Acanthorhipsalis monacantha, also referred to as Pfeiffera monacantha or the one-spined wickerware cactus, is a multi-branching and epiphytic cactus that has its origins in several parts of Bolivia and Argentina. The stems of this plant are green, thick, flat and fleshy, usually growing downward once they mature. The flowers are orange.
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It is certainly possible to grow and care for Acanthorhipsalis monacantha in your home. This plant requires simple and infrequent care, with some conditions that favor its growth mentioned below.
Whether you place your Acanthorhipsalis monacantha plant on a balcony, desk, windowsill or other location, it is crucial to ensure that you do not expose it to extremely bright and direct sunlight. Allow filtered sunlight to fall on the plant for a few hours in the morning and then ensure that it gets enough shade for the remaining part of the day.
Too much light on this plant can stunt its growth and lead to burnt or spotted leaves.
Acanthorhipsalis monacantha requires a lot more water as compared to other cacti species. Thus, during its growing season (spring and summer), you should water this plant regularly and frequently while also providing sufficient amounts of water. To figure out a routine for watering, keep track of the soil and water it only once it is dry.
You should also keep misting the leaves throughout the year if you live in an arid climate. Avoid watering too much in winter but do not stop it entirely either.
You can use rich potting soil for Acanthorhipsalis monacantha instead of a simple cactus mix. Make sure this soil is highly organic by adding elements and materials like peat, moss, sand, pumice, leaves, branches and more. The sand and pumice can help loosen the soil up to make it well draining while the others can make it more nutrient rich.
You should keep the soil pH slightly acidic to neutral but never alkaline.
Thinned and balanced fertilizers can help boost the growth rate and overall health of the Acanthorhipsalis monacantha plant by supplying it with some necessary nutrients. You can feed the soil in this manner about once a month throughout the growing season, but you should cease feeding it in the fall and winter months.
You can also add some other organic fertilizing options, such as manure, to the soil once every growing season.
Warm and humid climates can be ideal for this cactus. Acanthorhipsalis monacantha does not do too well in extreme temperatures, whether too hot or too cold. Thus, if you live in extreme conditions, make sure you grow and care for the plant indoors by maintaining proper temperatures.
This plant is hardy up to USDA zones 10-11.
Root rot is a common disease that can affect Acanthorhipsalis monacantha, but this is only if you overwater it. Similarly, if there are some unsuitable conditions in this plant’s care, some pests like mealybugs, scales, spider mites and aphids might develop and ruin parts of the plant.
You can care for the plant well to avoid these, but if they are already present, use some natural oils or mild fungicides to get rid of them.
The stems of Acanthorhipsalis monacantha can usually grow quickly while also growing quite long and creeping closer to the ground. At the start of every growing season, therefore, you can carry out some routine but careful pruning to get rid of some of the older growth so that the plant continues to look neat.
You can use a wide clay or ceramic pot with a drainage hole for growing Acanthorhipsalis monacantha. Hanging pots can work well here too. Once the plant grows big enough, you can repot it into a larger pot with a combination of fresh and some old soil to prevent shock.
You can make use of seeds to propagate Acanthorhipsalis monacantha, but this process can be fairly slow and can require some extra care and caution. Nonetheless, if you obtain the seeds of this plant, you can germinate them and sow them in a pot filled with suitable soil. Let the plant get used to small amounts of light before exposing it to more sunlight.
You can also make use of leaf or stem cuttings to propagate this plant if you want an easier method.
- Use scissors, shears or a knife (all sterilized) to cut the stem or leaf from a mature plant of the same kind.
- Make sure you remove the soil or dust present on the stem or leaf and apply some rooting hormone to encourage quick rooting.
- Allow a few days for the stem or leaf to develop a callous.
- You can now take a pot filled with soil and sow the stem or leaf in it without submerging it completely inside.
- Place the plant in a suitable location and take good care of it.