How to Graft Moon Cactus: Propagate Without Grafting Possible?

Grafting is one such technique which looks quite scary to do but believe me if you can do that then you can possibly graft any cactus not just Moon Cactus. As you know these cacti species are strong plants that if broken can regrow as strong as the previous stem. Here I will teach you about the tool you need and which cactus is suitable for this work ,and how you will perform this full method with easy steps.

Those who already have cactus know that they require less care , Even Highly tolerable to Direct Sun for hours, doesn’t die like other plants or even doesn’t get infestation of pests and disease that easily.  Lets Move to the Topic.

Grafting is kind of propagation but it is done on 2 different plants, In Case of Moon Cactus , there are 2 Separate Cactus Variety. Basically What happens here One Plant is unable to make food so it needs another plant which makes the food through photosynthesis, As you know the green pigment is where chlorophyll exists and that is where plants absorb sunlight and make their food.

This way they get energy just like we humans eat food and get strength for the walk, they get strength to grow and survive. It is also important to know if they are compatible with each other and be able to live as one and grow together.

First timer, May Feel like they are harming the cacti by cutting but this is again  a very strong plant so don’t worry. You might think that a big portion of top has been cut down but it will still survive , the only thing you should note before cutting is sterilize the tool so that it doesn’t get any bacterial infection.

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Also I advise not to graft your loved plant & if you have any plant which is only for show and you are not connected by heart then go with that cacti. It is always nice to see a plant growing from 2 different species and doing that by self is also a first lifetime experience.

In the Markets there are So many grafted cacti but you never noticed it because they merge with each other like they were born together. These little colorful cactus come with 4 different colors that are red , orange, yellow, pink and there are also many we didn’t know but are there as members in the family of Cactaceae.

The Top or Gymnocalycium mihanovichii or moon cactus was mutated into another color other than green and lost the chlorophyll which makes the food. It needs a supportive plant to survive which already has chlorophyll  otherwise they die as seedlings and you can’t regrow it. That’s why a fresh healthy green base is needed.

Want to Purchase Moon Cactus ?  Links are bottom of the Article.

Specification :

Family Cactaceae
Scientific Name Gymnocalycium mihanovichii
Other Names Red Cap, Ruby Ball Cactus,Hibotan cacti and Red Hibotan
Native South America
Plant Type Perennial
USDA Hardiness Zone  11, 12
Flower Color Red, Pink, Yellow, Orange
Soil Cacti Mix & Well Drained
Water Little Bit Depend on Moist
Light Partial Shade
Fertilizer Not Required But Used

More Information : Moon Cactus – Information, Care, Propagation Guide

Grafting Tools

Rubber Bands / Thread – It was required to hold the top cacti which is placed on the lower cactus and this helps to make sure they don’t separate and also it is the time when they join themselves and start becoming one.

Grafting Blaze/Knife – You need a good sharp cutting tool for this work and it needs to do a perfect slice not too thick.

Rubbing alcohol : This is needed to clean the grafting knife so we don’t get any infection on our cacti.

Gloves for Safety : We are dealing with sharp objects & I don’t and you also don’t want to cut your hand with the sharp tool. So advises you to always wear gloves for your own safety.

Selecting Rootstock for Moon Cactus

Firstly let’s talk about some terms used in grafting , this is where people get confused when they directly go into an article where they talk words that are new to gardeners who just started the propagation and rooting techniques.

A Cactus which is already growing in the pot and we are going to cut the top portion of it to make space for our moon cactus. You can cut down it half or just top, it’s your choice. This lower part is known as Rootstock.

The Top part which is the actual cactus that doesn’t survive without chlorophyll or not has a mechanism to make its food. The top stock is termed as scion that is actually attached to the main green rootstock.

There are limitation on which kind of cactus species are allowed to be used to grafting purpose. This can only be done if there are 2 cactus that are related to each other , then the chances of grafting can be possible. Generally it has been seen that same species cactus can be able to graft better than the other such species. Also those who come from the same genus can grow together and they can also work. Plants that are not related sometimes also work but it’s a rare chance and you can always do experiments but before that you need to do research.

Here are some of the cactus that can be used as rootstock:

  • Strawberry Pear Cactus (Hylocereus trigonus)
  • Peruvian Apple cactus (Cereus repandus)

Generally you can search them with their scientific names, Mostly I have seen grafting with hylocereus trigonus, but you are free to try with any cacti you got. These 2 are the best ones that work for any fresher and Always make sure the rootstock and the scion you choose must be healthy and free from diseases.

Mature rootstock can work as that will be established in the pot for a longer period. Scion should be double checked if the lower is getting brown then it might have spoiled. In that case you can return it to the owner, If the lower portion of scion is brown that can be grafted by slicing the lower very thin layer and then put it back and do grafting method again.

