July's Plant of the Month: Moon Cactus

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii Grafted Moon Cactus

Our plant of the month for July is the cute and colorful Moon cactus.  These collection worthy specimens consist of two interesting cacti grafted together.  The colorful bright red, orange, or yellow scions on top are the Gymnocalycium mihanovichii (moon cactus).  Moon cactus lack the ability to produce chlorophyll, which results in their bright red, orange or yellow color.  The inability to produce chlorophyll also interferes with photosynthesis, so Moon Cactus on their own typically have a short life span.  This problem is solved by grafting the Moon Cactus scion onto a rootstock from Heliocereus (pitaya), a fantastic climbing cactus that is vigorous, easy growing and produces an abundance of chlorophyll.  

Once successfully grafted the Moon cactus requires minimal care, making it an excellent choice for beginners.  Outdoors your Moon Cactus will enjoy a location that is sheltered from rain and receives partial sun to partial shade.  Indoors place it in a spot with medium to bright indirect light.  Make sure your moon cactus does not receive too much direct, bright light, especially around midday.  Water as you would for most cactus, being careful not to overwater.  Allow the soil to dry completely before watering.  Water thoroughly until water comes out of the drainage holes, but do not let the cactus sit in standing water.  Make sure you use fast draining, high quality cactus potting mix.  

We hope everyone enjoys their Moon Cactus!  If you have any questions, let us know.  Plant some happiness!

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