Moon Cactus – Information, Care, Propagation, Grafting

Moon Cactus – Information, Care, Propagation, Grafting

The Moon Cactus is a grafted plant, which essentially means that two plants were connected so they could share water and nutrients. The scion in this succulent is the top portion of the gymnocalycium mihanovichii, and the hylocereus cactus in the lower portion is a cactus plant used to graft the scion to create a moon cactus or ruby ball cactus.

It is the function of the lower portion of the cactus to supply water and nutrients to the upper succulent portion. The lower cactus produces food because it is green, but the scion lacks the green pigment chlorophyll and must thus depend on a green cactus that can provide it nourishment.

This succulent can develop and endure for many years since the growth rates of the two sections are different. Rootstock refers to the lower portion. Small baby cacti can be propagated or grafted from the upper section of cactus. This red top cactus must be grafted in order to survive, as they lack the green pigment necessary to produce their food. Without rootstock, they will perish.

via Wikimedia Commons, SKsiddhartthan, CC BY-SA 4.0


Scientific NameGymnocalycium mihanovichii
Other NamesRed Cap, Ruby Ball Cactus,Hibotan cacti and Red Hibotan
NativeSouth America
Plant TypePerennial
USDA Hardiness Zone 11, 12
Flower ColorRed, Pink, Yellow, Orange
SoilCacti Mix & Well Drained
WaterLittle Bit Depend on Moist
LightPartial Shade
FertilizerNot Required But Used

(Red Ball) Moon Cactus Care

Growing and caring for this Moon Cactus can be a simple undertaking if you’ve ever grown cacti or other succulent plants, and they are frequently used in cactus gardens because of their beauty and distinctiveness.

What makes these plants unique is that they essentially lose their green hue and are referred to as albino plants since they lack the chlorophyll that gives their leaves their characteristic green color.

The term “grafted cactus” refers to a plant species that has had another plant species affixed to the injured part of another. This is why it is essential for the bottom and top portions to get along or else it would perish.

Similar to caring for cactus, the following guidelines should be followed if you want to develop moon cactus. Before watering, the soil for these plants must be completely dry to prevent pale or wilted foliage. It is usually advisable to keep the soil mildly damp, not saturated, as any extra water that sits on the soil for an extended period of time might cause root rot. Even though this one problem has a terrible effect on the entire cactus, cacti are tough plants that can survive many more problems than other types of vegetation.

How to Take Care of a Ruby Ball Cactus:


According to NDSU, cactus soil combined with sand performs best for these kinds of succulents. However, because so many people already have cactus-type succulents in their homes, it was difficult to locate in nurseries or in stock. Cactus Potting Mix link

Peat-based potting mix is an additional choice that will also be effective. Peat potting soil link

You are free to combine any potting mix with sand; just be careful to mix the two materials by 50%. Additionally, it might be improved drainage if you add 15-20% more gravel.


The partial shade or areas with indirect sunlight are ideal for moon cacti. These plants are tolerant to shade but do not enjoy direct sunlight. It would be detrimental to the cacti plant if they received direct sunshine. Green stems are a characteristic of cacti that grow in harsh sunlight in desert regions, and understanding the proper light needs for the moon cactus species is crucial.

Bright sunlight and some direct sunlight are present in the East and West Window facing Area in the morning, although they are manageable. Put your plant close to the window in a room that faces south, but keep it out of the sun for long periods of time so the leaves don’t burn and the plant doesn’t sense the need for water right away.

Overwatering and strong sunlight may be to blame for yellowing leaves. If your succulent has problems with spots, scars, or burn indications, move it to a more shaded area as the plant is receiving too much sunlight. The optimum placement would be in some shadow where it receives 2-3 hours of morning direct sunshine. After that, the sun shifts, so indirect sunlight will suffice and won’t hurt the plant.


These cactus plants prefer warm climates and hot climates, and you probably already know that the desert is a favored area for cacti. Moon cacti may grow inside in a roomy environment. The rootstock variety (the lower part of the plant) has USDA hardiness zones 9 and 8 or lower than these zones, whereas the scion variety (the upper part) grows in USDA zones 11 and 12.

