Grafted Cactus

Grafted Cactus

The popular moon cactus plant is a small grafted cactus. Grafting, which can be done with many plants, is a propagation technique in which a gardener will take two separate plant species, cut them and grow them together as one plant. The plants, if they are compatible, will bond and grow as one. The top cactus of the moon cactus has a mutation that cause sit to lack the chlorophyll that makes the cactus green. This mutation exposes the red, orange or yellow color beneath.

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Description

Scientific Name: The two cactus species most commonly used for moon cactus are Gymnocalycium mihanovichii as the top cactus and Hylocereus spp. as the base.

Plant Type: Grafted cactus

How to Graft Cactus

Use very clean, sterile instruments when making cuts. Choose healthy plants and prepare a scion. Cut off the top or at least a 1-inch stem. Then prepare the root stock by beheading a cactus to within a few inches of the soil. Set the scion on top of the cut portion of the still rooted root stock so both vascular cambium are situated together. Use rubber bands to hold the pieces joined as one. Grafted cactus care is the same as un-grafted cactus. Watch for any insects at the union or rot. In about two months, you can remove the rubber bands and the union should be sealed.

Light: The moon cactus plant requires bright indirect sunlight. Full sun will actually harm this container plant, so keep it out of direct sunlight for long periods of time.

Water: water moon cactus thoroughly, then let the plant dry out between water.

Fertilizer: You don’t need to regularly fertilize your moon cactus plant, but you should dose it with a cactus fertilizer every month during its growing season (April to September).

Temperature: The tiny moon cactus won’t do well in very cold temperatures, so bring it inside to over winter during the cold winter months.

Pests and Diseases:Insect Pets and diseases won’t be much of a problem with the moon cactus, but you may see some spider mites or mealybugs attacking your cactus plant. The biggest problem with this plant is over water which can lead to root rot.

Propagation: Grafting cactus can be difficult, so leave propagation to the grafters! It is easiest to buy a moon cactus specimen from your local garden shop, but if you can find a healthy specimen of Gymnocalycium mihanovichii that lacks chlorophyll and a healthy Hylocereus, you may want to give it a try. Follow the seven steps to grafting cactus.

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