Coral cactus lifespan varies from 1 to 2 years up to 10 years. But they rarely get to the 10 year maximum life span. Normally they only live up to 1 to 2 years.
During their lifespan, they would grow up to a maximum height of 20 inches.
Coral cactus require a minor maintenance from you and if you manage to fulfil their basic growing requirements, they could thrive well and live for several decades.
What is coral cactus ?
To briefly touch on the coral cactus, they are grafted cactus which consist of two different succulents.
They contain a toxic sap as well. Hence, you need to be vigilant when interacting with the plants.
The graft gives them a coral like appearance and due to that they have inherited the name called coral cactus.
Candelabra plant, crested candelabra plant, crested elkhorn are a few common names which are used to call them.
Why are they short lived?
As described above coral cactus are grafted species and they only survive long if two grafted plants get along well. Otherwise coral cactus have to face many complications.
Read more about graft coral cactus here in our article about Moon Cactus Grafting | 12 Incredibly Important Facts |
How to treat coral cactus for maximum life.
Sunlight and Temperature
USDA hardiness zones 10-11 are perfect for coral cactus and best is to grow them outdoors if you live in those conditions.
However, if you do live in other areas, you should protect the plants from bringing them indoors.
Unless the extreme winter conditions would be unhealthy for the plants and lead to health deterioration. In terms of the best temperature, best would be to grow them in a temperature range between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
You could grow coral cactus in full sunlight. However, ensure that you protect the plants from harsh sunlight especially during summertime.
Ideally you need to expose them for partial shade during such conditions so that you could avoid any sunburns in the plants.
Further if you have grown the plants indoors and wish to bring them outdoors, you need to gradually expose them to full sunlight outdoors.
On the other hand, if you have grown them indoors, you need to go ahead with a spot where the plants can get at least 3-5 hours of sunlight daily.
Not only that but also, make it a habit to rotate the plant so that the whole plant can get sun light evenly.
Water and humidity
One important thing to remember when watering these plants is to not to water them if you are unsure if their soil is soggy or dry.
Having said that, coral cactus cannot thrive without water for too long too. Moreover, they cannot tolerate soggy and damp conditions also.
In case if you provide them water in abundance, it will lead to root rot.
Best is to check the soil condition and then commence watering them. if the top layer of the soil is dry, you could go ahead and if it is still soggy, you need to wait for a couple of days and then water.
Water the soil directly without watering the plant. Observe properly whether the excess water is running from the pot too.
If you spot your coral cactus is droopy or wilted, those are signs of under watering. under watering could be harmful for the crest of the plant and it could further result in fungal infections if it prevails for prolonged periods.
In terms of watering frequency, you need to water them more frequently during spring and summer.
On the other hand, you need to minimize watering the plants during winter and fall as coral cactus go dormant in those periods.
It is important that they have a good aeration as that will help the plants to survive even in the humid conditions. Having said that you need to keep an eye for powdery mildew if there are high humidity levels.
Cactus in general thrive well in well-draining soil mix and coral cactus is no different to them.
You could easily go ahead with cactus soil mix to grow them as they would perfectly fit in for them. In terms of the right pH levels of the coral cactus could be slightly alkaline or slightly acidic.
If you fail to provide a well-draining soil mix, it will retain excess moisture in the soil mix and lead to bacterial infections.
You need to consider applying fertilizers for coral cactus during their active growing seasons which usually fall in spring and summer.
Further ensure that you are using a fertilizer which is diluted to ¼ strength and then use. In terms of feeding frequency, it could be once every fortnight.
Further you could feed them even less if you have grown them in rich soil.
Suspend feeding them during fall and winter as they would be in a relaxing mode during these periods and do not depend on additional nutrients.
I do not recommend you to feed them with slow release or granular fertilizers as they could cause fertilizer burns of the plants.
Grooming and maintenance
You do not need to groom the coral cactus if they are healthy and have grown vigorously. In addition to that you should watch out for the pests which could invade the plants.
Best is to conduct regular check ups on the plants so that you could treat them well in advance and avoid further repercussions.
Trust this article was helpful for you and it helped you to educate yourself on how to take care of the plants well which will consequently allow the plants to live longer.