Monkey Tail Cactus ‘Cleistocactus Colademononis’ care: A Comprehensive Care Guide

Have you ever seen a plant that looks like it has a fluffy monkey’s tail hanging off the side? Meet the Monkey Tail Cactus, scientifically known as Cleistocactus Colademononis. This unique and eye-catching cactus can be a delightful addition to your plant collection, but like any plant, it needs the right care to thrive. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your Monkey Tail Cactus happy and healthy.

Monkey tail cactus for sale

Overview of Cleistocactus Colademononis

Origin and Natural Habitat

The Monkey Tail Cactus hails from the mountainous regions of Bolivia, where it clings to rocky outcrops and cliffs. Its natural habitat is characterized by bright light, cool temperatures, and well-draining soil. Understanding where this cactus comes from can help us recreate its ideal growing conditions at home.

Monkey tail

Unique Features and Appearance

The most striking feature of the Monkey Tail Cactus is its long, trailing stems covered in soft, hair-like spines. These stems can grow several feet long and cascade beautifully from hanging baskets or pots. The cactus also produces bright red flowers, adding to its visual appeal.

Monkey tail

Choosing the Right Environment

Ideal Growing Conditions

To mimic the natural habitat of the Monkey Tail Cactus, you need to provide plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. This cactus loves light but can get sunburned if exposed to direct midday sun for too long.

Monkey tail

Light Requirements

Place your Monkey Tail Cactus in a spot where it gets at least six hours of bright, indirect light daily. If you’re growing it indoors, a south-facing window is ideal. In low-light conditions, consider using a grow light to supplement natural light.

Monkey tail

Temperature and Humidity Preferences

This cactus prefers cooler temperatures, ideally between 50°F to 75°F (10°C to 24°C). It can tolerate temperatures down to 40°F (4°C) but should be protected from frost. Unlike many other cacti, the Monkey Tail prefers a bit more humidity, so avoid placing it in very dry environments.

Monkey tail

Planting Monkey Tail Cactus

Soil Requirements

A well-draining soil mix is crucial for this cactus. Use a cactus or succulent potting mix, or create your own by combining regular potting soil with sand and perlite to improve drainage.

Monkey tail

Choosing the Right Pot

Select a pot with drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom. Hanging baskets are a popular choice because they allow the stems to trail freely.

Monkey tail

Planting Steps

  1. Fill the pot with the well-draining soil mix.
  2. Create a small hole for the cactus base.
  3. Place the cactus in the hole and gently firm the soil around it.
  4. Water lightly to settle the soil.

Watering Guidelines

Understanding Watering Needs

Unlike many other cacti, the Monkey Tail Cactus enjoys more frequent watering, especially during the growing season. However, it’s still important to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot.

Monkey tail

Frequency and Amount

Water your Monkey Tail Cactus thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry. In summer, this might be every one to two weeks, while in winter, watering once a month may suffice. Always ensure the water drains completely and never let the cactus sit in water.

Monkey tail

Signs of Overwatering and Underwatering

Overwatering can cause the stems to become mushy and discolored, while underwatering might lead to shriveled, dry stems. Adjust your watering routine if you notice these signs.

Fertilizing Your Cactus

Best Fertilizers for Monkey Tail Cactus

Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer specifically designed for cacti and succulents. Look for a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 formula.

Monkey tail

How Often to Fertilize

During the growing season (spring and summer), fertilize once a month. In the dormant period (fall and winter), reduce feeding to once every two to three months.

Tips for Healthy Growth

Always dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength to avoid burning the roots. Fertilize after watering to prevent nutrient buildup in the soil.

Monkey tail

Pruning and Maintenance

Why Pruning is Necessary

Pruning helps maintain the shape and encourages healthy growth. It can also remove any damaged or diseased parts of the cactus.

How to Prune Correctly

Use sharp, sterile scissors or pruning shears to trim the stems. Cut just above a node to encourage new growth. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the spines.

Monkey tail

Routine Maintenance Tips

Regularly check your cactus for pests and diseases. Clean the pot and replace the top layer of soil annually to prevent pest infestations.

