Home » Monkey Tail Cactus | All You Need To Know

Monkey Tail Cactus | All You Need To Know

Are you looking to buy a Monkey Tail Plant?  Are you still trying to decide whether the Monkey Tail Cactus is the succulent for you? Well, in my opinion, it is an excellent choice to add to your plant collection. 

Close up of Monkey Tail Cactus

The cactus has a long and hairy, oval-like shape that looks like a monkey’s tail which is where it got its name from. To add to the excitement, the Monkey Tail Cactus is also a flowering succulent that can either be kept outdoors or put in a pot and used as a houseplant.

The flowers blossom in a beautiful red color and grow up to 3 inches in size. The cactus itself belongs to the Cactaceae family and it does not stand upright like most other cacti.

In fact, its hairy spine hangs over the pot, once again, just like a monkey’s tail does. So are you ready to learn everything there is to know about the Monkey Tail Cactus?

Without further adieu, let’s jump straight into it.


Monkey Tail Cactus Care

Monkey Tail Cactus

Naturally, Monkey Tail Cactus Care is important. If you don’t care for your plant, it will wither and die, and I’m sure none of us want that.

So, in order to care for our Monkey Tail succulent, there are a few elements to consider. Let’s take a look at some of those.


Lighting needed for the Monkey Tail Cactus

The cactus’ reproductive cycle is initiated by light and its light levels determine its annual growth cycle. It prefers high levels of indirect sunlight and will initiate a new growth cycle in response to this new, natural light.

If you are growing your caucus indoors, it is recommended to put it on the windowsill, facing South or East so that it can get as much sunlight as possible. In general, your Monkey Tail Cactus needs roughly 10- 14 hours of direct sunlight.


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Soil Requirements

The Monkey Tail Cactus thrives in soil that is acidic or almost neutral with a PH ranging between 5.5 to 6.5. Other than that the Monkey Tail plant isn’t too fussy on its soil since it only uses it to anchor its roots.

When it comes to obtaining nutrients, the cactus does this from the atmosphere. However, it is recommended for the soil to be well-drained and organic for the cactus to thrive.

Also, should the roots be exposed to the surface, it is essential to protect them from extreme temperatures by covering them with any kind of mulch that won’t change the PH level of the soil. The only other nutrients it derives from the soil come from the water which we will discuss next.


Watering Requirements

Even though cacti are drought tolerant and have the ability to survive in the desert, you still need to water your Monkey Tail cactus regularly so that it can store water for the season where it goes dormant. It is essential to water your cactus deeply in the growing season which is in Summer and Spring.

Also, it’s important to remember to let the soil go dry before watering it again, otherwise, you might overwater or drown your cactus. The way in which you water your Monkey Tail Plant will have a dynamic impact on its growth cycle.

In Winter, the cactus will go into a dormant state. It won’t need as much water during this time since it will be feeding off of the water that is stored.

Watering it every 6-8 weeks will be sufficient for the plant. Overwatering your Monkey Tail Cactus can lead to root rot so avoid doing so at all costs.


Temperature Requirements for the Monkey Tail Cactus

The Monkey Tail Cactus thrives in warmer temperatures, but it can survive in temperatures that are as low as 21.2 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not advisable to water your cactus if it has been exposed to low temperatures.

Remember that the Monkey Tail plant stores the water that it receives.  If it is exposed to extremely low temperatures, that water may freeze.

When this happens it could damage the cells inside of your cactus. Therefore, if the temperature is excessively cold outside, it is best to bring your Monkey Tail succulent inside.


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Humidity can have a dynamic impact on your Monkey Tail Cactus, especially during the winter. An excess of humidity works similarly to an excess of water on the cactus’ roots.

It would result in overwatering which further results in the decay of the roots during the dormant phase.  Also, if your Monkey Tail succulent is in a closed environment, too much humidity could cause mold to build up on your plant.

It is best to keep a lookout for this since mold can be unhealthy for the humans who live inside of the house even though the fungus might love it.


