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QUESTION: I have grown some monkey tail cactus seedlings in a Ziploc bag covered container. I recently took the bag off and need to know what to do now. I'm terrified my baby plants will die. When do I transplant? How much water and what temperature?

Please help me!!

ANSWER: Hi Brandi,

Your question is instructive because it highlights the problem with the all too common use of common rather than botanical names for plants. I know of at least five very different plants species that are commonly referred to as Monkey Tail. They all have very different requirements, so I cannot help you without knowing just what plant species you have. I might guess, but that could lead you down the wrong road entirely.

Do you have a botanical name, such as Cleistocacus for example, that would allow me to know what you have and give you proper advice? Was there a photo on the seed packet or in the catalog that you can share with me?

Best regards,

~Will Creed

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I'm sorry! It is called hildewintera colademononis. I hope you can help with this

Hi Brandi,

Thanks for properly identifying your seedlings. I assume that the seeds have germinated and have produced some tiny new plants. If so, you are well on your way!

They do not need high humidity so it is good that you have removed the plastic. Provide good air circulation and warm temperatures. Avoid excessive heat above 80 degrees F.

Proper watering is critical and depends a lot on the medium they are planted in. Presumably the medium is a gritty, sandy, Cactus-type of mix. If so, I suggest a light watering every 3-4 days or a light misting every day. The newly emerging roots are very fragile and they require a little bit of moisture and lots of air circulating around them. Excessive water or dryness will quickly cause the roots to die, so proper watering is the most critical and trickiest part.

Do NOT be in a hurry to transplant your seedlings. The longer they stay in their existing pot, the more developed the roots will be and better able to withstand the transplanting later on. Contrary to popular impressions, root crowding is never an issue with these plants. Depending on how many seedlings you have, you may not want to transplant them at all, keeping them together so you have a larger, fuller plant with many tails as the mature.

If you do decide to transplant later, then carefully use a fork to gently lift the seedling along with its delicate roots from the pot. The roost are very fragile so take appropriate care, but don't worry if there is limited damage to the roots.

Move the transplants to very small, shallow terra cotta pots that are filled with a grotty Cactus mix that dries out quickly between waterings. I recommend growing several plants together in the same pot.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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