Discover the unique and eye-catching Cleistocactus winteri, also known as the Golden Rat Tail or Monkey tail cactus. Learn about its varieties, care instructions, propagation methods, and common issues. Add this fascinating cactus to your collection and enjoy its vibrant beauty indoors or outdoors.


Are you looking to add a unique and eye-catching houseplant to your collection? Look no further than Cleistocactus winteri, also known as the Golden Rat Tail or Monkey tail cactus. With its long, fuzzy stems and vibrant blooms, this columnar cactus is sure to be a standout in any indoor or outdoor space. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different varieties of Cleistocactus winteri, their care requirements, propagation methods, and common issues. So, let’s dive in and discover why Cleistocactus winteri is a must-have for any plant enthusiast.

Varieties of Cleistocactus Winteri

Cleistocactus winteri is a fascinating cactus with various subspecies and common varieties. The most common varieties of Cleistocactus winteri are Cleistocactus winteri subsp. colademonis and Cleistocactus winteri subsp. winteri. These varieties are also known as Cola de Mono, Colademono, and Monkey tail cactus[^3].


Cleistocactus winteri is a columnar cactus that forms large tangled mounds. Its green shoots can hang or creep and reach heights of up to 90 centimeters (35 in)[^3]. The stems are approximately 2 to 2.5 centimeters (3/4 to 1 in) in diameter and have 16 to 17 ribs, which are covered in many short bristly golden spines[^3]. The cactus produces salmon-pink, tube-shaped flowers that bloom in spring and summer, measuring 4 to 5 centimeters (1 1/2 to 2 1/4 in) in length and 5 centimeters (2 in) in diameter[^3].

Care Instructions

To ensure the healthy growth of your Cleistocactus winteri, it is important to provide the right growing conditions.

Growing Conditions

Cleistocactus winteri thrives in well-draining soil and full sun. It may benefit from light shade during the afternoon in hot climates[^5]. When grown indoors, place the cactus near a sunny window to provide it with bright, indirect sunlight[^7].


During the summer months, water your Cleistocactus winteri when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil dries out. In the fall, reduce watering to every five weeks if the soil dries out, and in winter, keep the soil dry to prevent root rot[^5].


During the active growth period, typically in spring, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer to provide the necessary nutrients for your Cleistocactus winteri. A slow-release fertilizer applied in spring should be sufficient for the entire year[^5].


Cleistocactus winteri can be propagated through different methods, including cutting branches and rooting them. However, this method may leave a disfiguring scar near the base of the main stem. Another recommended method is to raise Cleistocactus winteri from seeds[^5].

Common Issues

While Cleistocactus winteri is generally a hardy plant, it can still face some common issues. Keep an eye out for infestations by mealybugs and spider mites, which can be treated with appropriate insecticides[^9]. Additionally, overwatering can lead to root rot, so it is important to follow proper watering practices and ensure the soil dries out between waterings[^9].


Cleistocactus winteri, with its unique appearance and easy care requirements, is a fantastic addition to any houseplant collection. Whether you choose the Golden Rat Tail or Monkey tail cactus variety, this columnar cactus will surely add a touch of beauty to your indoor or outdoor space. With the right growing conditions, proper watering, and regular care, your Cleistocactus winteri will thrive and become a focal point in your home. So, why not bring home this fascinating cactus and enjoy the beauty it brings to your space?


[^3]: Cleistocactus winteri – Wikipedia.
[^5]: How to Grow and Care for Cleistocactus – World of Succulents.
[^7]: Golden Rat Tail Cactus Guide: How to Care for “Cleistocactus Winteri” – Garden Beast.
[^9]: Common Pests Of Succulents – Fighting Cactus And Succulent Pests – Gardening Know How.