According to NDSU, it is advised that they be kept between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter and not below this. If not, they can survive in temperatures of 80 to 90 F. Maintaining a constant temperature indoors is possible, but avoid opening windows because the icy air may be dangerous. These suggestions will help your plant live.


This kind can withstand the drought climate, just like other succulents and cacti. You should water moon cactus when the earth feels dry; if the soil is damp, check the plant the next day. When your lovely plant doesn’t require it, there’s no need to overwater it. When you notice that it is entirely dry, be sure to water it well so that the water drains out of the base.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to occasionally inspect pot holes because if they become plugged with dense soil at the bottom, plants now face the risk of developing root rot.

How frequently should you water a moon cactus? So, in essence, everything relies on the climate and how warm or cold it is where you live. In the summer, once per week is plenty, but you should still inspect the soil before watering. If it is obviously dried out after 15-20 days, you shouldn’t water it or spray on the root base when we talk about winters.

In the winter, spraying some water on them will keep them healthy. This season, you should avoid overwatering plants because of a fungal and root rot issue that causes leaf wilting and eventual plant death.

Succulents don’t need a lot of water, but if they haven’t received any for a while—say, three weeks—you should give them some. The soil should also be of good quality so that the water can drain out properly.


Moon cacti have the same moisture requirements as other cacti and succulents, and they can tolerate low to moderate amounts of humidity. The important thing to remember is not to overwater the soil; they can take dryness but not excessive moisture.

We must occasionally sprinkle water on their upper portion to keep it moisturized and healthy. Even if they are primarily in a dormant stage throughout the winter, we can nevertheless sprinkle some water to ensure that the plant doesn’t lose growth during this time.

Once winter is ended and it is apparent that the weather is warm again, begin watering routinely. Also occasionally place them outside for freshness. However, if there is an infestation, use insecticide before going inside.


The succulent you brought now needs some room to spread, so before repotting it in your current container, make sure that it is bigger than the container it originally arrived in.

To ensure that there are no problems with water drainage, you should also inspect the pot’s bottom holes.

Don’t remove the soil that comes with the plant; instead, simply place it in the new pot along with some potting soil. Check to see that the root doesn’t penetrate too deep.

The issue also arises when people don’t choose a pot that is the proper size; if you choose a pot that is too large, the soil will become damp and mushy. This causes root rot, another issue that is damaging to plants.

Problems/ Pests and Diseases

The moon cactus is robust, vibrant, and tolerant of a wide range of weather conditions. Mealybugs are one issue because they continue to feed on the plant sap, weakening it, and spider mites feed on the fluids on the leaves, causing unsightly white blotches. We advise utilizing to get rid of these 2 bugs

Disease is nothing more than root rot brought on by excessive water use. If left unattended, rotting problems might destroy the plant. Avoid overwatering your plant and only sprinkle it with water during the winter to keep it healthy.


Although Moon Cacti typically don’t require additional fertilizer or plant food, providing it to them throughout the growing season can improve their health and appearance. It is advisable not to offer any plant nourishment during freezing weather, such as winters, during the fertilization period, which runs from April to September.

The ideal fertilizer for Your cactus has been suggested by us.

Read more to learn about the best fertilizer for succulents.

Graft moon cactus

Understanding grafting is necessary prior to propagation: There are actually a lot of cacti that can be used to graft a moon cactus, but only 3 of them are permitted, and Hylocereus trigonus is one of them. Additionally, it would be ideal if they belonged to the same species’ family in order to properly cultivate this succulent.

In summary, you need the upper or scion of gymnocalycium and the bottom part of this green cactus. The green cactus must now be cut off at the top so that you can see if the white circle piece is present.

Take a thin slice of the moon cactus and check to see if the white section is visible, just as you would with the scion. Now that you are prepared, put the cactus pieces together and check to see that the center area is perfectly joined. Use a rubber band and leave it in place for two weeks.

You can inspect them after two weeks; they will be attached and have begun to grow.

Also SEE: I’ll go into great detail in my essay on grafting cacti.

