How to Care for Gymnocalycium mihanovichii (moon cactus)

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, which is commonly known by its common name, the Moon Cactus, is a South American species of mutant cacti. The Moon Cactus lacks chlorophyll pigments in them which give them different beautiful colors, such as orange, red, and yellow. They are mostly grown as a household garden plant as well as indoor plants. 

They are succulent plants with a bit overgrown body and lots of thrones. The moon cactus have multiple colors, shapes, and body textures. They are considered mutant succulent plants because they lack the chlorophylls. This plant is native to the desert habitats in the South American region and it is found in countries like Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia. As they lack chlorophylls that are important for the plant’s survival, they are grafted into the other succulent plants that have chlorophylls so that the plant will not die.

How to Water Gymnocalycium mihanovichii (moon cactus)

The water needs of the moon cactus are like the other succulent plants, they require the soil that can drain the water quickly and they need to be watered sparingly. If you want to know that if it is the time to water your moon cactus, you can dip your finger inside the plant’s pot soil. If the soil is dry no dust will be on your finger but if the soil is wet, you will see the soil residue on your finger.

  • Check if the potting soil is dry or not. If the soil is dry, provide it water sparingly.
  • Make sure that water reaches the bottom layer of soil in the pot.
  • Once it reaches the bottom layer, stop watering it.
  • Over watering the moon cactus can kill it, also keeping it dry for long is also not ideal.

Lighting and Temperature needs for Gymnocalycium mihanovichii (moon cactus)

This plant is from the desert regions of South America, and it can tolerate the full bright sun for the long summer. You can say that this plant is able to grow in the places where there is full sunlight. The constant dark environment can kill the plant, so if you are planting it inside, make sure that it gets enough amount of sunlight.

Moon Cactus can tolerate the high temperatures of the desert so it can grow well in the hot places, but if you are planting it in cold areas, it is better to grow it inside the house. It can tolerate some level of cold temperatures, but extreme cold can kill it.

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Soil needs for Gymnocalycium mihanovichii (moon cactus)

It is a succulent plant and its soil needs are closely related to the succulent plant family as well. You need to create a potting soil that contains, sand and the green fertilizer elements, you can add things like the plant waste such as broken leaves and dead plant materials.

The sand is a major requirement for the soil for moon cactus because it needs a quick-draining soil. This soil content is perfect for all succulent plants including the moon cactus.

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Fertilizer for Gymnocalycium mihanovichii (moon cactus)

You can use plant fertilizers for the moon cactus, you need 1 tablespoon full of water solvable fertilizers and then you can mix it into the soil before planting the moon cactus, but if you have already planted it you can then provide it with the water.  You can also create a water and fertilizer mixture and then you can give this fertilizer containing water to the plant.

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How to Repot Gymnocalycium mihanovichii (moon cactus)

It is easy to repot. You need to fill your pot with the mixture of soil sand and fertilizers then you can repot it. After repotting provide it with a little amount of water sparingly. The best season for repotting is the start of spring because spring is the season of its growth.

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How to Propagate Gymnocalycium mihanovichii (moon cactus)

You can easily propagate the moon cactus by removing its offspring from the plant. To do so, you need to first create the soil for propagation and then you just separate the offspring from the plant. Then you can easily plant it inside the new pot. You can also grow it from the seed but then you will have to graft it to some other plant. It is grown after grafting it to rootstock plant so that it can keep getting food from the rootstock otherwise it would die as it has no chlorophylls.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can we grow them from seeds?

Answer: Yes, it is possible to grow them from their seeds. But after growing them from seed you will need to graft them on some other succulents’ plant.

Question: How often should you water a moon cactus?

Answer: You can water it sparingly when you feel that the soil has dried.

Question: How much light does a moon cactus need?

Answer: The moon cactus is a desert plant and it needs sufficient light to grow. If you are growing it inside make sure it gets enough light.

Question: What is Moon Cactus grafted to?

Answer: Moon cactus are grafted to many other cactus plants but mostly they are grafted to Hibo tan and rootstock cactus.

Question: Can moon cactus grow without grafting?

Answer: No, you can grow it without the grafting, but the plant will soon die because it needs chlorophylls for photosynthesis. That is why they are grafted on other plants.

Question: How big will a moon cactus get?

Answer: Moon cactus can get a height of 12 inches or 30 centimeters.

Question: How do you know when a moon cactus is dying?

Answer: If your plant is not showing signs of growth and it starts to wilt, you should understand that it is dying. The major reasons can be overwatering and cold temperatures.

Question: Does a moon cactus flower?

Answer: the whole plant usually looks like a flower, but during the spring season it shows a little bloom.