How To Plant, Grow, And Care For A Grafted Cactus
SEP 11, 2021
Succulents are a beautiful, complex plant group with many varieties. The abundance of succulent options to choose from means that everyone has a perfect plant for them that requires minimal work, but results in a gorgeous specimen that will stay with you for years to come. One of the absolute most popular varieties within the succulent family is the majestic cactus.
There is sometimes a bit of confusion in the plant community about the difference between succulents and cacti, but it can be summarized quite succinctly. All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. In order to qualify as a succulent, a plant has to fulfill certain criteria.
All succulents have thick, plump leaves or stems. This is because they store their water within their body so it can be accessed later. By storing water in their leaves or stems, succulents can access those reserves when needed, allowing them to survive for long periods of time without water, and making them able to survive in desert environments. The plumpness of their bodies is actually how they received their name in the first place. A healthy plant will have leaves or a stem that looks distinctly “succulent.”
Another subcategory of succulents and cacti is that of the grafted cactus. A grafted cactus is even more unique because it is formed by two different cacti species growing together and fusing with one another.
Grafted cacti are beautiful and colorful variants made up of two parts: the top cactus (the “scion”), and the bottom cactus (the “rootstock”). The gorgeous Ray Garden from Lula’s Garden includes two pre-planted succulents, one of which is a Yellow Grafted Moon cactus.
The top cactus must be grafted onto the bottom one to survive, as they are not green, and therefore have no chlorophyll. Without chlorophyll, they cannot go through the process of photosynthesis, so are unable to survive on their own. Luckily, through grafting, the gorgeous scion can be attached to the rootstock which contains chlorophyll, and photosynthesis can occur well enough for both parts to survive. The result is a stunning, unique plant that anyone would be lucky to present in their home.
Now that we have covered the basics of what exactly a grafted cactus is, how do you care for it, and ensure that both of its parts remain healthy?
How Often Should You Water Your Grafted Cactus?
The two most important parts of caring for any succulent are water and sunlight, and grafted cacti are no exception. Some of the most common ailments that these plants face are over-exposure, whether it is overwatering or too much direct light. In order to make sure this does not happen to your plant, be sure to pay attention to the signs it is giving you.
Make Sure Not To Underwater
Succulents usually do best when watered every seven to 10 days. This can vary somewhat over the course of a year, as seasons and temperature often alter a succulent’s growth pattern, but there are some other helpful rules to follow that will keep your plant healthy. Check your plant’s soil and see if it is still moist, or if it is entirely dry. If it is entirely dry, it is due for a rewater.
Succulents from Lula’s Garden come with a helpful dropper to make watering a breeze. Use this tool to administer between two and four dropper amounts near the stem of each plant. From there, the plant will easily absorb the provided water into itself to use when it is in need of rehydration.
Take Care Not To Overwater
Grafted cacti (also called “moon cacti”) will show signs of overwatering in their stem. Oftentimes, the rootstock will turn a sickly brown hue in the case of overwatering. This is because of root rot, which generally occurs as a result of overwatering. The good news is that this color change is relatively easy for plant-owners to spot, meaning there may be steps to take in saving the plant before it is too late.
At this point, the plant’s fate depends entirely on the health of its roots. To assess them, remove or dig up the plant from its planter, and see what they look like. Hopefully, the roots appear white, firm, and fresh. If this is the case, replant in a clean pot with new soil, and take care not to overwater again. Otherwise, the roots may appear brown and unhealthy. If this occurs, the plant is unlikely to be able to recover from the overwatering.
Provide Your Grafted Cactus With the Right Amount and Kind of Sunlight
Besides watering your succulents, giving them sunlight is also crucial to their growth and longevity. It may seem simple: just put the plant in the sun, and leave it there. While caring for these plants is fairly straightforward, the kind of sunlight they receive is as important as how much they get.
Succulents thrive under indirect sunlight. This means that they do best not right in the way of the sun’s rays, but near them. To put this to action, place your succulent near a window, but not directly in front of it. If a succulent is placed in direct sunlight for too long, there is a strong possibility that they could receive sun damage that harms their leaves and stem.
Do Not Give Your Grafted Cactus Too Little Sunlight
Grafted cacti and other succulents need a good amount of light to thrive, and this usually translates to about six hours per day of indirect sunlight. This can also vary depending on the weather and the season, so it may need to be out for longer on shorter winter days, and it may be best placed somewhere cooler during summer days.
Do Not Give Your Grafted Cactus Too Much Sunlight
If you notice that your grafted cactus is beginning to brown, this is often a result of it receiving too much direct sunlight. To avoid this, carefully place your succulent in a spot where it receives natural light, but it is not so direct that it might receive damage.
This rule will keep your plant healthy for most of the year, but during the summer some small additional arrangements may be necessary. On very hot days, move your succulent to a shadier spot to avoid any heat or sun damage. Baby plants are even more susceptible to receiving damage, so always keep in mind how your plant is doing and what it might need.
A Grafted Cactus Makes for a Stunning Addition to Any Space
While all succulents provide a stunning and unique addition to any space, a grafted cactus adds a new layer of uniqueness that other plants simply cannot match. This is due to it actually being two different plants fused with one another, working together for both of them to survive and thrive.
The colorful nature of the top cactus makes the green of the bottom cactus stand out even more than usual, and vice versa. They perfectly complement each other, while also keeping one another healthy.
A grafted cactus is the epitome of a symbiotic relationship that is both elegant and productive for both plants. They feed off of each other along with your thoughtful care to be as healthy as possible.
What Are Cacti and Succulents? | International Union for Conservation of Nature
Cacti and Succulents | University of Minnesota Extension