What do you need to know to care of your Monkey’s Tail cactus?

The Monkey’s Tail cactus (Cleistocactus colademononis) is one of the most popular plants in South Africa at the moment, and quite hard to come by. So what can you do to make sure your plant thrives and grows into a beautiful, multi-tailed specimen in your collection? Below are a few tips for growing these special cacti.

Tip #1 – A spacious pot for your Monkey’s tail cactus

Make sure your Monkey’s Tail cactus has a large enough pot, especially if it’s in a hanging basket. If you want it to grow multiple tails, it’s best to give it enough space and soil to do so. Their roots grow quite fast and will fill up a small pot quickly. Don’t let them become root bound!

Tip #2 – A well-drained soil mix for happy roots

All cactus plants prefer a soil mix that doesn’t stay wet, and Monkey’s Tails are no exception. They are quite sensitive to overwatering, so need a soil mix that allows for quick drainage of water. They do well in gritty mixes that include Akadama, pumice, and bark.

Tip #3 – Cacti enjoy a sunny spot in the greenhouse

Monkey’s Tails, much like real monkeys, prefer getting plenty of light. A spot with full morning sun is ideal, otherwise we recommend only keeping them in semi-shade or under 40% shade cloth. If you give them too much shade, they’ll lose the fluffy white spines that make them so special, and just become thin, normal looking cacti.

Tip #4 – A conservative watering regime for your Monkey’s tail cactus

These cacti are some of the most sensitive to overwatering out there. They should only be watered during the growing season of spring and summer, and be kept completely dry during the cold months of the year. In South Africa, the growing season is from the end of September until the end of March. Water them once a week during this season, but make sure the soil has dried before you give more. Don’t let their roots sit in moist soil!

- Cheryl K

We ordered plants from LDP through Harry Lewis a while back. We were very happy with our parcel. Reasonably priced. Very helpful as well. I can recommend Living Desert Plants.

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