Stunning Colorful Moon Cactus Plants

Stunning Colorful Moon Cactus Plants

Moon cactus plants are known as Gymnocalycium mihanovichii or Hibotan cactus. Strangely, the plants are something of mutants and lacks the ability to produce chlorophyll, which means they must be grafted onto a rootstock with that ability. The resulting bright color of the Hibotan makes the plants popular as decoration, though it has a relatively short life for a cactus. Without enough chlorophyll to turn sunlight into food, a plant will die; this is the case with moon cactus seedlings. They can survive for only up to a few weeks on their own. If a Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is grafted onto a chlorophyll-dense succulent, however, it can live for many years. Most plant nurseries will sell moon cacti that are already grafted and flourishing. If a gardener wishes to do the grafting at home instead, many books and websites include instructions on how to do so successfully.

The main idea is to cut the top of the base cactus and the bottom of the moon cactus off. Then, by lining up the insides of both cacti, the two plants will heal by becoming one plant. The Hibotan should begin to grow as it feeds off of the base cactus. Typically, the top plant will turn a bright shade of yellow, orange or red. This effect is caused by the revelation of the plant’s underlying pigmentation and the lack of chlorophyll, which gives plants their usual green color. It is common for people to confuse a moon cactus with a cactus flower.

Potted Yellow Moon Cactus Plant

Potted Yellow Moon Cactus Plant

More commonly, moon cactus propagation is achieved by removing the offsets, which are smaller versions of the parent plant growing from the base of the rootstock.

Pink Moon Cactus Plant

Pink Moon Cactus Plant

Purchased plants will come with moon cactus info that relates to the plants care and cultivation needs.

Potted Pink Moon Cactus Plant

Potted Pink Moon Cactus Plant

Moon cactus plants prefer temperatures on the warm side but need a minimum of 48 F. (9 C.) to survive.

Moon Cactus Plants In Colorful Pots

Moon Cactus Plants In Colorful Pots

The moon cactus prefers to have a crowded home, which means you can repot in the same pot for several years.

Colorful Potted Moon Cactus Plants

Colorful Potted Moon Cactus Plants

Moon cactus are a colorful group of succulents that lack the necessary chlorophyll to produce plant sugars through photosynthesis.

Moon Cactus Plant In The Pot

Moon Cactus Plant In The Pot

The moon cactus is usually sold already grafted in a process that removes the bottom of the Hibotan and the top of the rootstock cactus.

Outdoor Moon Cactus Plants

Outdoor Moon Cactus Plants

These are small plants, generally only ½ inch across, although there are cultivars that get up to 8 inches in diameter.

Red Moon Cactus Plants

Red Moon Cactus Plants

The plants are grafted onto a species that produces plentiful chlorophyll upon which the moon cactus can sustain itself for several years.

Outdoor Potted Yellow Moon Cactus Plant

Outdoor Potted Yellow Moon Cactus Plant

Moon cactus plants are native to desert habitats in various parts of South America.

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