How to Grow Monkey Tail Cactus (Cleistocactus Colademononis)

The monkey tail cactus is native to the central part of Mexico, but it also grows wild in other parts of the southwestern United States.

This cactus can grow up to 10 feet high, with fleshy arms that dangle from its trunk, creating a nice, dramatic accent for a landscape.

However, because of its long arms and its tendency to droop, the monkey tail cactus is best kept out of the sun. In the hottest months, it’s recommended to water it regularly.

Succulents are a group of well-known plants with water-filled thick leaves and branches. They also have the ability to withstand harsh climates.

These plants are popular because they require little maintenance and can survive in harsh environments. This is especially important if you are constantly moving around.

Succulent gardening is becoming a popular hobby. When properly cared for, succulents are very uncomplicated to grow.

Cleistocactus Colademononis (Monkey Tail Cactus) is a great plant, whether you have a garden outside or inside your home.

It is easy to propagate and care for. With the right care, this plant will flourish and produce beautiful flowers.

The Monkey Tail Cactus is known by the scientific term Hildewintera Colademononis. It originated from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. It is epilithic, meaning it grows on rocks high above the jungle floor.

This guide will give you all the information to care for and grow fabulous-looking Monkey’s Tail plants.

The Monkey Tail Cactus’ Characteristics

The plant’s name is probably due to its stems that resemble the tail of a monkey. You might think that certain rats have an appearance similar to this plant.

These stems have a greenish-yellow appearance with soft spines that extend downwards from the stem. They can be soft and safe to touch.

One plant may have up to 5 stems. The bottom stems are the ones that branch. After growing up straight for a while, the stems drop down and become pendant-like.

These plants produce striking, red flowers, perfect for ornamental purposes. They only bloom for a short time before they become fruits.

The Monkey Tail Cactus can also be used as a houseplant. Due to their distinctive drooping stems, hanging monkey tail plants are preferred by most people.

How fast is the growth of Monkey’s Tail Cactus?

This species is well-known for its rapid growth. They are very fast-growing and vigorous. They will usually grow about a foot before they begin to droop. On average, it takes between 12 and 18 inches before they start to droop.

They can grow to incredible lengths, so be sure you have enough space.

The monkey’s tail cactus have black seeds that anybody can germinate easily. However, you must provide the proper conditions.

You need to have light soil, good drainage, and well-ventilated rooms.

It thrives in sandy or loamy soils and this plant can also grow well in dry soils. Overwatering can lead to the death of the roots and stems.

You should not water the plant in winter or fall as it can freeze.

When does Monkey’s Tail Cactus Bloom?

The fantastic thing about monkey’s tail cactus flowers is their ability to grow to 3 inches in length!

These flowers will turn into a reddish-colored, spherical seed that germinates easily over time.

Because they prefer warmer temperatures for flowering, they bloom most often during the spring and summer seasons. It can also bloom in autumn and winter.

It all depends on the climate. Many locations allow the Monkey Tail Cactus to flower during these seasons.

 How to Properly Care for Monkey Tail Cactus Plants

Monkey Tail Cactus maintenance is simple. This cactus, like various succulent plants, takes little maintenance to grow. It will thrive in a suitable place for its needs indefinitely.

Here’s some essential information on taking care of Monkey Tail Cactus plants. 

Sunlight Exposure & Requirements

  • The Monkey Tail Cactus can thrive in either full sun or partial shade.
  • Even though it may survive in shady areas, this plant needs a minimum of 5 hours’ worth of full sunlight each day to grow.
  • The cactus will eventually become spindly and weak if exposed to too much sun.
  • Too much sunlight might cause the plan to burn, yet excessive shade can weaken it.
  • It is best to have windows that face east or west if you grow indoors.
  • To get the most sunlight in winter, position the cactus to face south.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure during the midday hours when growing outdoors as it can burn the cactus.

Watering needs

  • Monkey Tail Cactus plants don’t require much water. A frequent mistake that new owners make with cactus plants is overwatering. This mistake is also the simplest to correct.
  • Your plant should be watered approximately once every two weeks to soak it thoroughly. After an hour, drain any water remaining in the planter.
  • Allowing the soil to dry before and after watering is critical, as is never allowing the plant to stay soaked in water.
  • You may need to water your cactus more often if it is located near a sunny area. You will have to water your cactus more often if it has been left outside in the summer.
  • Your cactus may require water only once every couple of weeks in winter. 

