Moon Cactus Growing Arms | 6 Facts About This Suspicious Event |

The moon cactus is an attractive cactus which is commonly called as ruby ball cactus or red cap cactus. But why is my moon cactus growing arms ? Is it a normal thing or a rare incident? 

Let me explain this to you in this important article.

Moon Cactus growing arms

Why is my moon cactus growing arms?

Moon cactus arms are stems grown from the rootstock or the host cactus.

You all know that moon cactus is a grafted cactus. The most used host cactus to graft moon cactus is dragon fruit cactus.

Moon cactus cannot survive on their own since they cannot produce energy due to lack of chlorophyll.

Hence why, you need to graft them with a host cactus. The host cactus has a relatively longer lifetime when compared to the upper part of the plant.

On the other hand, the top part of the moon cactus would act in contrast to the down part of the cactus. It will start forming arms naturally. They usually form in clusters around the larger plant. 

When you see any arms growing you need to remove them so that the scion or upper part can grow well.

Further when you cut them it would make the moon cactus absorb more nutrients. Unless these arms could gain more nutrients.

Why do cactus grow arms?

The main purpose of growing cactus arms of cactus is to conserve water. They will start forming a few arms at first and as they grow, they will start forming more and more arms.

There are certain cactus types which would take many years to form arms. 

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Further there could be some cactus which form arms for a better growth of the flowering and on the seed production. 

On the other hand, some cactus would produce arms when they are running short of adequate sunlight. When they do not get adequate sunlight, they tend to make arms and try reaching the best possible light source they can get.

 In addition to that, over watering and exposing them to intense temperature levels could also cause the cactus to produce arms.

Finally, if you have grown the cactus in a soil mix which has a higher level of nitrogen, it could also cause them to produce arms. 

If you are providing the adequate nutrients and adequate sunlight level and water precisely your cactus will not make arms. 

Moon Cactus growing arms

Why is my succulent growing an arm?

The reasons for the succulents to grow arms are as follows, 

First, you could spot succulents forming arms when they are running short of adequate levels of sunlight.

The initial indication of forming arms would be, turning and stretching towards the light source where they can reach.

When they keep growing further, they will tend to get taller whilst keeping more space between the leaves.

On many occasions, you could spot the leaves are smaller than the regular size and lighter in color than the regular colors.

When the succulents run short of adequate sunlight, they usually lose the regular color of them.

Further there could be some succulents which naturally produce arms as well. They would get leggy as they grow over time and it is best to trim them off.

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When you compare the rest of other succulents, they would prefer to stay in compact rosette formations, and you do not have to trim them quite often.

Apart from the aforesaid facts, succulents tend to make arms, when they get a low light level as well. This would be a quite common cause especially when you are growing succulents indoors.

What to do when your cactus grows an arm?

You could simply remove those arms and repot them individually in pots to root. They may not grow very well. But you can try. 

Do you need to cut off the moon cactus arms?

To answer this, yes you should cut off the moon cactus arm. If you wish your moon cactus to thrive well, you need to cut off its extra limb.

However, whenever you make the cutting, make sure that you make it closer to the rootstock. Further you may use cinnamon to cover the hole on the mother stem. 

Moon Cactus growing arms 2 1

Can we avoid moon cactus arms?

It is not easy to avoid moon cactus arms. As mentioned above these arms are created to improve the plants water storage. That is their natural drive.

However you can try to increase watering and reduce the moon cactus arms. But it is not a permanent solution and overwatering might harm your plant roots.


There are various colors of moon cactus, and they would be yellow, orange and bicolor versions of the moon cactus.

There could be certain moon cactus which you could spot in pink given that they get the specific growing conditions.

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So, if you own a moon cactus which has formed arms, I’m sure you know the reason behind it and how to take care of them. Happy gardening!

Credit to CactusCove
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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.