Moon Cactus Propagation

via Wikimedia Commons, SKsiddhartthan, CC BY-SA 4.0

You can notice in the image above that white spines are emerging; these are known as baby scion and they are used to create a new moon cactus plant. The same procedure as previously should be followed here as well, and you’ll need a second, healthy, green cactus and a sharp knife to cut the moon cactus from the base.

Although propagation is simple, you must still follow the instructions or the plant may survive but grow slowly. This is what occurs when people fail to plant the scion in the center of the green cactus.

I’m providing a grafting video to help you become a skilled propagator and avoid mistakes. It has a somewhat unusual process, exactly like this cactus.

Most frequently asked queries

Moon cactus flower

These plants are available in a wide range of sizes, hues, and shapes. You can see the flower’s own stem starting to shoot higher as it grows. Moon cactus blossoms occur in a variety of colors, but the yellow and reddish-colored varieties are the most commonly seen in nurseries and on the internet.

Moon cactus dying

Everybody experiences this issue when the moon cactus begins to lose its colors and appears wilted. If the entire top of the moon cactus (scion) becomes brown and seems pale, cut it off with a flame and sterilize it first. Without it, the green cactus will still grow.

If the lower half of your scion is now fading, you must cut it off and graft it again into the rootstock (green cactus), and it will survive.

One more thing to keep in mind about these cacti is that they don’t live for very long before dying, so if you believe it’s your fault for being careless, you’re mistaken—they were only intended to last a few years, not a lifetime.

Also, attempt to spritz water onto the ground rather than pouring it there. The best suggestion I can give is to water the scion, rootstock, and root base if you want them to live longer.

Moon cactus pups

These are the little baby moon cacti that sprout from the top scion of the plant. From these little pups, moon cactus can be multiplied. These can also be grafted, but you’ll need to wait till they’re bigger so you can remove slices from the bottom pups. They can be inserted into the rootstock or green cactus. The fact that the scion produces so many pups is advantageous to us since we can still use them if our plant dies.

Moon cactus bloom

These cacti come in a variety of hues, require little maintenance, and only a tiny can of water. The moon cactus often blooms at the end of the spring or in the early or middle of the summer.

Moon cactus lifespan

Moon cactus lifespan

Moon Cactus top rotting

Rotting and watering are related, and after watering anything, it needs air to dry. The lower scion, which is the top of the moon cactus, could decay if it doesn’t dry out. A grafting technique should be used to replace the lower rotten slice after making careful to remove it. Check the entire procedure and the video above to comprehend everything, and before cutting the part, disinfect the tools you’ll be using.

Moon cactus growing arms

You should cut off this stem, which typically emerges from the rootstock, to allow the top scion to flourish. The moon cactus top can benefit by cutting this as they receive nutrients that are reduced when these vine-like arms start to grow and take the majority of the nutrients with them.


How big does a moon cactus get?

The moon cactus can range in width from one to two inches and height from four to six inches. The rootstock would also determine how big it would grow; the length of the rootstock can vary, but they will stop growing at 10 cm. They may develop into healthy adults if you take proper care of them.

Can you plant Moon Cactus babies?

They can only be inserted into rootstock, and without any green cactus, they won’t develop. If you place these little plants straight in soil, you will only cause your plant to perish. These are grafted types, and lower cacti is a must for their growth.

Are moon cacti poisonous to cats?

This plant is a member of the Cactaceae family, and although cactus is not a dangerous plant when eaten, we do not have any reliable sources to support this claim, so we encourage you to refrain from making any conclusions about the safety of moon cacti until further information is available. They have spines that you and your cat should avoid since they might irritate the skin.

Please contact the animal hospital or clinic right away if there is a problem.

Is Moon Cactus indoor or outdoor?

This plant is typically cultivated inside and does best there because it has a clean environment free of pests, and since moon cacti like bright light rather than direct light, therefore indoor lighting is indirect. Even in the winter, you can grow them indoors because the temperature is perfect, but it’s too cold outside. Since this plant isn’t too huge and just requires a little amount of room, it is best kept indoors because there are additional disease problems when grown outside.