2024 Guide to Growing and Caring for Monkey Tail Cactus

The Monkey Tail cactus, also known as the Cleistocactus winteri probably owes its name to the looks of its stems, which appear like a monkey’s tail and thus the name Monkey Tail cactus.

Apart from its natural habitat, the Monkey Tail Cactus is can also be grown as a houseplant. A very expressive cactus growing up to 8.2 inches long and branching at the base finds its suitable growing spot among the rocks.

A favorable cactus for the planters as it requires a simple caring routine and has an ornamental approach.

In this article, we will be dealing with various facts about the Monkey Tail Cactus while revealing how to grow a cactus from hildewintera colademononis seeds.

How to Identify

The stems of a Monkey Tail Cactus grow upright initially, and as they mature they’ll become a pendant. When the plant becomes matured each of these stems is around 2.5cm in girth.

The stem has a cylindrical shape and is 3 inches in diameter with a light green hue. It is entirely surrounded by spines.

A single plant can have 3 – 5 stems branching from the base. A baby monkey tail cactus plant grows upright for a couple of feet then the stems become pendant and droops.

Cleistocactus winteri is an attractive cactus with very long white and soft, hair-like golden spines and is also sometimes referred to as the Cleistocactus colademononis. This is one of the preferred type of hanging cactus.

There have often been some arguments regarding the rat tail vs monkey tail cactus comparison as some people regard the appearance of the tail-like structure to resemble a rat’s tail.

Are Rat tail cactus and Monkey tail cactus same?

Yes, they are just same. It’s user’s preferred term.

Monkey Tail Cactus – Types

People often search for variants of the monkey tail cactus and the monkey tail fern is a plant that has been high in demand along with this cactus due to its unique structure of leaves.

We will now be looking into the various types of monkey tail cactus. So, let us continue with our voyage for the cactus.

Soft monkey tail cactus

Soft monkey tail cactus

Do you fancy having succulents in your garden? The soft monkey tail cactus is an absolute beauty that you can never ignore, a wonder for your wild.

Have you got a busy schedule and do not get plenty of time to invest in planting? Do not worry, as this plant requires very little care to survive and is a perfect houseplant. You can also choose to carry it with you if you are constantly traveling.

The plant belongs to the Bolivian lands of Santa Cruz.

Golden monkey tail cactus

Are you looking for low maintenance, fast-growing cacti? The golden tail cactus with its striking appearance is just what you should look like in a unique plant.

Let me tell you something interesting about this cactus. The name comes from the Latin word “kleistos” which means closed. This refers to the blooms of Cleistocactuswinteri.

The golden monkey tail cactus care is something that requires your attention. Be very careful with this tender being. It prefers to grow on cliffs within forests at elevations of 1400 meters above water level.

Donkey tail Cactus

The Donkey tail cactus, also commonly called burro’s tail is a popular and easy-to-grow succulent with rows of fleshy, tear-drop-shaped leaves.

While planted indoors, the succulent is often planted and propagated year-round, while outdoors it does best planted in early spring.

How to Care the plant?

The caring routine for the monkey tail cactus is quite easy once you have mastered the way by knowing it in full detail.

Let me help you with that.

Size & Growth

The monkey tail is an enthusiastic cactus that grows without difficulty in rocky soil in nature.

How fast do monkey tail cactus grow? This cactus has a steady growth rate and if you take good care you would soon be able to see an adult plant. The tail-like stems throttle over the rocky slopes up to a length of 4 feet. They grow upright, but once they gain a height of nearly 2 feet, they fall over and hang.

Light & Temperature

The plant favors indirect sunlight and enjoys partial light from the indoor garden. But if placed outdoors, it can also tolerate the direct sun unless it’s very harsh and threatening.

For this cactus, the morning sun is preferred more than the afternoon sun. The monkey tail cactus has a frost tolerance of up to -2° F.

Monkey Tail Cactus Watering

In the spring and summer seasons, water deeply whenever the soil seems dry as the soil will dry easily during this time.

In the winter season, it is advised to water only when the soil is very dry. Or else, the cold conditions along with moisture will facilitate root rot.


The spring season usually marks the time for flowering and the highest growth rate. You can choose to add low nitrogenous fertilizers which have a suitable amount of potassium level.

Remember to dilute the fertilizer with water before you allow it to your plant. Miracle-gro succulent plant food is a good choice for fertilizing the monkey tail cactus.

Soil Mix

While in the wild, as you already know the monkey tail cactus loves gravelly & sandy soil and grows better in rocky slopes.

You can buy a succulent mix for your plant if you are looking for a ready-made solution. A mixture of perlite along with sandy soil can be a good option for this plant.

Disease & Pest Control

No plants on this planet are devoid of the fact that they would fall ill. Actually, it is true for all living beings. However, if you are aware, you can take early precautions.

So, let us discuss some common diseases so that you are aware of them.


