Cacti definitely belong to the group of plants that have found themselves as favorites of many homes. Monkey’s tail cactus, for example, is a beautiful specimen that’s definitely going to draw a lot of attention to itself. It has long, white, soft, hair-like spines and gets large bright red flowers.
When it’s blooming, it’s definitely one of the most beautiful cactus species.
However, to grow such a wonderful plant and get it to the state in which it can truly shine and showcase its beauty, it’s necessary to take certain steps. Different plants need different amounts of water, sun hours, trimming, etc. That’s why it’s best to learn all of these things before you make a purchase.
For this reason, many people wonder – how to take care of a monkey’s tail cactus?
Monkey’s tail cactus only needs to be watered when the soil has completely dried out; otherwise, you’ll be hurting the plant. It doesn’t need direct sunlight, rather light, indirect sun. You should also use a cactus mix that drains quickly for the soil, while it rarely needs feeding.
It must be understood that all plants need different levels of care, otherwise you could be damaging the plant, and that definitely isn’t something you want. For that reason, we’ll be learning how to take proper care of a monkey’s tail cactus today. In this article, we’ll be answering questions like how fast does monkey’s tail cactus grow, when does monkey’s tail cactus bloom, how do you propagate monkey’s tail cactus, do monkey’s tail cactus-like sun and what is the light requirement.
Let’s get started!
How to Take Care of Monkey’s Tail Cactus?
There’s a certain number of things you need to keep in mind when you’re tending to a plant: watering, temperature, sunlight, feeding, pests, and propagation (which we’ll cover later).
Let’s start with watering. It’s general knowledge that cacti need very little water, as they’ve evolved to live in mainly dry areas. You only need to water these cacti when the soil has completely dried out, not before.
Overwatering cacti can literally kill them, and this is not something you want.
This is where temperature comes into play and has a direct influence over water. The higher the temperature in the room – the higher will the frequency of watering be. Soil can’t dry out quickly when it’s cloudy and cold, but when it’s sunny and hot – the soil will dry out quickly.
You should keep the soil even drier during late fall and winter – during this period, the cactus has to rest (for lack of a better word). It must lay dormant for a few months if you want it to bloom properly.
These cacti can survive temperatures well under freezing, so you rarely have to worry about the temperature for any reason other than water regulation.
When it comes to sunlight regulation, it’s actually not recommended to keep them in direct sunlight. These cacti enjoy very light, very indirect sunlight.
You should use a soil mix for cacti that drains quickly, and you should only fertilize the cactus when the plant is actively growing. Feed it with a liquid plant food high in potassium.
Another thing you need to be careful for are pests: scale, spider mites, and mealybugs are prominent dangers to monkey’s tail cactus, and you need to keep an eye out for that.
We’ve also mentioned pest. The truth is that monkey’s tail cactus is especially prone to pest infestations, which is never a good thing to put your cactus through. We’ve already mentioned scales, spider mites, and mealybugs, and despite them being a nuisance, they’re not difficult to control.
If you’ve identified your cactus with mealybugs, all you have to do is spray your cactus with a pressurized water hose and wash them off. They usually can’t handle a shower, and this should be more than enough to get them all off, as they don’t need any additional chemicals. However, you can (if you’d like to) rub alcohol, isopropyl with a cotton swab. Just make sure to rinse the alcohol off before you return the plant to its pot.
Out of all the pests that affect cacti, mites are definitely the most annoying ones. They’re usually very difficult to notice, and you’ll only notice them once they’ve already caused a lot of damage.
You need to monitor the plant carefully if you want to control them, and you’ll only know that your plant is infected if you find brown spots. You’ll need to make sure that you’re watering your plant properly and that you’re pumping up the humidity, as all you can do is chase them away.
Scales require different measures. They’ll clamp on the leaves and hide under a shell, so spraying them is not really effective and won’t do much against them. However, the game is not yet lost. It’s best to rub alcohol on the leaves to remove the scales. Make sure you actually observe and notice the infestation before it’s too late, as it can easily get out of hand. It’s best to use a soft toothbrush to rub the alcohol on.
How Fast Does Monkey’s Tail Cactus Grow?
This species is known for its speed in growing. It grows quite rapidly and very vigorously. They’ll usually grow a few feet before they actually start to droop, averaging in between 12 and 18 inches before the droop starts.
They can grow to amazing lengths, so make sure that you have enough room for them.
The seeds of the monkey’s tail cactus are black and are very easy to germinate, but you need to provide the right conditions for that. The right conditions are light soil, well-ventilated room with good soil drainage.
Meaning sandy and loamy soils are perfect for its growth. It’s likely that you won’t need to water this plant during autumn and winter if you want to increase its growth. Over-watering may cause the rotting of the stems and roots. Watering the plant during winter and fall will lead to freezing, so you shouldn’t water it during those periods.
When Do Monkey’s Tail Cactus Bloom?
What’s going to amaze you about the flowers produced by monkey’s tail cactus is the fact that they can grow up to the length of 3 inches!
With time, these flowers will transition into red-like, spherical seeds that germinate easily.
They usually bloom in spring and summer, as the plant prefers warmer times for blooming. However, it’s documented to bloom during autumn and winter, as well. It depends on the climate, as there are many places that allow for the plant to bloom during those periods.
How Do You Propagate Monkey’s Tail Cactus?
When a plant is in the wild, nature will take care of it. Nature finds ways to take care of its own. However, when you’re holding a cactus on your own, you’re going to need to propagate it on your own. This is absolutely crucial, as the plant won’t do well otherwise.
You need to use cuttings in your propagation. These will be at their highest level of efficiency during the spring and summer seasons because the growth is most vigorous at that time. You need to allow callouts to grow from the cuttings, and they need to be left out to dry for a few days. After that, you’ll be placing them into the soil.
When the cactus is active and growing, usually during the summer, a low-nitrogen fertilizer should be applied with the soil around the plant. You should just dilute the fertilizer with water and administer it as a liquid. There was some debate about using fertilizers, but that was in the last century – fertilizers are completely safe to use, and you shouldn’t worry about it.
Do Monkey’s Tail Cactus Like Sun? What Is the Light Requirement?
This species needs very little light to thrive. They usually need less light than any other plants, and it’s important not to expose them to direct sunlight. As silly as it may sound, too much direct sunlight can actually harm this species.
It’s much better to expose it to light, indirect sunlight. You’ll notice quickly that this is much better for them.
This allows you to put them in the space in your apartment or house where there’s not much sun, for example, on the shelf next to the TV. You don’t need to focus on areas near windows.
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