Moon Cactus (Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii Hibotan) is a really distinctive cactus, also sometimes called a ‘chin cactus’ – with a bright fiery red form on top of a green column. It moves around my flat quite a lot – at the moment it’s on the kitchen windowsill, but before that it was on the top shelf of my ladder shelves …I moved it because it wasn’t getting much light where it was.
It’s actually two plants grafted together – the globular part is a mutant cultivar that doesn’t have enough chlorophyll, thus revealing different varieties of pigmentation – red, yellow, pink and orange are most popular. As a result, these parts will die unless they can be grafted onto a plant with a plentiful supply of chlorophyll – in this case the hylocereus rootstock acts as a base. The plant can survive like this for a few years in harmony, however problems can arise when either part outgrows the other and can start to break apart. When this does happen, the scion can be regrafted back onto the rootstock.
Below is a photograph I took showing the moon cacti selection in Urban Outfitters on Oxford Street, London (I really want a yellow one now!).
I’ve had this plant for two years, however last August it had a bit of an accident … I knocked it off the shelf! There was quite a large offset which spilt apart, and the main red scion loosened from the base. Thankfully, it has been doing ok and there are some smaller offsets currently growing [photograph above].
This plant is really easy to look after …though I would advise not to knock it off a shelf!
It needs little water and between April and October I give it a week feed from a Baby Bio solution once a month. Make sure not to water the plant until the top two centimetres of the plant are dry. Also, I would recommend using tepid water as cold water can shock the roots.
In terms of position, the plant needs a sunny spot, but partially shaded is best as bright sun can scorch the surface and bleach the vibrant top.
Thanks for reading!