The monkey tail cactus, also known as the rat tail cactus, is a succulent native to Mexico. This cactus gets its name from its long, thin, tail-like stems that can grow up to 3 feet in length.
The monkey tail cactus is a popular plant for indoor and outdoor gardens, as it is relatively easy to care for. However, one of the most challenging aspects of caring for this plant is watering it properly. One mistake can be fatal to the plant.
The first rule of thumb when watering any cactus is too little water rather than too much. Consider watering your monkey tail cactus once every two weeks during spring and summer and once every month during fall and winter. Make sure your planting pot has plenty of drainage holes to allow excess water to drain away properly. Also, remember that the monkey tail cactus is highly sensitive to fluoride and chlorine. So, if you are using tap water to water it, let it sit out for at least 24 hours to allow these chemicals to evaporate.
If you’ve just planted Monkey Tail Cactus for the first time and wondering how to water, this article is for you. We’ll discuss everything including watering your monkey tail cactus, including how often to water it, what type of water to use, and what to do if you think you’ve overwatered your plant. Read on!
Monkey Tail Cactus: General Water Requirements
One of the ways of caring for your monkey tail cactus is to adhere to strict watering requirement. So, what are those basics that apply when it comes to watering your Money Tail Cactus?
As a general rule of thumb, you should water your monkey tail once every two weeks during spring and summer and once every month during winter. However, these are just general guidelines.
The actual frequency with which you water your plant will depend on various factors. Some of the things that play a role include the size of your pot, the type of potting mix you’re using, and the temperature and humidity levels in your home. You should also consider whether or not your plant is receiving enough light.
Generally, it is always better to err on the side of too little water rather than too much. Overwatering is one of the most common mistakes of caring for cacti and succulents, and it can be fatal to your plant.
So, if you’re unsure whether or not to water your monkey tail, it’s always better to wait a few extra days.
Keep in mind that it is relatively easy to revive an underwatered monkey tail cactus, but much more difficult to save an overwatered one.
If you think you may have overwatered your plant, carefully get the plant out of the pot and check the roots. If they are mushy or have started to rot, unfortunately, you cannot do much.
Golden Rules for Watering Monkey Tail Cacti
Now that we have covered the basics of watering monkey tail cacti, let’s go over some specific tips that will make you a pro.
Rule #1: Use the Right Type of Water for Your Monkey Tail Cactus
Ideally, you should use rainwater or distilled water for your plants. This is because tap water often contains high levels of fluoride and chlorine, which can harm your cactus.
If you cannot access rainwater or distilled water, the next best option is to let your tap water sit out for at least 24 hours before using it. This will allow the chemicals to evaporate.
Collect as much rainwater as possible during the rainy season and store it in a clean container for future use. This will ensure you never have to worry about using tap water, which is crucial to your plant health.
Rule #2: Water Your Monkey Tail in the Morning
The best time of day to water your monkey tail is in the morning. This is because the plant will have the entire day to absorb the water and dry out before nighttime.
Always aim for the hours between 6:00am to 10:00am for the best results. When temperatures are cooler, and there is higher humidity.
Watering your cactus in the evening can increase the risk of fungal diseases, as the plant will be sitting in moisture for several hours overnight.
If you cannot water your plant during this time frame, the next best option is to water in the late afternoon, around 4:00 pm.
Rule #3: Check the Soil Before Watering
Before watering your monkey tail cactus, checking the soil is always a good idea. The easiest way to check the soil for moisture is to stick your finger about an inch into the potting mix.
If the soil is dry, it’s time to water. If the soil is still damp, wait a few more days before watering again.
Another way to check the soil is to lift the pot. A pot that is light in weight means the plant is thirsty, while a heavier pot indicates that the plant still has enough moisture.
You can also purchase a moisture meter, which will help you to gauge more accurately when your plant needs water. The moisture meter is usually calibrated to show the percentage of water in the soil, so all you need to do is insert it into the potting mix and read the display.
A meter that reads “dry” means it is time to water, while a reading of “moist” or “wet” means the plant is still hydrated.
Rule #4: Do Not Water on a Schedule
One of the most common mistakes of watering plants is sticking to a rigid schedule. Just because it’s been two weeks since you last watered your monkey tail cactus doesn’t mean it’s time to water again.
The watering frequency will vary depending on the time of year, the size of the pot, the type of potting mix, and the temperature and humidity levels in your home.
In general, smaller pots will need to be watered more frequently than larger pots, and pots placed in direct sunlight need to be watered more often than those in shaded areas.
During the hot summer months, your monkey tail cactus will need to be watered more frequently than during the cooler winter months.
The best way to water your plant is to check the soil before watering and only water when the soil is dry. This may mean watering once a week, or it may mean watering every few days.
The key is paying attention to your plant and water when needed, not on a schedule.
Rule #5: Avoid Getting Water on the Plant’s Foliage
When watering your monkey tail cactus, be careful not to get water on the plant’s foliage. This can cause the plant to rot.
Instead, water at the base of the plant, saturating the potting mix. If possible, use a watering can with a long spout to direct the water exactly where you want it to go.
If you get water on the plant’s foliage, remove any excess moisture with a clean, dry cloth.
Rule #6: Ensure Your Planting Pot Has Plenty of Drainage Holes
Your pot must have adequate drainage to prevent the roots of your monkey tail cactus from rotting.
If you are unsure whether your pot has enough drainage holes, add a few more. It is better to err on the side of too many holes than not enough.
To test drainage, fill the pot with water and then empty it out after a few minutes. If the pot drains quickly, it has adequate drainage. If the water takes longer than five minutes to drain out, add a few more holes to the pot.
Rule #7: Choose the Right Watering Method
You can use different watering methods to water your monkey tail cactus, and the best method for you will depend on the size and type of pot you are using.
The easiest way to water small pots is to submerge the entire pot in a sink or basin of water. Allow the pot to soak for a few minutes, until the potting mix is saturated. Then, remove the pot from the water and allow any excess water to drain before placing it back in its spot.
For larger pots, you can use a watering can, or a garden hose fitted with a spray nozzle. Fill the pot with water, allowing it to soak until the potting mix is saturated, then remove any excess water from the saucer beneath the pot.
Rule #8: Use the Right Potting Mix
When potting or repotting your monkey tail cactus, be sure to use a potting mix designed for cacti and succulents. These mixes are usually light and airy, and they drain well.
Do not use standard potting soil, as it will not drain properly and could cause your plant to rot.
When purchasing a potting mix, read the label and look for one specifically designed for cacti and succulents.
If you can’t find a potting mix specifically designed for cacti, you can make your own by mixing together equal parts sand, perlite, and potting soil.
Monkey tail is one of the easiest plants to care for if you do it right. Following these simple tips can keep your monkey tail cactus healthy and happy! Remember to only water when the soil is dry, and give your plant a good soaking each time you water it.
Avoid letting your plant sit in water, and empty the drip tray after each watering session. With just a little bit of care, your monkey tail cactus will thrive.
Last update on 2023-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API