Fertilizer for the Monkey Tail Cactus

The Monkey Tail Cactus is a fairly low-maintenance cactus when it comes to fertilizing, but it does need fertilizer nonetheless. Using a low nitrogen, high potassium fertilizer about once per month should be adequate for your Monkey Tail plant.

Potassium is great for strengthening your cactus’ stems and improving its wellbeing. In order to prevent the cactus from going into shock, it is also a good idea to get a slow-release fertilizer.

You only need to do this during the growing season which is during Spring, Summer, and Fall since, as we’ve already established, the cactus will be dormant during the winter which means that it won’t need any water or fertilizer during this time.


How Fast They Grow

Monkey Tail Cactus growing in the ground

The Monkey Tail Cactus is a fast-growing plant which is probably good news for the more impatient cactus lovers out there. Its tail grows up to 4 inches in the growing season which is during Spring and Summer.

When the cactus has reached full maturity it can reach up to 3 inches in diameter which explains the thinnish tail-like features. The long monkey tails can grow to be up to 8.2 feet long, so be sure that you place the cactus in a space that can accommodate for the growth, size, and length of its tails.


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Since we are on the topic of choosing the right space size for your Money Tail Cactus, let’s talk about potting for a second. The Monkey Tail succulent has shallow roots, so you won’t need an excessively deep pot to start off with.

It is, however, recommended that you repot your cactus at least once a year after the flowering season.  This is due to the fact that your cactus will have matured after the flowering season and it may need a bigger pot.

Remember to put fresh soil with fresh fertilizer in the new pot to give your Monkey Tail plant a new and clean space to grow in. Also, you should put your cactus in a new pot every year or so to ensure that it is getting its fair share of fresh soil.


Pests To Be Aware for the Monkey Tail Cactus

Pests are every cactus lover’s worst nightmare and unfortunately, the Monkey Tail Cactus isn’t immune from pests either. If you find that your plant has been worn down to such an extent that it looks disfigured and has brown spots on it then your plant is probably infested with Spider Mites.

Spider Mites are small, spider-looking insects that feed off of plants and succulents such as the Monkey Tail Cactus Thankfully, Spider Mites aren’t a death sentence.

If you increase your plant’s moisture by fogging it and watering it repeatedly, the mites will be gone in no time. Another kind of pest that you may encounter on your cactus is Mealybugs.

Mealybugs are small, white insects that are covered in white wax. They love sucking the sap out of cacti which explains why they love the Monkey Tail Cactus so much.

The good news is that there is a fairly easy way to get rid of these pests too. Simply use soap or Neem Oil water spray and spray it onto your plant once per week.

It is important to note that you should quarantine your plant until you get rid of all pests to prevent any of your other plants from getting infested. This will get rid of the mealybugs entirely or prevent them from coming in the first place.

You could also hose down your plant as long as you don’t drown it while doing so.  An insecticide is also a viable option, but you’re going to want to make sure that you don’t use one that harms any of the bug’s predators.

In fact, it may be a better solution to introduce some of the mealybug’s predators to the plant to get rid of them in the long term.  Bye-bye Mealybugs!



The best way to propagate a Monkey Tail Cactus is to cut off a section of its tail before letting it dry and planting it 0.4 inches into soil that is dry in texture.

After roughly a month, the part that is in the dry soil will start growing whereas the part of the tail that was cut will start growing finger-like branches.

If you would like to, you can also cut these branches off to propagate them in the same way as you did the initial one.


Issues to avoid

Beautiful exotic looking plant on display

Naturally, there are a few issues that any Monkey Tail Cactus lover would prefer to avoid. The first one of these issues that we’ll be discussing is overwatering.

It is natural to want to make sure that your plant has enough water, but cacti are extremely heat-tolerant and don’t need as much water as many other plants do.

Overwatering your Monkey Tail Plant could drown it or cause roots to rot which is another problem that you want to avoid. Once your plant gets root rot there isn’t much to do but to use cuttings to restart your plant.  

You are also going to want to avoid an excess of humidity. This could result in parts of the stem rotting which might further result in mold surfacing and as we all know, mold loves to live in decaying turf.