Requirements for Soil

  • Monkey Tail Cactus plants require that it is drained well and porous in nature.
  • Clay soils and soils with poor absorption of water do not support its growth.
  • A cactus potting mix can be used to deal with this soil.
  • You can also make your own potting mix by mixing perlite, coarse soil, and potting dirt in equal amounts. 

Requirements for Temperature

  • The temperature range for Monkey Tail Cactus is 9°F to 86°F.
  • If your house is in a location that is below 10degC/50degF in winter, you should take extra precautions to safeguard your plants from getting frostbite.
  • The Monkey Tail Cactus is a cactus native to Central America. It’s mostly found in moist forests.
  • Monkey tail cacti do not have to be in humid environments to thrive. They can survive indoors in comparatively lower humidity settings. 


  • Although the Monkey Tail Cactus doesn’t require fertilization, it is recommended to fertilize it each month when it’s spring or summer – the ultimate growing season.
  • This is a great way to avoid nutritional deficiencies and encourage flowers to grow.
  • You can use a diluted liquid fertilizer to avoid excess.
  • It is essential not to give excessive fertilizer since it can cause damage to the cactus.
  • Avoid giving your cactus food in winter. It will go into dormancy and may not be able to take on any nutrients.


  • When it comes to potting and repotting the Monkey Tail Cactus, they don’t require too much attention. You need to place them in the correct size pot and use the best potting mix.
  • Because of its flexibility to shape into different forms, the Monkey Tail Cactus is often used in arrangements that can hang.
  • The Monkey Tail can get quite large when potted, so you should place it in a container suitable to support the growth.
  • It should be at least 10 inches (25cm) wide. However, if you put the plant in something like a hanging arrangement, it will be able to grow taller.
  • You can prevent root rot by using a pot that has drain holes at the bottom.
  • Potting is as simple as filling half the pot with potting soil. Do not put pressure by pressing the cactus down. This will cause it to become damaged.
  • You should first remove roots that are already dead or in the process of dying before you plant your cactus. This will keep root rot at bay.
  • The optimum time to replant a cactus is in the spring or summer when it is just starting to grow again.
  • Replanting cactus flowers after they have dried is the best way to go. However, this will vary depending on your location. You’ll need enough time for the Monkey Tail Cactus to heal after replanting.
  • You don’t want your plant to grow big, so keep them in smaller pots. After several years, you can report the plant in a bigger pot. 

Trimming and Cutting

  • The Monkey Tail Cactus doesn’t require any trimming or cutting.
  • To extend the life of your cactus, you can plant your cactus in a much larger pot if it has outgrown its original place.
  • You can easily separate your cacti if they are too crowded. Simply use something sharp, like a knife or shears, to cut the stems.
  • You can remove stems that are dead or in the process of dying by separating them to make the branches look better.
  • You should remove the dead sections near the base. If the rot is left linked to other plant parts, it might spread.

Pests and Other Diseases

  • Pest and disease resistance is common among Monkey Tail Cactus.
  • They can also be harmed by pests such as mealybugs and spider mites.
  • Several of the cacti species can also be affected by fungal and bacterial diseases. Powdery mildew is one common example. 

Spider Mites

  • These are a pest that can be found in cacti.
  • These sap-sucking insects live under leaves and have the ability to quickly spread to other healthier sections of the plant, causing it to become severely weakened with time.
  • Spider mites can be identified by yellow patches/edges on leaves as well as webbing that some species produce.
  • You can remove spider mites from your plant by thoroughly washing it with soapy water. 


  • Mealybugs, tiny white bugs, suck the juice from Monkey Tail Cactus plants and inflict severe damage to stems, leaves, flowers, and roots.
  • Mealybugs can be identified by the honeydew excrement and cotton-like white mass that they leave on the cactus leaves.
  • Mealybugs can be removed by blotting with a cotton pad or ball dipped in rubbing alcohol or cleaning it with soapy water.

Scale Insects

  • These insects are flattened, clear bugs that leech off of the juices of your plants.
  • You won’t be able to see them moving around as they are inimical pests.
  • Scale insects can be identified by the shell-like look on your cactus stems.
  • You can remove scale insects from your cactus using a cotton pad or ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. 

