The Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii)

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The Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii) is a native from the deserts of South America, specifically Argentina. The Moon Cactus is a colorful succulent plant. It is lacking in chlorophyll for photosynthesis to produce plant sugars. It is a grafted type of cactus.

The Moon Cactus, grafted, comes with a bright ball-shaped top often in red, pink, yellow, or orange. It’s a hybrid cactus that can grow up to 12 inches. Its green stems become orange, red, or other colors. It has all the usual requirements for the growth of potting, fertilizing, propagating, and maintaining. These little succulents are so attractive they’re all gotta have!

How to Grow The Moon Cactus (Echeveria Pulvinata)

The Echeveria Pulvinata makes a good indoor plant in lower hardiness zones and place along a bright sunny windowsill.

• Soil Requirements

The Moon Cactus plant grows well in slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 and well-draining, and porous soil to prevent overwatering.

You can also use a commercial succulent or cactus mix or opt to make your own by combining potting soil and coarse sand (2:1) or potting soil, sand, and perlite (1:1:1).

The soil should be clean and fresh. You also make a potting soil mix by combining one part moss, one part loam, and two parts sand.

• Light Conditions

The Moon Cactus are hardy succulents so that love to have a lot of direct sunlight or full sun. They are winter hardy and grow well in USDA hardiness zones 9b-11b.

If grown in lower hardiness zones, they are tender succulents that will do well indoors on a bright sunny windowsill.

The Moon Cactus need at least six hours of full to partial sunlight per day. It would be best, however, to avoid the summer afternoon full sun and sudden sunlight changes.

• Temperature Requirements

The Moon Cactus grow best in USDA hardiness zones with temperatures of 250F to 500F.

• Water Requirements

Your Moon Cactus plants are drought-tolerant, thus they require less but deep watering. Water only when the soil has turned dry.

When watering, make sure the water does not sit in the leaves or rosettes to avoid fungal disease which can cause your Moon Cactus to rot.

•  Fertilizer Requirements

The Moon Cactus requires only moderate fertilizing.  Fertilize this succulent with standard cactus mix during the growing season in the spring and summer.

Feed this succulent thinly with a balanced fertilizer in the early spring.  Stop feeding your Moon Cactus plant when winter starts to set in. Strictly follow the instructions in the fertilizer package.

• Propagating Echeveria Pulvinata

You can propagate your Moon Cactus plant through leaf and stem cuttings. You can also opt to plant seeds of this succulent.

• Leaf Cuttings 

Cut a healthy leaf and allow it to dry for a few hours. The leaf you cut should have some stem attached to it so it is easier for roots to grow.

Place fresh succulent potting mix or moistened soil in a tray and add the healthy leaf cuttings. The top of the root ball should be exposed from the surface of the soil.

Place the tray in a sunny spot and water the plant at least two times a week.

The new plant will grow and after about two months, you can transplant your new Moon Cactus plant to grow in its new environment.

• Stem Cuttings

Take a stem cutting of the Moon Cactus plant. Cut an inch on one side of the stem to create two straight lines making it appear like a cross shape.

Place some soil in a container or pot. Place some wet sphagnum moss at the bottom of the soil to prevent rot.

Place the stem cutting in the soil, about one inch below soil level. . Make sure the cut side faces down. Make sure you do not bury the leaves.

Water the plant to provide it with sufficient moisture to allow root growth.

Place the pot in its original environment once roots start to grow- a sunny window or outdoors. Water your new plant regularly.

• Seeds

The Moon Cactus (Echeveria Pulvinata) is a slow-grower. Although propagating by seeds is not recommended, this is how to do it.

Place soil good for about 50 seeds in a pot with drainage holes in the bottom. Place seeds on top of the soil.

Make sure they are about one-fourth away from all sides of the pot. Cover the seeds with soil.

It will take about two for the seeds to sprout. Start watering regularly to allow roots to quickly grow. Touch the soil. When it feels dry, water the plant.

Avoid overwatering your Moon Cactus plant as this will make the roots rot especially if there is no sufficient drainage in the pot for excess water vapor or moisture.

How to Re-pot The Moon Cactus (Echeveria Pulvinata)

The Moon Cacti want to be re-potted regularly so they can grow better. Re-potting can be done at the beginning of each flowering season (Spring) or before the weather becomes cold.

You need to re-pot this plant when you notice the soil completely drying out or when the plant has outgrown its pot. When you re-pot, make sure to use a bigger pot than the previous one.

How to Maintain the Moon Cactus (Echeveria Pulvinata)

The Moon Cactus (Echeveria pulvinate) plants do not need much care. They will bloom happy and healthy if you give them some attention.

• Pruning

This is a self-pruning succulent so you will save a lot of time in making it look pretty. At the least, you may just have to remove any dead leaves from the base of the plant or blossoms because they may rot and cause fungal disease.

Dead leaves can also be hiding places for pests.

• Pests and Diseases

Similar to most succulents, the Moon Cactus (Echeveria Pulvinata) is not prone to a lot of pests and diseases as long as you care for it well. Do not overwater your plant.

Make sure it is planted in well-draining soil, with sufficient sunlight and warm temperatures.

These will make your  Moon Cactus plant hardy and healthy, otherwise, your plant may be attacked by fungus gnats, scale, spider mites, and mealybugs.

The Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii): Names and Origins

The Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii is typically a mix of two cacti, the most common combination being a Gymnocalycium (the sicon) and a rootstock cactus-like the Hylocereus.

The Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, or the Moon cactus, comes from South America specifically in northeast Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay. It was here that Alberto Vojtěch Frič , a Czech botanist, first discovered this plant in 1903.  The Gymnocalycium mihanovichii got its name, “Moon Cactus” from its cactus-like stem and moon-shaped top. This plant is also known as the Ruby Ball, Red Hiboton, Hibotan Cacti, or Red Cap.

The Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii) is from the Cactaceae family; sub-family Cactoideae; tribe Trichocereeae; and Genus Gymnocalycium.

Final Thoughts

If you love cacti plants, the Moon cactus is an exciting addition to your collection. It maintains its small size for a long time and is perfect for your windowsill or desk.

The Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii) shows off its beauty in hot pink, brilliant orange, and close to neon yellow color.

The colors of the Moon Cactus are different from most plants because of its lack of chlorophyll. The plant produces offsets around its globe’s base.

It may grow beautiful flowers from the sides but its blooms are without scents.

The small size of the moon cactus makes it popular in window boxes or as a great houseplant.  It is a slow grower so it’s perfect if you do not have the time to repot your plants.  They are often sold as gift plants, too.

The Moon Cactus is non-toxic to humans, cats, or dogs. It’s are harmless around children and pets as long as they do not touch the cacti’s thorns.

Most succulent enthusiasts love the Moon cactus because of its vibrant color and small size.

Maybe you should add one to your collection.

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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