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The complete Dog tail Cactus care guide

Want to add a Dog tail Cactus to your houseplant collection? They are beautiful and easy to care for! Here’s my complete Dog tail Cactus care guide!

This spring, I decided that I wanted to add hanging plants to our upper front porch. This porch already had 2 hooks in place for hanging baskets.

The spot gets full sun for a portion of the day and had previously burnt up several of my plants.

So, I went to Lowes and was looking for things with tags that said FULL SUN.

I was really excited to find a Dog Tail cactus. It’s now been a couple of months and this plant is thriving on my covered porch!

dog tail cactus in a hanging pot

What is Dog tail Cactus?

Dog Tail cactus is a really interesting cactus because it is creeping. This means that the branches grow long – like vines – and the trailing stems will even wrap around things like branches!

These plants are perfect for hanging baskets or anywhere where they can really sprawl out.

Other names for Dogtail Cactus include:

  • Strophocactus testudo
  • Selenicereus testudo
  • Deamia testudo
  • Puppy Dog Tail Cactus (usually a young plant)
dog tail cactus in a hanging pot

Dog tail Cactus origins

Dog tail cacti are originally from the South American rainforest. Dogtail cactus is naturally epiphytic. This means that they grow in the nooks and crannies of trees. In the wild, these plants can grow 6 to 9 feet long!

Is Dog tail Cactus rare?

I do not consider this type of cactus to be rare – I got it at Lowes after all! That being said it’s not the most common plant – but you will see it at box stores from time to time. It’s carried by Costa Farms which makes it widespread.

Is Dog tail Cactus toxic?

Dog tail cactus is not toxic, but the small almost soft bristles can get stuck in skin very easily. I’d definitely keep these away from pets and kids.

dog tail cactus care guide

Dog tail Cactus care guide

Dog tail cacti are really easy to care for plants!

Dog tail Cactus watering

These plants only want to be watered when the soil is dry. Do not over water them – the plant will rot.

Consider bottom watering this plant to keep the stems from getting wet (and potentially rotting!)

Be sure that the pot has drainage holes to avoid pooling water from excessive watering.

Read my guide on drilling drainage holes in pots!

Consider adding a small layer of fine gravel on top of the soil to be sure that no water pools around the base of the plant.

How often should I water my Dog tail Cactus?

Only water your plant when the soil is fully dried out.

Should I mist my Dog tail Cactus?

You don’t need to mist your dog tail cactus, but they do enjoy higher humidity than many succulents – which is a big reason that they do well indoors (or outdoors in my humid summers!)

dog tail cactus in a hanging pot

Dog tail Cactus lighting needs

Dogtail cactus can take full sun and needs at least partial sun.

If the stems are looking thin, pale, or weak, it probably is not getting enough sun!

Can I keep Dog tail Cactus outdoors?

Yes, these plants love being outdoors in the sun. But, it cannot tolerate frost. Move the plant indoors once temperatures drop below 50 degrees.

dog tail cactus in a hanging pot

Dog tail Cactus soil + potting

Use a cactus mix potting soil for dog tail cacti. This soil is quick draining and will help to prevent root rot (when paired with proper drainage holes).

Does Dog tail Cactus like to be root bound?

Dog tail cactus grows slowly and is unlikely to get root bound. You are more likely to see aerial roots, which indicate that your plant wants a larger pot.

Dog tail Cactus fertilization

You can give your dogtail cacti a fertilizer made for cactus plants. Only give fertilizer in the warm growing months and follow the appropriate dosage on your fertilizer.

dog tail cactus in a hanging pot

How to propagate Dog tail Cactus

It is extremely easy to propagate dog tail cactus in soil.

In fact, my plant had some broken branches when transporting it home from the store.

Let the cut/broken end of the cutting dry up (or callous) for 24-48 hours then stick the end in soil. It will root in place!

Troubleshooting Dog tail Cactus

Why is my dog tail cactus limp?

A limp dogtail cactus is almost always overwatered and/or has pooling water in the pot. Be careful to let the plant dry out between waterings!

Why is my dog tail cactus turning yellow?

If your plant is shriveled, wrinkled, and yellow, that indicates under watering. If your plant is mushy and yellow, that indicates over watering.

How do I get my dog’s tail cactus to bloom?

These plants usually bloom between March and July. They like to have a few weeks of cooler nights in the spring and then bright full sun to encourage blooms!

Why does my dog tail cactus have aerial roots?

Aerial roots usually indicate that your plant needs a larger pot or to be planted deeper in well draining soil. Aerial roots can also suggest that your plant is under watered – so consider increasing your watering schedule!

Any more questions about dog tail cactus?

Thanks for reading!

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