Powdery Mildew

  • This is a fungus that causes the cactus to rot.
  • The powder-like white substance that coats the stems or leaves of your plants makes it easy to identify. Although it has a similar appearance to most fungi, the powdery texture distinguishes it.
  • Powdery mildew can quickly spread among other cacti. To prevent further infection, keep your plant in isolation.
  • Powdery mildew can be removed by washing your plant with soapy water or using a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and water.

Does Monkey Tail Grow Better Indoors Or Outdoors?

Indoor monkey tail succulents might not flower as frequently as those grown outside.

The succulent thrives in a sunny window with lots of sunlight during summer. Although you may not need to water as often, it is crucial to ensure that the soil is well-drained between watering.

What is the Ideal Growth Environment for the Monkey Tail Cactus?

If given the right conditions, the Monkey Tail Cactus seeds germinate easily. It is essential that the soil be well-aerated, light, and drain quickly. It thrives on well-drained loamy and sandy soils.

You should only water this plant in the spring and summer and when the area feels dry. Over-watering can lead to the death of the roots and stems.

Avoid watering during winter and cold seasons. This could cause frosting, which can lead to the plant’s death.

Monkey’s Tail Cactus, one of the few species that can endure severe temperatures that fall below freezing point, is one of the most endangered cactus plants.

This is the cactus’ dormant phase. It then becomes active and produces flowers in the summer and spring seasons. It can thrive in either direct or indirect sunlight.

What Type of Soil does the Monkey Tail Like?

The monkey tail succulent prefers well-draining soil like cactus mixture or succulent soil. Regular potting soil can retain too much water, which can cause root rot.

To improve drainage, you can add sand or perlite. Good soil will encourage root growth and blooming.

Common Concerns about the Monkey Tail Cactus

Overwatering or excessive humidity are the leading causes of Monkey Tail problems. Overwatering can cause the stem to turn yellow and ultimately die.

The roots will also rot if they are overwatered, and the stem can also rot if it is too humid. Mold thrives on decaying material.

Many pests can survive undetected between the Monkey Tail Cactus’ hairs. Mealybugs, small, oval-shaped, light grey insects, are very common.

They look like mildew and have a powdery appearance. They can’t fly, but they seem to invade plants and quickly breed.

These parasites prefer cacti. They drink the plant’s sap and produce honeydew which is a sticky material that ants, germs, and fungi get attracted to.

You should quarantine the plant until you have eradicated all pests. Mealybugs can be eradicated with a high-pressure water spray. Be careful not to drown the Cactus.

Small spider mites are insects that are reddish-brown in color and can cause severe damage to plants and are difficult to spot. They build web structures on the leaves undersides.

Numerous brown spots are the result of their damage. It is important to remove infected leaves. The cactus should be kept separately and then sprayed under pressure with water.

This could require multiple applications. Make sure that you are explicitly targeting spider mites when using an insecticide. These natural predators could be introduced to the outside environment as a long-term solution.

Another insect that creates honeydew is the scale. The scale is protected by this sticky material, which attracts ants.

You should look out for mealybugs and scale if you see ants. The exoskeleton of scales is resistant to pesticides and can be eliminated by using rubbing alcohol.

How to Propagate the Monkey Tail Cactus?

The Monkey’s Tail Cactus can take care of itself in its natural environment. If you’d like to cultivate this cactus in your garden, you must follow specific rules.

Otherwise, the plant will not thrive. Monkey Tail Cactus seeds are pretty straightforward to germinate. However, you can also use cuttings in propagation.

The spring and summer seasons are when stem cuttings become extremely fertile, as they are the best times for development and growth.

Let the cuttings dry out for several days to allow them to develop callouts before you put them in the soil.

To support growth during the plant’s active and growing seasons, you should employ a fertilizer with low nitrogen content.

You can make this fertilizer less strong by mixing it with water. One application is sufficient for the entire year.

Cutting Propagation

The trimmings of the Monkey Tail plant can be used to reproduce in a garden setting. These strong roots can be seen developing from mature plant stems close to the soil.

If you don’t clip the furry sections, you can dry the cut hairy stem segments of the adult plant and lay them on sandy, loamy soil or dry loamy soil. You’ll notice adventitious root growth in around 10 days.

