cactus cuttings in water?

Cacti are known for their capacity to endure in extremely dry conditions, such as deserts. However, these robust plants are frequently kept indoors as houseplants. You could try to root your own cacti if you already have a few and desire more without paying any money.

Can cacti grow roots in water? A form of succulent called a cactus can take root in either water or soil. While many cacti will also root in water, other kinds will root better in dirt. You can attempt growing extra plants without having to buy them if you try roots your cactus in water.

There is no assurance that any cactus will thrive in water or soil; occasionally, the conditions are simply not right for the plant. The good news is that roots your cactus in water is simple to do and has a strong probability of working.

How long do moon cacti with grafts live?

A grafted cactus with a brightly colored ball-shaped top is called a moon cactus. These vibrant cacti have gained popularity as compact, low-maintenance houseplants. Typically, the cactus top is an intense shade of red, yellow, pink, or orange. This patterned top has the look of a vibrant cactus blossom. Some of these vibrant cactus plants have tops that are multicolored or variegated, but every one of them has a cluster of tiny, prickly spines that runs along the curved veins.

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, also known as the moon cactus, goes by the names Hibotan cactus, ruby ball cactus, and star flowered cactus. A grafted combination of two cacti is known as a moon cactus. The green lower cactus might be any type of cactus, while the bright Gymnocalycium mihanovichii cactus at the top is a common cactus. The cactus ball typically ranges in size from 1 to 2 (2.55 cm) and has noticeable ribs on it.

Put the moon cactus in a warm, sunny location to take care of it. The pot needs to have drainage holes and a quick-draining cactus mixture within. Only water the plant thoroughly when the potting soil is completely dry. To cultivate a robust, eye-catching cactus, fertilize regularly in the spring and summer.

Aerated, sandy soil with good water drainage is the best soil for moon cactus plants. A potting mixture can also be transformed into suitable cactus soil by adding pebbles or tiny stones. Like the majority of succulent species, cacti demand an acidic to neutral potting soil.

The ruby ball cactus and other cacti grow slowly, at a rate of between 0.4 to 1.1 (13 cm) each year. Moon cactus plants are typically sold almost fully developed.

Ten to 200 years are the lifespan of cactus plants. Outside-growing cacti often live longer than interior-growing cacti, but with the right care, your indoor moon cactus plant can flourish for many years.

The moon cactus has a shorter lifespan than the majority of cacti. These grafted cactus often only survive for a few years. Because the rootstock has outgrown the top of the plant, they live shorter lives. You must re-graft the vibrant ball cactus onto the rootstock to increase their lives. You can learn how to take care of your moon cactus by re-grafting it towards the end of this post.

What kind of rootstock does moon cactus use?

This sweet “A mutant cactus is actually a cross between a rootstock cactus like Hylocereus and a cactus known as Gymnocalycium (the sicon). the word “Typically, the terms “moon cactus” and “orange moon cactus” are used interchangeably, while red forms can also be included.

How frequently do moon cacti need to be watered?

Moon cacti aren’t the thirstiest of plants and don’t require a lot of watering, like the majority of cacti and succulents. According to Baldwin, you should only water them every two weeks or so, letting the soil dry out in between.

Your moon cactus may require even less watering over the winter, especially if it is older than a year. You can detect when your young one is thirsty if you follow the instructions in our scrumptious watering guide.

Your moon cactus should be in a pot with drainage holes, as with all plants, to avoid moisture buildup and root rot.


Moon cacti only require watering every two weeks (maybe even less in the winter), and the soil should totally dry out in between applications.

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What size can a moon cactus reach?

  • These species’ most prevalent cultivars are various mutant variants. To create unique specimens, growers frequently graft these cacti onto different cacti.
  • These cacti can have red, yellow, or orange coloring, but they are unable to synthesize chlorophyll.
  • Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii is the colorful portion (the scion) of the Moon cactus, although any species of cacti can serve as the lower host, albeit Hylocereus cacti are most frequently used.
  • Although many people mistake Moon cacti’s top layer for their blooms, if you are persistent enough, they can blossom. Their blooms are incredibly lovely and come in various colors of pink.
  • Moon Cacti can grow to a variety of heights depending on the rootstock, but they typically stop growing after they reach about 4 inches (10 cm). The Moon cactus has a diameter of 1.1 to 1.9 inches (3-5 cm).
  • They typically have 8 to 14 ribs with narrow margins and a tiny notch. They have weak, flexible, somewhat bent, and yellowish-grey thorns, usually 5–6 in number.
  • They can be combined with the Schlumbergera species, sometimes known as the Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter cactus, as both have comparable environmental requirements.