Lets Now check how to Do grafting in moon cactus:

How to Graft Moon cactus

Grafting can be different types and it was different based on the purpose, sometimes you need to cut the portion & stick the other part there. Let’s check grafting step by step instructions :

  1. First You Need to Buy a Moon Cactus(Gymnocalycium mihanovichii), You can select any color you want like red , orange or yellow. Also You need the base rootstock , I am Using Hylocereus trigonus that should be healthy , green , strong.
  2. Now Use Rubbing alcohol to Clean the sharp knife for grafting. This basically disinfects the blade after that no bacteria or virus exist.
  3. Cut the Top(about 10-20%) of your hylocereus and trim the edges of your green cactus downward.
  4. Once you sliced the top , You will notice there is a ring or circle or tube , this is called xylem goes inwards and phloem goes outwards. These 2 live in growth tissue called vascular cambium which is present in stems and roots. This tissue makes a new xylem.
  5. Now move to what you need to do is match this ring shape with the moon cactus slice ring. This is where you need to do it carefully as it will either make your plant or destroy the moon cactus.
  6. if you still manage to match with half portion of ring connected it will grow but slower. Here slicing also plays the role as if you cut it well and it matches perfectly then no worries.
  7. Do the same with the G. mihanovichii. and it should also have those rings at the center, you need to match with the rootstock ring.
  8. Now both the cactus need to be attached to each other and stick using rubber bands. Putting them around the top to the bottom of the pot. Make sure it is tight so it doesn’t lose its position. Below I have given a picture you can check that , You have to do that, Also I will mention a Detailed video on how to do this rubber band thing.
  9. It takes around 14-21 days of time to grow and you can then remove the rubber band as they were attached successfully. Very Lightly remove the bands otherwise you might hurt the plant.
  10. Still if you are failed then try again, Don’t lose hope.

Nowadays this cactus is available in many online websites and they come as grafted and If you are interested to purchase below is the link.

How to propagate moon cactus without grafting

Due to its lack of chlorophyll, the moon cactus (Gymnocalycium mihanovichii) is primarily spread by grafting. However, you can attempt to spread it using seeds or offsets (pups), though success rates might be lower.

  • Moon cactus sometimes produces offsets (pups). Make use of a clean, disinfected knife or pair of scissors to gently remove the offset. Place the offset in a well-draining cactus mix after allowing the sliced surface to callus and dry for a few days. While the offset is establishing roots, keep the soil just a little moist and give it some indirect sunlight.
  • If a ripe moon cactus fruit is present, gather its seeds. The seeds should be washed, dried, and then sown in a cactus mix that drains well. Place the container in a warm, well-lit area while maintaining the soil’s moisture. It may take weeks for seeds to germinate. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are big enough to handle.

Moon cactus rootstock

To give moon cactus the nutrition and energy it needs to thrive, rootstock is often grafted onto it. The Hylocereus genus, especially Hylocereus undatus (Dragon Fruit cactus), is the most popular rootstock used for grafting moon cacti. This rootstock is perfect since it has a high degree of compatibility with the moon cactus, grows quickly, and is hardy.

Best rootstock for grafting cactus

The compatibility, growth rate, and hardiness of the species determine the optimal rootstock for cactus grafting. Typical rootstocks for cactus grafting include:

  • The Moon Cactus and other Gymnocalycium species thrive on Hylocereus undatus (Dragon Fruit Cactus).
  • A variety of cactus species may be grown using Trichocereus spachianus, often known as the Golden Torch cactus.
  • Due to its high development rate, Pereskiopsis spathulata is used for grafting tiny seedlings and slow-growing species.

What to do with moon cactus pups

The pups (offsets) of the moon cactus may be taken out and used to generate new plants. Follow these steps to accomplish this:

  • Carefully detach the pup from the parent plant using a clean, disinfected knife or pair of scissors.
  • Give the cut area a few days to callus and dry.
  • Put the puppy in a cactus mixture that drains nicely.
  • Maintain a tiny moisture in the dirt and give the pup some indirect sunshine as it grows roots.

How to graft cactus

To graft a cactus, do the following:

  • Select the cactus you want to graft and a rootstock that is compatible with it.
  • To avoid contamination, sterilize your cutting implements.
  • Flatten the rootstock by cutting it horizontally.
  • Cut the scion at an angle to free it from the parent plant.
  • Aligning the vascular tissue (visible ring or lines) of both plants, place the scion on the rootstock.
  • With the use of grafting tape, rubber bands, or another similar tool, fasten the scion to the rootstock.
  • Keep the grafted cactus in a warm, shady area for 2 to 6 weeks, or until the scion and rootstock have united.
  • Resuming routine maintenance and gradually reintroducing the grafted cactus to sunlight.

Cactus grafting compatibility

For cactus grafting to be effective, compatibility is essential. Cacti belonging to the same family or genus often have better compatibility rates. Growth rate, vascular tissue alignment, and environmental needs are variables that affect compatibility. To have a high success rate, it is crucial to do thorough study on the individual species you are grafting. Determining compatibility may also be accomplished by experimenting with various combinations.

Grafting cactus and succulents

Although grafting cacti is most common, succulents can also be grafted. A succulent plant’s vigor, beauty, or pace of development may all be enhanced by grafting. Not all succulents, nevertheless, are appropriate for grafting. Compatibility is crucial for a good graft, just as it is for cacti. Succulents from the same family or genus are often more compatible with one another.

To graft a succulent, follow a similar process as for cacti:

  1. Select the succulent you want to graft onto a compatible rootstock.
  2. To avoid contamination, sterilize your cutting implements.
  3. Flatten the rootstock by cutting it horizontally.
  4. Cut the scion at an angle to free it from the parent plant.
  5. Aligning the vascular tissue (visible ring or lines) of both plants, place the scion on the rootstock.
  6. With the use of grafting tape, rubber bands, or another similar tool, fasten the scion to the rootstock.
  7. Once the grafted succulent’s scion and rootstock have fused (usually 2–6 weeks), keep it in a warm, shaded area.
  8. Resuming routine maintenance, gradually re-expose the grafted succulent to sunshine.


Keep in mind that grafting succulents and cacti successfully requires skill and experimenting. Always do your homework on how well the plants you want to graft get along, and be ready for some trial and error.

Recommended Links:

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Thank you for reading.

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

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