Monkey Tail Succulent: Does It Bloom?

While some Monkey Tail plants bloom, they are grown primarily for the unique appearance of their leaves. Monkey Tails are drought tolerant and low maintenance, perfect for anyone new to gardening.

The monkey tail succulent is a popular houseplant known for its unique appearance. This succulent gets its name from the long, thin leaves that resemble a monkey’s tail. While this plant is easy to care for, many people wonder whether it blooms or not. This is especially so considering the succulent’s name.

So does a monkey tail bloom? Yes, it does bloom. However, it is not a very prolific bloomer and typically only flowers once or twice a year. The blooms are small and bright red or pink, and they appear on the end of the long leaves. Flowers only last a few days before turning into little fruits.

Facts about the monkey tail plant

  • Monkey tail’s origin can be traced to the Bolivian rainforest in South America.
  • They are a member of the Euphorbia family, which includes more than 2000 species of succulents and cacti.
  • The monkey tail is a dioecious plant, meaning that it produces male and female flowers on separate plants.
  • Monkey tails can live for more than 30 years if they are well cared for.
  • It features greenish-yellow stems that can reach up to 12 inches long and are covered in tiny spines.
  • The monkey tail has fleshy leaves that resemble the shape of a mouse’s tail and grow up to two or three inches long.
  • The leaves are green in color and have a bluish-purple tint that turns red when exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Its signature dropping stems are covered with small spines that help protect the plant from predators.
  • The monkey tail’s flowers are light pink or red and less than an inch in diameter at the top of its long stems.
  • They thrive best in hanging baskets or pots with well-draining soil and plenty of light when grown indoors.

Best blooming season for monkey tail cactus

Monkey tail is famed for blooming sporadically throughout the year, with its main season being spring and summer. The flowers will last for about three days before wilting and turning into a small red fruit.

However, some monkey tails can bloom in autumn or even winter with the right conditions. The flowers will be smaller in winter, but they will still offer a splash of color to your garden.

Monkey tail cactus flowering.
The flowers will last for about three days before wilting and turning into a small red fruit.

While the monkey tail is not a particularly prolific bloomer, it’s still exciting to see those bright red flowers popping up on the end of its long leaves. So if you’re looking for a succulent that blooms occasionally, the monkey tail is a great option.

How to encourage blooming for monkey tail

If you’re looking to encourage monkey tail blooming, there are several things that you can do.

Light Exposure

Monkey tails need a lot of light to bloom. If your plant isn’t getting enough sun, it may not bloom at all or even die. So make sure that the room where your monkey tail is located receives ample light during the day.

For better results, make sure it gets at least four hours of direct sunlight each day for the plant’s hormones to develop and produce flowers. You can achieve direct sunlight by placing your plant near a south-facing window with no obstructions.

Watering

Like most succulents, monkey tails don’t need watering often. In fact, overwatering can lead to root rot and death. So wait until the top inch of soil feels dry before watering your plant again.

Monkey tail cactus in a pot.
You can also place your succulent in a tray of gravel or rocks to help keep it moist.

Always ensure you’re using a pot with drainage holes to escape the excess water. You can also place your succulent in a tray of gravel or rocks to help keep it moist.

Proper watering helps encourage blooming as the plant is happy and thriving.

Temperature

Monkey tails prefer warm temperatures, daytime temperatures between 55-70F, and nighttime temps around 50-55F. They thrive best in USDA hardiness zones ten through twelve, with no frosts or freezes during winter months. If you live in a colder climate, you can grow your monkey tail succulent indoors.

Fertilizing

A balanced fertilizer, such as a 20-20-20, should be used every other month when the plant is actively growing. Foliar feeding with a liquid seaweed or kelp solution can also help boost blooming.

Considering the monkey tail plant blooms sporadically, fertilizing is unnecessary every month.

Repotting

If your monkey tail doesn’t bloom at the right season, it could result from stunted growth. By repotting your monkey tail, it will encourage growth and blooming. Make sure to repot during the summer months to avoid shocking your plant with cold temperatures while its roots are exposed.

A person repotting a plant.
Make sure to repot during the summer months.

When repotting a monkey tail succulent, choose a pot two inches larger than the previous one and use well-draining soil such as cactus mix or succulent soil.

A Look at monkey tail flowers

Monkey tail’s bright red flowers are a beautiful addition to any garden. They are star-shaped and grow in clusters on the end of the succulent’s long stems. The flower features five petals and a yellow center.

You may also notice that your monkey tail has small leaves forming on the flower stems after it’s bloomed. These leaves will eventually grow into succulents of their own if you allow them to stay on your plant for a few weeks.

Monkey tail cactus flower.
They are star-shaped and grow in clusters on the end of the succulent’s long stems.

Since they do not last long, the flowers will fade to a brownish red and eventually dry out. Before then, you can let the flowers remain on your plant as they will still be beautiful.

Alternatively, monkey tail flowers can be harvested and dried in arrangements or as potpourri. The flowers will last for several months if dried correctly.

Can you touch monkey tail stems?

The monkey tail plant is known to be toxic when eaten. However, there are no reports of the succulent being poisonous if touched. However, its stem features sharp spines that can irritate.

At a glance, you may be fooled to believe the stem is soft to the touch, but it isn’t. To avoid any harmful effects, wear gloves when handling your monkey tail plant to prevent injury.

How to propagate monkey tail cactus

You can propagate your monkey tail succulent by division or seed.

To divide the plant, gently remove it from its pot and tap off some soil. You’ll notice that one side is thicker than the other. Cut through this area to produce two different plants. This method will also help bloom your plant faster.

A monkey tail in a small pot.
You can propagate your monkey tail succulent by division or seed.

If propagating by seed, place the seeds in a soil-less mix and keep moist. Once germinated, transplant into individual pots. It will usually take around four to six weeks for the monkey tail succulent to sprout.

What is the difference between monkey tail cactus and rat tail cactus?

The rat tail cactus is a close relative of the monkey tail succulent. They are both from the genus Echeveria and have very similar care requirements. However, the monkey tail stems are usually longer than the rat tail and do not branch out.

The monkey tail succulent is also known as Echeveria setosa, but its scientific name has changed over time to Aporocactus flagelliformis. Other common names include orchid cactus and rat-tail cactus due to its long stem resembling a rat’s tail.

The rat tail cactus has wider, flatter leaves that are triangular. Its stem is also less spiny and more cylindrical. The flowers on a rat tail cactus are also smaller and less showy than those on a monkey tail succulent.

Does monkey tail bloom better indoors or outdoors?

The monkey tail succulent blooms best outdoors in full sun. However, it can also be grown indoors but make sure to place it in a bright spot with lots of direct sunlight. Indoor monkey tail succulents may not flower as often as those grown outdoors.

This succulent grows best in a south-facing window that gets plenty of sun during the summer months. You may not need to water as often but make sure the soil is dry between watering.

What type of soil does monkey tail like?

The monkey tail succulent likes a well-draining soil such as cactus mix or succulent soil. Do not use regular potting soil as it will retain too much water and cause root rot.

You can also mix in some sand or perlite to help improve drainage. Proper soil also helps encourage blooming since it will promote root growth.

Final Word

The monkey tail cactus is a wonder succulent that is easy to care for and adds a touch of beauty to any room. With its long, spiny stem and showy flowers, it’s no wonder this succulent has become so popular. Just make sure you provide plenty of sun and well-draining soil, and your monkey tail will thrive.

While its flowers may not last very long, the plant itself will continue to grow and bloom for years. So, don’t worry if your monkey tail succulent doesn’t flower immediately. By following these simple blooming tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful plant for a long time.

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