It may surprise you, but cacti make good house plants. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you should be able to grow the Monkey Tail Cactus.
This cactus doesn’t like to grow tall like other cacti. Instead, the Monkey Tail Cactus likes to droop, which makes it perfect for hanging planters.
Monkey Tail Cactus Care Guide Overview
- How To Plant (when & where)
- How To Grow (staking, watering, fertilizing, humidity, mulching)
- How To Pot And Repot
- How To Propagate (when & how)
- And Pests and Diseases, Plant Species, Companions, Toxicity
- Scientific name: Cleistocactus Winteri Subsp
- Common names: Monkey Tail Cactus
- Origin: Bolivia
- Indoor or Outdoor plant: Can be both
- Height and Structure: It will grow tall until it reaches about 12 to 18 inches. The soft limbs will then droop over the pot.
- Temperature: Can tolerate tropical climates and below freezing temperatures
- Flower Color: Red
How To Plant A Monkey Tail Cactus
These plants are perfect both inside and outside. They don’t need a lot of maintenance. In fact, if you don’t overwater it and make sure it gets enough sun, it should thrive.
The best time to plant is during the spring and summer. Whether you are planting seeds or repotting a plant, doing it during this time ensures that it has enough time to root before it gets cold.
The amount of spacing needed depends on where you are planting the Cactus Tail. You can place this plant indoors or outdoors. If you want to plant it in a pot, the pot needs to be big enough to handle it. If it’s a small pot, then one plant per pot is ideal. But if it’s big enough for more than one, make sure there are at least 18 inches between each plant. This plant likes to spread out, so putting one per pot may be best.
If you are planting the Cactus Tail in the ground, make sure to keep at least a foot between the plants.
The Monkey Tail Cactus can handle strong sunlight. If you are putting it outdoors, pick a sunny area. It needs anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of direct sunlight. Depending on your environment, you may want to keep the plant indoors so you can control the environment. If there is a lot of rainfall in the summer or chances of frost, it is best to move the plant inside.
The Monkey Tail Cactus is supposed to be light green, and the lighter the green of a cactus, the more sun it needs.
The soil is just there to support the plant. Monkey Tail Cacti draws moisture and nutrients from the air, so it doesn’t need to get it from the soil. The soil is mostly just there to protect the roots and secure the plant in a pot. That being said, the soil needs to be acidic or almost neutral, with a PH balance of 5.5 to 6.5. You can use a cactus soil mix that drains well. Just make sure that it covers the roots completely. The roots should never be exposed because temperature changes can damage them.
How To Grow A Monkey Tail Cactus
Because of the stems, the Monkey tail needs room to spread out. Instead of growing up, it likes to spread out and droop.
It doesn’t need a lot of care and can be grown easily.
When it comes to watering the Monkey Tail Cactus, you need to remember one thing; it doesn’t like to sit in water. The roots like water, but not too much or too little. You will want to let the soil dry out completely before drenching it in water. Try to only get water on the soil and near the roots. If you don’t drench the soil, the roots will rise to the top searching for water, putting the roots in danger.
During the winter months, water less. The cactus likes to store water. If there is a lot of water on it during a frost, the plant cells may become damaged. When winter is over, water more frequently.
The Monkey Tail Cactus does not need a lot of fertilizer. It needs to be fertilized once during spring, summer, and fall. The fertilizer should be slow release. The best type of fertilizer will have nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium at a 5:6:5 ratio. Phosphorus helps the plant develop more flowers, and potassium helps with developing strong stems.
With the Monkey Tail, it is important to get the watering, humidity, and lighting right. This plant likes living in high humid areas, especially in the summer when it uses the moisture to grow. But in the winter, extra moisture can cause the plant cells to decay. If a room has poor circulation and there is too much humidity, it can cause mold to grow on the plant.
You don’t need mulch, but it will help. Mulch will help protect the roots from extreme temperatures. You can use bark, vermiculite, or another organic substance that won’t change the PH balance of the soil.
Pot And Repotting
To pot the plant, pick the right size pot, add the dry soil mix and plant the plant a centimeter deep in the soil. Make sure the roots are covered completely.
You will want to repot the Monkey Tail every three years. You don’t need to put it in a new pot if it hasn’t outgrown it. Make sure the soil is dry before you do anything. The best time to repot is in the spring because it will give the plant time to root before winter.
The best and easiest way to grow a Monkey Tail is to cut off the end of a tail. You cut it off, let it dry and then plant it a centimeter deep in dry soil. It can take at least a month for roots to grow. The part of the tail that was cut off will grow what will look like little fingers. You can also twist these fingers off and plant them into dry soil.
Pests And Diseases
Most of the problems a Monkey Tail experiences are due to overwatering or too much humidity. Too much humidity can cause stem rot and mold. It can also produce the perfect conditions for certain pests.
- Mealy bugs: these grayish oval insects can look like mildew. They breed quickly and like to suck the sap out of the plant. Then they secrete a substance that attracts ants and bacteria.
- Spider Mites: are reddish-brown and can cause brown patches all over the plant. To remove them, you need to remove any infected leaves and then spray the plant with a water hose.
The Silver Torch is a striking cactus that has white needles and bristles along the stem. It is easy to grow, just like the Monkey Tail. The one thing you need to avoid is overwatering, as that can cause problems for the plant. If it gets the right amount of sun, the Silver Torch produces beautiful burgundy flowers that don’t completely open and only last for a few days.
The flowers only bloom when the plant is at least 10 years old.
The mature plant can reach up to 10 feet tall.
When it comes to care, it needs about as much as the Monkey Tail Cactus. Don’t overwater, make sure it gets plenty of sun and use a slow-release fertilizer during the spring and summer.
The best neighbors for the Monkey Tail Cactus are other cacti because they need about as much water and sunlight. The Hedgehog Cactus and the Bunny Ear Cactus are great neighbors for the Monkey Tail Cactus.
The Hedgehog Cactus grows in clusters and has many spines all over the stems. It produces large flowers and can produce edible fruit. Just like the Monkey Tail, it needs to be water moderately and plenty of sun.
The Bunny Ear Cactus resembles cute little bunny ears. It doesn’t need a lot of water, but it needs full sun.
The Monkey Tail Cactus is very toxic if ingested for humans and animals. The plant has soft spikes all over it that can hurt if enough pressure is applied. While the needles will usually deter anyone or anything from eating it, it would be best to keep it out of reach of animals and children.
If you are new to growing plants or have had bad luck in the past, the Monkey Tail Cactus is perfect for you. It requires very little maintenance that it should be hard for you to kill. As long as you meet its basic needs, such as moderate water, full sun, and a little fertilizer during the spring, summer, and fall, then it will thrive. And the big red blooms will make all the work worth it.