How Long Do Moon Cactus Live - Moon Cactus Lifespan

Written by Ivy

Jan 29 2023

How Long Do Moon Cactus Live - Moon Cactus Lifespan

In general, the lifespan of moon cacti is quite short. These cacti have a one- to three-year lifespan average. Some plants can live for five years or longer if given the right care and attention. The moon cacti, however, will quickly die if improper care is not taken of them. The moon cactus only lasts a few months for many people. It's crucial to conduct research and learn about the specialized care and attention that moon cacti require if you're thinking about buying one.

Let's examine how to take care of a moon cactus so that it lives a long and healthy life. How long do moon cacti live will be addressed.' in more detail.

What is a Moon Cactus?


The Moon Cactus is a hybrid plant made by crossing two distinct cacti species. The Hylocereus is grafted onto the Gymnocalycium mihanovichii to create a moon cactus.

A diminutive species of cactus called Gymnocalycium mihanovichii was first found in South American nations. This cactus is a lovely shade of grey-green with a spherical shape.

Eiji Watanabe created the Moon Cactus in 1937 in Japan. He experimented by grafting 10,000 Gymnocalycium mihanovichii seedlings with other varieties of cactus to produce the cactus.

As his plants lacked chlorophyll, a pigment essential for photosynthesis and essential for the production of energy and healthy plant growth, Watanabe produced cacti with intriguing colorations. He was able to make cacti in other colors because this pigment wasn't present. The moon cactus is fascinating and beautiful, but because it lacks chlorophyll, it can't endure for very long.

How Grafting Affects the Moon Cactus Life Span

How moon cacti are created has the biggest impact on how long they live. Grafting is a technique used in horticulture to join two plants to create a hybrid species that combines the best traits of both. Grafting is a popular method for ornamental and fruit trees.

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii was used as the scion and Hylocereus was used as the rootstock to create the Moon Cactus. However, moon cacti are slightly different and are frequently referred to as problematic grafted plants because their lifespans are not as long as those of the two parent species.

The two types of cacti that were combined to create this hybrid cactus are incompatible, which is its main drawback. While the Hylocereus can reach heights of up to thirty feet, the Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is a diminutive cactus that only reaches a few inches in height.

It is difficult to take care of a moon cactus because of the two types' different requirements. Less water is needed for a Gymnocalycium mihanovichii to grow in the shade. Additionally, because it lacks chlorophyll, growing it in direct sunlight can result in sunburn. The Hylocereus prefers full sun and will only tolerate light shade.

The Moon Cactus has a short lifespan because it is really two separate plants, each with distinct needs, and one of them almost acts as a parasite, feeding off the other.

Why is the Moon Cactus Lifespan Short?

  • As a result of the two plants being joined, the moon cactus has a short lifespan.
  • Chlorophyll is absent from the top of the moon cactus (the bright ball), which prevents it from producing food for itself.
  • Its top part cannot support itself on its own because it cannot produce food items. Its ability to grow and survive depends on its capacity to prepare food from the lower section.
  • Additionally, the rootstock's top portion will soon perish as it emerges from the pot. The primary cause is probably that.
  • The root plant of the cactus grows more quickly than the scion plant because the two plants grow at different rates from one another.

Extending the Life of a Moon Cactus

You might be able to graft a new rootstock onto the scion of your moon cactus in order to increase its lifespan. A Cereus, Trichocereus, or Hylocereus cactus can be used as a source of new rootstock. For the two to work together more effectively, make sure your new rootstock is roughly the same size as the scion.

Cut the scion close to the old rootstock and make a clean cut at the top of the new rootstock. Ensure that your scion has no old rootstocks attached. The circle that can be seen in both plants' cross-sections can then be aligned by placing the two pieces side by side. Apply tape or a rubber band to firmly join the two pieces. The two pieces will not come together entirely for about two months.

The rootstock you removed can be planted and will grow back.


Duration of Light

A hybrid of two distinct cacti, this dwarf cactus. The amount of sunlight that a single cactus requires might not be enough for it. Due to the variety of cacti, each of which requires a different amount of light, bright light and partial shade would be the best conditions. 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day are needed by the plant.


These plants grow very easily in typical conditions at room temperature and thrive in warm climates. The moon cactus will succumb to frost if they are not properly cared for, though. Therefore, if you want to protect this kind of plant from the winter's freezing temperatures, please keep it indoors.

Water Requirements of Moon Cactus

The moon cactus needs a lot of water, just like many other succulents. You can water it more frequently in the warmer months than you can in the winter. Always wait for the soil to become completely dry before watering it again. To avoid standing water at the bottom of the pot that would eventually rot its roots, unglazed pots with lots of drainage holes are best; a thin layer of gravel in its pot ensures that doesn't happen!


If drainage is an issue, moon cacti grow well in a mixture of regular potting soil and pumice or perlite. This plant thrives best in very rich organic matter-containing soils with pH levels that are neutral. To avoid root rot, it is best to wait a few days before watering a Moon Cactus if the soil has had too much moisture.


As a result of their slow growth, moon cacti don't require frequent repotting. The height of Moon Cacti varies depending on the rootstock. They typically reach a height of 4 inches or so and then stop growing. There are ten centimeters in this. The Moon cactus has a variable size that ranges from 1.1 to 1.9 inches (3 to 5 centimeters).

Cacti can be grown by simply feeding them with cactus food once a month during the growing season. If not, keep it that way throughout the winter months.


In grafting, the scion is the portion of the plant that is chosen to perform a specific function, which is frequently fruit production or the development of ornamental features. However, for the scion to live and grow, the rootstock must be able to meet its needs.
Read More: Can Moon Cactus Flower Bloom?

Common Problems With Moon Cactus

Like most houseplant cacti, the moon cactus is rather durable and easy to maintain, but there are a few things you need to be wary of:

  1. Color Is Faded

A moon cactus's vibrant top may have faded because it was exposed to too much direct sunlight, which caused the pigmentation to wash out. Such plants can be relocated to a location that receives bright, diffused light instead.

  1. Plant Begins to Collapse

A cactus should only be watered once or possibly twice per month, depending on how hot your home is. Overwatering can be harmful to the plant. Therefore, you should avoid overwatering to prevent root rot, which can cause the plant to succumb.


  1. Upper Ball Is Detaching

It is common for the two cacti species to grow at different rates, which can occasionally result in their graft breaking after a few years. When this sort of thing happens, it might be necessary to try a different transplanting method by taking the top of one and wiring it onto the rootstock of another cactus.

  1. Edges of the Colorful Scion Turn Brown

A plant needs water and sunlight to start growing. The plant will gradually wither away in the absence of enough of these nutrients. If the plant is receiving too much direct sunlight, you should move it away from it when the colorful top portion begins to turn brown around the edges.


Maintaining and growing a Moon Cactus is fraught with difficulties. The majority of people who purchase moon cacti are unable to properly care for the plant, and it only lives for a few months, while some are able to maintain the plants for one to three years. The moon cactus cannot be kept alive for more than five years, not even by seasoned cacti collectors.