Discover the vibrant and easy-to-care-for Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, also known as the Moon Cactus. Explore the different types, care instructions, propagation methods, and common issues of these stunning cacti. Whether you're a seasoned plant enthusiast or a beginner, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to successfully grow and enjoy these eye-catching house plants.


Are you looking for unique and eye-catching house plants to add to your collection? Look no further than Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, also known as the Moon Cactus. These small cacti are loved for their colorful appearance and easy care requirements. In this article, we will explore the different types of Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, their care instructions, propagation methods, and common issues you may encounter. Whether you’re a seasoned plant enthusiast or a beginner, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to successfully grow and enjoy these stunning cacti.

Physical Characteristics of Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is a species of cactus native to South America. It is characterized by its small size, with globular or cylindrical-shaped stems that can reach up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter and 2 inches (5 cm) in height. The stem is covered in distinctive ribs or tubercles and can vary in color, ranging from greenish to pink, red, orange, or even yellow. One unique feature of Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is its lack of spines or its possession of very few and short spines, making it safe to handle.

The Colorful Varieties of Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is known for its colorful and vibrant varieties. These varieties are actually mutations of the species that lack the ability to produce chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for the green color in most plants. As a result, these colorful strains of Gymnocalycium mihanovichii rely on grafting onto the stem of another cactus species for survival. The most popular of these mutations is the “Moon Cactus,” which features a vibrant colored top grafted onto a columnar-shaped host cactus.

Care Instructions for Gymnocalycium Mihanovichii

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, let’s explore how to care for these unique house plants. Here are some essential care instructions:


Gymnocalycium mihanovichii prefers bright indirect light or partial shade. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, as this can lead to sunburn and damage the colorful top. If you notice the top becoming elongated and pale, it may be a sign that the plant is not receiving enough light.


Use a well-draining cactus mix with a low pH for your Gymnocalycium mihanovichii. This type of soil will prevent waterlogged roots and promote healthy growth. You can also add some perlite or pumice to improve drainage.


Allow the soil to dry out partially between waterings. Overwatering can cause root rot, so it’s important to find a balance. In summer, when the plant is actively growing, you may need to water more frequently, but always check the moisture level of the soil before watering. In winter, reduce watering and mist the plant occasionally to provide some humidity.

Temperature and Humidity:

Gymnocalycium mihanovichii prefers temperatures between 50-90°F (10-32°C). It can tolerate cooler temperatures during the winter months but make sure to keep it away from drafts. This cactus also thrives in low humidity environments, making it suitable for indoor conditions.


Regular fertilization is not necessary for Gymnocalycium mihanovichii. However, you can use a balanced cactus fertilizer diluted to half-strength once a month during the growing season (April to September). Suspend fertilization during the dormant winter period.


Pruning is not necessary for Gymnocalycium mihanovichii. However, if you notice any side shoots or offsets growing from the lower rootstock, you can clip them off at the base of the stem to maintain the plant’s compact shape.


Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is not suitable for propagation from seeds or leaf cuttings. However, it can be regrafted onto a new host cactus by cutting the top off a columnar-shaped cactus and joining it with the scion from the old Moon Cactus using rubber bands. This process should be done carefully to ensure successful grafting.

Potting and Repotting:

Repot your Gymnocalycium mihanovichii every three to four years using fresh well-draining soil. Repotting is best done during the warm growing season. Make sure to choose a pot with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.


If you’re growing your Gymnocalycium mihanovichii on a patio or balcony, bring it indoors when the temperature falls below 50°F (10°C). During winter, provide it with temperatures between 50-60°F (10-15°C) to mimic its natural dormant period.

Common Issues and How to Deal with Them

Despite their easy care requirements, Gymnocalycium mihanovichii may face some common issues. Here are a few possible problems you may encounter and how to deal with them:

  • Root Rot: Overwatering and poorly draining soil can lead to root rot in Gymnocalycium mihanovichii. If you notice the base becoming soft and mushy, withhold water and consider regrafting the colorful top onto a new cactus with healthy roots.

  • Pests: While Gymnocalycium mihanovichii is generally pest-free, indoor plants may occasionally suffer from infestations of spider mites or mealybugs. Treat these pests with neem oil or chemical pesticides formulated for houseplants.


Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, or the Moon Cactus, is a fascinating and beautiful addition to any house plant collection. With its vibrant colors and easy care requirements, it’s no wonder why these cacti are so popular. By following the care instructions provided and being mindful of common issues, you can enjoy the unique beauty of Gymnocalycium mihanovichii in your own home. So why not add a touch of color and intrigue to your indoor garden with these delightful cacti?


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