How to Grow and Care for the Dog Tail Cactus Plant

Here’s a breakdown of dog tail cactus care, focusing on what home growers need to know:

Understanding Dog Tail Cactus

  • Unique Species: It’s an epiphyte, meaning it naturally grows ON other plants, NOT just in rocky soil like typical cacti.
  • Looks: Long, fuzzy-looking stems that hang down, hence the name.
  • Not Pet-Friendly: Those fuzzy spines are still sharp! Place it out of reach.

Key Care Tips

  • Light: Bright, but indirect. Think of dappled sunlight filtering through a tree canopy.
  • Soil: Must drain well! Cactus potting mix is ideal, or mix regular soil with sand/gravel.
  • Water: A bit more than typical desert cacti. Let soil dry out between waterings, but don’t let it stay bone-dry for weeks on end.
  • Humidity: Moderate humidity is appreciated, especially if your home is very dry.
  • Placement: Hanging baskets are great, or shelves where stems can trail down without being touched.
  • Growth: These get BIG. Make sure it has room to spread as it matures.

Extra Things to Know:

  • Blooms: Stunning white flowers at night in summer, but plants take a few years to reach blooming size.
  • Fertilizer: Diluted cactus fertilizer during active growth (spring to summer)
  • Temperature: Average home temps are fine. Avoid frost, as it’s a tropical plant.

Key Takeaway

Dog tail cactus is a rewarding plant, but NOT a “beginner cactus”. It needs more specific care to resemble its native habitat. Think less desert, more rainforest!

Dog Tail Cactus Plant: Growth, Uses, And Care Tips

Are you planning to grow dog tail cactus in your home? If yes then you have come to just the right place. Today, in this article below, we are going to discuss everything related to dog tail cactus. Our discussion will consist of everything from dog tail cactus growth, and care, and also other important tips.

Dog Tail cactus is scientifically known as the Strophocactus testudo plant. This plant is typically an epiphytic cactus from tropical South America’s dry forests. It has fuzzy-looking spines with long stems. If you are a plant lover and looking for tips to take care of dog tail cactus, keep on reading this article below.

More About Dog Tail Cantus Plant

Before you buy and start growing dog tail cactus plants in your apartment, you need to know everything related to this plant. Also, it is important to know if the plant is dangerous for the apartment or not. So, let’s dig into the details of Dog tail cactus to know everything about the plant.

Dog tail cactus or the Strophocactus testudo plant is a native cactus plant mainly found in South America’s tropical part. In South America, this plant is also known as Pitaya De Tortuga. These plants mainly grow on other trees around the plant.

Although this plant is from the dry forest of South America’s tropical part, you can easily keep these plants in your home. This is a great cactus for people looking for some unique types of cactus plants for their homes.

Brief Detail Table

  • Commonly Known As: Pitaya De Tortuga and Dog Tail Cactus
  • Scientifical Name: Selenicereus testudo and Strophocactus testudo
  • Type Of Plant: Perennial succulent
  • Category Of The Plant: Cactaceae
  • Average Size At Maturity: Approx 10 feet
  • Type Of Soil Needed: Well-drained rocky and sandy soil
  • Sun Exposure Needed: Full or at least partial sunlight light needed
  • pH Of Soil Should Be: Acidic, neutral, and alkaline
  • When Blooms: In Summer
  • Color Of The flower: White
  • Native Area: Tropical South America

How To Grow And Take Good Care Of Dog Tail Cactus?

When you have decided to have a dog tail cactus in your apartment, then you should know the tips to take good care of this plant. So, here we have listed down the tips to take care of your dog tail cactus plant in your home.

What Is The Perfect Growing Season?

This plant grows mainly from the mid-spring season to the late summer season or it can even grow during the early autumn season. So, when you are planning to grow this plant in your home, try to choose a suitable time for the proper growth of the dog tail cactus plant.

Place I Have Chosen For My Dog Tail Cacti:

The Dog tail Cacti plant generally has trailing and long stems which is going to take some space to spread. And since it is a cactus-type plant, it comes with thorns that can hurt your kids, pets, or even an adult in your home.

So, try to choose a rarely used corner of your home to plant and grow this dog tail cacti plant. However, make sure that the corner has enough space for the dog tail cacti to spread freely once they grow to their full size.

Type Of Soil I Have Chosen:

I have chosen rocky, sandy soil for my dog tail cactus plant in my apartment. This is because the plant is a cactus species plant which needs rocky, sandy soil to grow properly. With this type of soil, the dog tail cacti plant gets proper moisture and nutrients to grow.

However, if you are not sure about the percentage of sandy material and rocky material for your Dog Tail Cactus plant then you can buy cactus-friendly soil from your nearest garden store.

The pH Level I Have Chosen For My Plant Soil:

For the best result, you need to make sure that the soil has 5.5 to 6.5 pH. The pH level of the soil is an important aspect of growing dog-tail cacti plants. However, since I had no idea about balancing the pH level of the soil, I asked a gardener to do it for me. You can do the same.

Sunlight Requirement:

As the plant is from the tropical Southern America’s dry forest, it generally gets indirect rays from the Sun. So, to grow a dog tail cacti plant in my apartment, I have provided the same brightness and rays to my plant.

I try to keep my dog tail cacti plant in sunlight at least for 6 hours a day. However, I do not put my plant in direct sunlight. This plant grows better with shaded sunlight. So, for better growth, you can do the same.

Humidity Requirement:

Being from the dry forest, this plant is fond of higher humidity levels. So, for better growth of the dog tail cacti plant, I have provided good humidity to my plant in my apartment. I have placed the dog tail cacti plant in such a place in my home where it gets 50% humidity to grow freely and finely.

The Frequency Of Watering My Dog Tail Cacti

Although the dog tail cacti plant is from cactus species, it is not like other cactus species plants. The Dog tail cacti plant loves a little water. Thus, I water my Dog Tail Cacti plants more often than I water other cactus plants in my apartment. However, it does not mean that you need to water the plant daily.

You will have to check whether the soil is dry or still wet before you water the plant again. Never water the dog tail cacti plant if the soil is still wet. So, it means that you will have to wait till the soil dries.


Undoubtedly the beauty of the Dog Tail Cacti plant has increased the beauty of my apartment. For this reason, many of my friends and relatives had asked me for the growth and care tips of a Dog Tail Cactus plant. As a result, I have written down every essential point to take care of the Dog Tail Cacti plants here!

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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