The last thing that you’re going to want to avoid is the yellowing of your plant. This takes place when your Monkey Tail Cactus gets too much direct sunlight.

As mentioned before, it is best to give your cactus strong, indirect sunlight. Full morning sun and partial afternoon shade are usually the way to go.

If you give your plant too much sunlight it might start going yellow in color which is much better to avoid unless you particularly want a yellow cactus.


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Super close up of Monkey Tail Cactus

Now, I’m sure that you still have a few unanswered questions. We’ve taken a look at Sun, Water, Soil, Pests, and Propagation.

It’s time to answer some Frequently Asked Questions about the Monkey Tail Cactus.

Is Monkey Tail Cactus Poisonous?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes. Other cacti may be safe or even edible, but the flesh of the Monkey Tail Cactus is considered to be poisonous to both humans and animals.

So, it’s best not to take a bite of it unless you want to experience dire consequences. Besides, I’m sure that it doesn’t taste that good anyway.

Can you touch a Monkey Tail Cactus?

The answer here is yes and no. You can touch the monkey tail cactus, but its hair might hurt you if you push up against it too tightly. So, it’s best to let the plant’s owner do the work ( if you are not the owner) or to handle the cactus gently and carefully in order to avoid experiencing any painful sensations.

What color flowers does a Monkey Tail Cactus have?

A Monkey Tail Cactus has beautiful, vibrant red or pink flowers. Each flower is 2 inches across which makes them fairly small in size.

They bloom during the growing season which is in Spring and Summer but may bloom during other seasons as well.

Are Monkey Tail Cactus Invasive?

A monkey tail cactus is not an invasive species. It can not bear its own offspring through seedlings like most other plants can and is not able to reproduce in numbers without human assistance. It would need human help in order to reproduce.

Can a Monkey Tail Cactus Multiply?

The only way in which a Monkey Tail plant can multiply is through the process of propagation. To recap, propagation takes place when you put off a piece of the plant’s tail and bury it in the ground.

A new cactus grows from the cutting that you planted which in turn, multiplies the cactus. Without the propagation process, the Monkey Tail succulent would not be able to multiply. As it is with the question above, multiplication is only possible with human assistance.


Is a Monkey Tail Cactus Easy to grow?

Plant store with a variety of plants

The fortunate answer to this question is yes! Monkey Tails are some of the easiest Cactuses to grow. In fact, they are often recommended for beginners and have low water, light, and fertilizing maintenance requirements.

Talk about a hobby that doesn’t need too much work. The Monkey Tail Cactus really has it all.


How do I avoid overwatering my Monkey Tail Cactus?

You can avoid overwatering your Monkey Tail Cactus by waiting for the soil to dry in between watering. By doing this you can make sure that your plant really is thirsty while also being sure that there isn’t excess water left in the soil or roots.

So, if the soil is dry to the touch, it’s time to water your plant again. Otherwise, it is best to wait for a bit until the time is right.


How long does it take for a Monkey Tail’s seeds to germinate?

I’m sure that you are eager for your Monkey Tail seed to start growing. In case you were wondering, or impatiently waiting in anticipation, you may be pleased to realize that it takes 14 to 28 days for the seeds to germinate at a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.



So, there you have it. Everything that you need to know (and more) about the Monkey Tail Cactus. The Monkey Tail Cactus truly is a spectacular plant with its long cascading tails and fine hairs and it is most certainly a sight to behold.

Thankfully, it is also one of the easiest cactuses to grow, so even if you are fairly new to this, the Monkey Tail plant could be just for you.  Just remember to give your plant 10-14 hours of indirect sunlight every day and to water it as needed.

It’s also important to remember to wait for the soil to dry in between watering to avoid overwatering your cactus because this will lead to root rot. If you want your cactus to multiply, simply chop off a piece of the tail, plant it in dry soil, and watch it grow.

Then lastly, don’t forget to steer clear of those pesky, pesky pests like Spider Mites and Mealybugs. Your Monkey Tail Cactus is a product of what you make. So, go out there and give it all of the attention that it deserves.


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