The Monkey tail cactus (Cleistocactus colademononis), previously known as Hildewintera colademononis) is easy care cactus that grows well in hanging baskets.
Initial growth is upright however as the stems get longer they droop or ‘weep’ and these long hanging stems, covered with fine hair like spines give the plant its common name.
This is a reasonably fast growing cactus, individual stems growing at up to 30cm (1ft) in 12 months. It grows naturally in rocky soils in the hillsides in Bolivia and is a great plant for those starting out with cactus and succulents.
How to care for your Monkey Tail Plant.
Often started from cuttings, we suggest planting into a hanging basket and starting with 3 – 4 cuttings so you get quick results.
- Soil – Use a specialist cactus and succulent potting mix, the soil must be free draining. Try a layer of mulch to protect the shallow root system, pine bark and vermiculite works well.
- Light – The Monkeys Tail Cactus needs to grown in bright indirect light, not direct sun. If the stems start to turn a lighter green, provide the plant with more light.
Very low light levels will slow down growth.
- Temperature – This is a versatile plant that will grow well indoors as well as outdoors. It prefers a warm climate however can withstand sub freezing temperatures as long as it is not wet. Outdoors best in USDA hardiness zones 9a – 11b. The best temperature range is between around 15°C/59°F and 30°C/86°F.
- Humidity – Good air circulation is essential to prevent fungal diseases, especially with indoor grown plants.
- Watering – The warmer the climate the more often you will need to water. Always wait until the soil dries before watering. During colder months, allow the soil to dry a little longer as this is the dormancy period. A dormancy period is required for good flowering.
- Fertiliser – Use a liquid plant fertiliser during active growth, a high potassium fertiliser provides good results. A slow release fertiliser twice a year will also be beneficial.
- Toxicity – The Monkey Tail Cactus is regarded as toxic to cats, dogs and other pets as well as humans.
- Flowers – Bright, red flowers that are not long lasting, however they are attractive. The flowers are followed by small fruits.
Monkey Tail V Rat Tail
The rat tail cactus is Aporocactus flagelliformis. This one is from Mexico. The Rat tail cactus has short prickly spines, the Monkey tail has long hair like spines.
The Hairy Monkey Tail cactus or Cliestocactus winteri subsp. colademono, also known as Cleistocactus colademononis
Cliestocactus winteri, commonly known as Soft Monkey Tail, is a branching cactus that features pendant stems or cylindrical trailing covered with many short golden spines.