Growing the Mistletoe Cactus: A Step-by-Step Guide

on May 28 at 02:33 PM

The holidays are upon us, and you know what that means? Time to House Plant Gardening get your mistletoe cactus, aka columnar arboreal cactus (also affectionately referred to as kissing cactus), into prime shape for holiday viewing. This particular type of cactus is a festive one that looks especially pretty at this time of year. Growing it indoors is simple if you follow these instructions on how to grow a mistletoe cactus. If you’re looking for the perfect houseplant that’s also ideal for bringing some cheer to your home at this time of year, a mistletoe cactus might be just right for you. It’s an interesting plant with very distinctive features, which makes it perfect not only as an indoor plant but also as a Christmas gift or even something fun to bring home from vacation. However, growing a mistletoe cactus isn’t exactly easy—but don’t worry! Read on to discover everything you need to know about caring for one of these plants so that yours thrives throughout the season.


So, What Is a Mistletoe Cactus?

Mistletoe cactus is a very specific type of plant—it’s actually a columnar arboreal cactus that’s native to Northern Mexico. This is a succulent plant that grows in a very particular way and really only thrives in a few specific environments. Mistletoe cacti are known for their beautiful round growths that start out green but eventually fade to a tan or brown color. They also have very distinctive white “spines” that grow in a spiral pattern along the edges of each “bud.”


Why Grow a Mistletoe Cactus?

Despite its specific requirements, mistletoe cactus is actually a very easy plant to keep alive indoors. It’s a relatively low-maintenance plant that will thrive with a little bit of attention. These plants are relatively long-lived, and it’s not uncommon for them to last for several years when cared for correctly. They’re also very attractive plants that are guaranteed to be a conversation starter. Mistletoe cacti are particularly good for indoor environments because they don’t produce much excess water or humidity, which can be a problem in some homes. In fact, mistletoe cactus is one of the few plants that’s recommended for growing in bathrooms, as a high level of humidity isn’t recommended in these spaces.


Tips for Growing a Mistletoe Cactus

If you want your cactus to thrive, there are a few key things that you’ll need to keep in mind when growing it. First off, mistletoe cacti like to be kept in a fairly bright environment. It’s best to give them as much light as possible, but avoid direct sunlight that could burn their leaves or lead to the formation of too much chlorophyll. Mistletoe cacti thrive best in an environment that’s moist but not soaking wet. Watering them appropriately will help them to stay healthy while avoiding root rot. It’s best to water your cactus once every week or two, depending on how quickly the soil dries out.


Should You Buy a Mistletoe Cactus?

If you’re looking to buy a mistletoe cactus, it’s best to buy it during the winter months when nurseries and other outlets will typically be restocking their inventory. This is because mistletoe cacti actually go into a sort of dormancy in the summer months and aren’t at their peak during this time. Mistletoe cacti aren’t particularly expensive plants to purchase. You can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $25 for one that’s healthy and ready to be planted. If you’re looking to buy one, be sure to check for any wilting or browning of leaves. Mistletoe cacti usually come potted in a loose, spongy mixture that’s meant to be their growing medium. Before you plant it, be sure to give the soil a thorough rinsing in cool water to eliminate any potential pests.


Mistletoe Cactus Care Guide

If you follow these instructions on how to care for a mistletoe cactus, you’ll be well on your way to growing a healthy and beautiful plant. For starters, mistletoe cacti are best suited to be grown in a loose, well-draining soil that’s kept slightly moist at all times. Avoid overwatering these plants, but don’t let them dry out completely. Mistletoe cacti can either be grown in a pot or directly in the ground—the best way to go about it will depend on your specific situation. If growing yours indoors, a pot is the best option. You can also attempt to grow one in a pot in a smaller outdoor garden. If you want to grow a mistletoe cactus in a larger garden or outside, choose a container that’s at least 18 inches deep and has good drainage.


Bottom line

Mistletoe cacti make excellent indoor plants that are easy to care for and beautiful to look at. If you follow these instructions on how to grow one, you’ll be well on your way to growing a healthy and beautiful plant. These plants are particularly good for indoor environments because they don’t produce much humidity and are relatively easy to care for. Mistletoe cacti make excellent gifts and are easy to find at this time of year. If you’re looking to buy one, be sure to check it for any wilting or browning of leaves and avoid buying one that looks overly dry.


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