Grafting Propagation

The seedlings need at least three years to fully mature to show their gorgeous long hairs. seed multiplication takes a long time, especially in mass cultivation.

A Monkey Tail Cactus that’s been grafted can promote maturity and speed up the development of longer hair. But this can result in excessive cactus needle development.

Furthermore, the presence of rootstocks that have been grafted can have an impact on the typical vertical plant pot morphology. This is why this sort of Monkey Tail Cactus is utilized for fast commercial reproduction.

Planting Monkey Tail Cactus Seeds

The seeds of the Monkey Tail Cactus are black. If the conditions are right, they can germinate very quickly. The soil must be well aerated, light, and drain quickly before the seeds can be planted.

Sandy and loamy soils work well for the cactus seedlings. You can mix it with other soils. It is also free of pathogens and prevents root rot.

These are the steps you need to take in order to plant your own Monkey Tail Cactus.

Step 1: Put your preferred cactus mixture in a clay terracotta container. The soil should be gently firmed and leveled. Next, spread the Monkey Tail seeds all over the soil. Place them in a shallow area.

Step 2: Carefully sprinkle vermiculite or fine grit on the seeds. Cover the entire soil surface. Place the pot on a windowsill or greenhouse to conserve soil moisture. Cover it with a transparent bag.

Step 3: The seedlings will begin to sprout in weeks. When the soil becomes dry, get rid of the transparent bag from it and water it.

Step 4: Seedlings are ready to transplant the following spring. Gently extract individual cacti with the help of a fork or spoon. You must be cautious so as to not let the spikes pierce you.

Step 5: Fill up a container with grainy soil and gently place the Monkey Tail seedling. To ensure that the seedlings do not sit inclined, make use of tweezers.

Step 6: Cover the seed with soil and water it only when dried. Arrange sand around your seeds using the spoon. Keep it in a bright spot, like your windowsill.

FAQs about the Monkey Tail Cactus

Is the Monkey Tail poisonous or not?

Both humans and animals are allergic to the flesh of this plant. The hairs can be painful if pressed too hard.

Children and pets may be discouraged from trying them. It is advised to keep the plants out of reach of children and pets.

Is the Monkey Tail Invading?

When pieces of the plant are broken off, they can propagate themselves. It will spread if it is given the right environment.

You might consider growing it in a controlled environment if you are fortunate enough to have natural propagation.

How can you get Monkey Tail Cactus to flower?

To get your Monkey Tail Cactus to bloom, you need to keep the soil dry in the late fall and winter. The plant will need to rest for a few months in a cool place.

Your Monkey Tail Cactus will bloom during this dormant time. Remember to keep the fertilizer out of the pot and water it well.

Is the Rat Tail Cactus and the Monkey Tail Cactus the same?

A closely related plant to the Monkey Tail Cactus is the rat tail cactus. They are both members of the Echeveria genus and require similar care.

Monkey tail stems, however, are generally longer in comparison to the rat tail stems and don’t branch out.

Echeveria Setosa is another name for the Monkey Tail Cactus. However, now its scientific term is Aporocactus Flagelliformis.

The orchid cactus is another common name for the rat-tail cactus because of its long stem that resembles a rat’s tail.

Triangular, broader leaves are the identification of the rat tail cactus. It has a shorter stem that is more cylindrical and spinier.

A rat tail cactus’ flowers are smaller than and not as striking as the Monkey Tail Cactus’.


In conclusion, the Monkey Tail Cactus plants grow only in California. It grows in dry, rocky areas, usually in desert areas. They are 2-4 feet tall and have purple or reddish stems.

The stalks have spines. The pads have spines too. The spines may have different lengths, colors, and shapes.

The pads grow up to 3 inches in diameter. The pads are green. The flowers grow in clusters. They bloom from July to October. The flowers are white or cream.

The Monkey Tail Cactus is a beautiful succulent that is low maintenance and enhances the beauty of any space.

This succulent is a popular choice because of its long, spiky stem and beautiful flowers. Your monkey tail will flourish if you give it plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil.

Although the flowers won’t last for very long, they will still grow and blossom for many years. Don’t be discouraged if the Monkey Tail Cactus you have doesn’t bloom immediately.

These simple tips will help you to prolong the life of your plant.

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