Propagation Methods

Propagation from Cuttings

The Monkey Tail Cactus can be easily propagated from stem cuttings. This method is straightforward and often yields successful results.

Step-by-Step Propagation Guide

  1. Use a sterile knife to cut a healthy stem.
  2. Let the cutting dry for a few days until the cut end calluses over.
  3. Plant the cutting in well-draining soil.
  4. Water sparingly until new growth appears.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid planting the cutting before it has callused, as this can lead to rot. Also, don’t overwater the cutting; keep the soil lightly moist.

Monkey tail

Dealing with Pests and Diseases

Common Pests Affecting Monkey Tail Cactus

Common pests include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can cause discoloration and damage to the cactus.

Signs of Diseases

Watch for signs of fungal infections, such as black spots or a musty smell. Root rot is also a common issue, often caused by overwatering.

Prevention and Treatment Methods

To prevent pests, keep the cactus clean and check regularly for infestations. Treat affected plants with insecticide. For fungal infections, remove affected areas and treat with a fungicide.

Repotting Your Cactus

When and Why to Repot

Repot every two to three years or when the cactus outgrows its pot. Repotting refreshes the soil and provides more space for root growth.

Steps for Successful Repotting

  1. Carefully remove the cactus from its current pot.
  2. Shake off excess soil and inspect the roots.
  3. Place the cactus in a new pot with fresh soil.
  4. Water lightly to settle the soil.

Aftercare Tips

After repotting, keep the cactus in a shaded area for a few days to reduce stress. Resume normal care after one week.

Seasonal Care Tips

Adjusting Care for Different Seasons

Adjust watering and light exposure based on the season. More water and light in summer, less in winter.

Winter Care Specifics

In winter, reduce watering and ensure the cactus is protected from frost. Maintain a cooler temperature to mimic its natural dormant period.

Summer Care Specifics

In summer, provide ample light and regular watering. Increase humidity if the air is very dry.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Yellowing of Stems

Yellow stems often indicate overwatering or insufficient light. Adjust watering and ensure the cactus gets enough light.

Wrinkling or Shriveling

Wrinkled stems can be a sign of underwatering. Increase watering frequency and ensure the soil retains some moisture.

Lack of Flowering

Lack of flowers can result from insufficient light or incorrect temperature. Ensure the cactus has the right conditions to encourage blooming.

Benefits of Growing Monkey Tail Cactus

Aesthetic Appeal

The unique trailing stems and vibrant flowers make the Monkey Tail Cactus a standout plant in any collection.

Air-Purifying Qualities

Like many other cacti, it can help purify the air by removing toxins and increasing oxygen levels.

Low Maintenance Plant

Once established, this cactus is relatively low maintenance, making it ideal for busy or novice gardeners.

Creative Display Ideas

Indoor Display Tips

Hang the cactus in a bright room where its stems can trail down elegantly. Use decorative pots to enhance its visual appeal.

Outdoor Placement Ideas

Place it in a sheltered spot on your patio or balcony, where it can enjoy bright light without direct midday sun.

Using Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are perfect for showcasing the cascading stems of the Monkey Tail Cactus. Ensure the basket has good drainage.

Growing a Monkey Tail Cactus can be a rewarding experience. With its unique appearance and relatively easy care requirements, it’s a fantastic addition to any plant lover’s collection. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your Monkey Tail Cactus healthy and thriving. Happy gardening!


How often should I water my Monkey Tail Cactus?
Water thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry. In summer, this might be every one to two weeks; in winter, once a month may suffice.

Can I grow Monkey Tail Cactus indoors?
Yes, as long as it receives plenty of bright, indirect light. A south-facing window is ideal for indoor growth.

What should I do if my cactus starts to rot?
Remove the affected areas with a sterile knife and allow the cactus to dry. Adjust your watering routine to prevent further issues.

How do I get my Monkey Tail Cactus to bloom?
Ensure it gets enough light and the right temperature. Proper fertilization during the growing season also encourages blooming.

Is Monkey Tail Cactus safe for pets?
While it’s not toxic, the spines can cause injury. Keep it out of reach of pets to prevent any accidents.