Donkey tail Cactus mealybugs

The mealybugs are often found in a cactus and they attack frequently. The growth can be demolished using a spray of soapy water along with Neem oil.

Spray them once a week in a lighter ratio and repeat them for a couple of weeks to kill the existing ones and prevent further growth in the future. You can also use a water hose to kill the insects.


To get rid of them, you will be required to apply a gentle solution of alcohol using a toothbrush onto the affected leaves.

The scales usually clamp onto the leaves and are hard to remove. Do not hurt your plant, act gently while dealing with scales on your plant.

Do not use a cotton ball as it will stick to the spikes.


They are also referred to as spider mites and are seldom seen on various parts of a cactus and their attack is similar and frequent to that of mealybugs.

In case you note any brown spots on your cactus they can possibly be mites. Have a thorough check! You can cleanse them by pumping & fogging your plant.

Root rot

It is simply the result of overwatering your cactus. The moisture retention in the plant leads to rotting of the rots which can even kill your plant.

It is advisable to check your watering routine immediately in such circumstances. Right watering, ventilation, temperature, and lighting fixtures will help save your plant from root rot.

Potting and Re-potting

Monkey tail cactus doesn’t require a lot of depth due to the fact the roots are shallow and the width of the pot gets determined by the variety of plant you select and the size of it.

It is preferably best grown in hanging plants due to its unique drooping stems.

It grows very fast and sharply and so it is advised that you repot the plant every 2-3 years and also replace the potting mixture.

Make sure that the soil is totally dry earlier than repotting the plant. The new soil ought to be having nutrients with added fertilizers. Aeration and well-draining properties are a must check for the soil of your cactus.

The best time to re-pot your cactus is just after the growing season. If the plant is completely matured, make sure to apply a larger pot.

Propagation from Cuttings

Can you use the monkey tail cactus seeds to grow this succulent? Yes, you can but you need to be extra careful while you buy the seeds. Choose a healthy one from a reputed gardening store.

You can also use a small part of the part and root it in gravelly soil to obtain a new plant by the means of propagation. The monkey tail cactus propagation can be done with ease if you have some prior experience.

However, even if you are a novice gardener, you can do it easily if you follow the below steps.

  • Make a clear cut from an existing plant for the propagation process to begin. Choose a healthy part and cut it a bit longer.
  • Let the cuttings dry for some days before putting them into the soil.
  • Once a callus is formed, you are ready to plant it in the new soil. Make sure the soil is dry enough.
  • a unique way to propagate this cactus is by chopping the cut piece from the portion of the tail and then planting it a few centimeters deep in the new soil.
  • It will take nearly a month for the cut piece to form roots. However, you can start watering after 2 weeks on a plantation.
  • The end of the tail will gradually grow branches and which will look like hands. The branches get twisted as they grow.

Monkey Tail Cactus Flowering

monkey tail Cactus flowering

It produces bright red flowers which are quite wonderful and can be used for decoration purposes even. They are best suited in hanging pots due to their nature of growth.

The bloom is only for a limited period, nearly 3-5 days during the spring season and after that, the flowers turn into fruits.

The monkey’s tail flower is as long as 3 inches and nearly circular with a crimson to a reddish hue. The seeds are spherical although and can be germinated without effort. The stamens usually stick out of the flower and the style is of the best floral shape to facilitate pollination.

You can also come across some variants of the monkey tail flower in the bobbejaan stert plant, where the flowers are pink in color and the growth is only about 5 cm.

Toxicity to Pest & Children

Even though most of the monkey tail cactus plants aren’t poisonous, they’re not 100% safe.

My proposal is to preserve the pots in a safe area wherein pets could not be available in touch along with your cactus.

However, your pets also can harm your monkey tail cactus plant, so keep it in a secure place. Use pet repellent sprays to avoid your pets getting near to the cactus.

Where to buy monkey tail cactus?

There are many websites available from where you can purchase cactus. Some of the popular websites are enlisted below:

The websites provide outstanding offers on plant shopping and you can always find an offer for a monkey tail cactus for sale. South Africa being its native land, you can also find it in the offline stores in the nearest local markets.

You might want to gift a friend in a distant land with a monkey tail cactus; Australia can be your chosen destination. But are you worried about shipping charges? You can now get free shipping for your monkey tail cactus, bunnings is the website that you need to check out for this.


In today’s world which runs with the clock’s ticking, the purchase of succulent as houseplants have greatly increased. The Monkey Tail Cactus is an attractive plant that is easy to grow and propagate. It does not need a great deal of maintenance.

The plant is a good choice to start with for hobbyists who are looking towards having their collection of different-looking and unique cacti plants. You can get your cactus from any online plant boutiques.

Sensitivity to its basic needs and annual rhythms will keep it healthy and provide a talking point for many years. Monkey tail cactus is also fast-growing and very nice looking for a house plant.

I hope that this article will help you a lot by serving as a guide to care for your new monkey tail cactus.

I wish you happy gardening!