Domino Cactus is an easy-to-care-for plant that you can grow without hassles. It has emerald green and dark foliage and is a delight to any home or garden space
The plant is also called Easter Lily Cactus and the Night Blooming Hedgehog, and in this article, our experts provide you with all the details required for its care and propagation.
Read on to know it all and even some lesser-known secrets about growing this attractive cactus; keeping it healthy and thriving in all seasons.
- What Is a Domino Cactus?
- Domino Cactus Care
What Is a Domino Cactus?
Domino cactus is an easy-to-grow cactus with emerald green foliage and variegations—it is spotted with white patches and has wooly spines. Native to Bolivia and Paraguay, the Domino cactus’ scientific name is Echinopsis subdenudata or Echinopsis ancistrophora and produces tiny flowers that bloom at night and wilt as the sun sets.
Domino Cactus Care
This cactus is low-maintenance as it requires minimal care and time. That makes it perfect for beginner-level gardeners. You will have thriving green foliage throughout the year with suitable soil, light conditions, a watering schedule, humidity, and temperature.
In the section below we will look into each of these aspects in more detail. We provide you with the most accurate information here to grow the healthiest and most robust cactus right in your home.
– Water Requirements
The plant is unlike other cactus variants requiring a more moist soil in comparison to others. The plant prefers the water once every two to four weeks, or when the soil is dry. Increase frequency if you are in a hot, dry zone or if the weather is blistering with soaring temperatures. Scale back to once a month when the temperatures drop and the chill of the winter season begins to set in.
Do not overwater or keep the soil overly moist as the water pooling at the roots hamper not only the growth of the plant but also leads to root rot which may just kill it entirely.
At the same time never let the soil go bone dry as this causes stress to the plant making it shed its foliage and turning the spines brittle. Thus, do not neglect the plant and monitor the moisture levels in the soil and the environment and keep the soil just slightly moist at all times.
Check the topsoil for moisture by pushing a finger in by at least an inch, before your watering schedule. Also, prevent the roots from sitting in the water by ensuring drainage holes are not clogged or blocked with tiny pebbles or stones and they permit free flow of water.
– Light Requirements
The light for the Easter Lily cactus plant has to be bright for at least six hours throughout the day. This will help it to sustain healthy and green foliage. The exposure needs to be under full sun to keep the plant happy and going. As a cactus, it could tolerate low or partial light to a certain extent. However, direct sunlight is still required if you wish to grow a robust cactus.
If you are growing your plant indoors, place it on a window sill or a shelf in a southern direction. During winters, or if there is not enough light indoors then place the plant under artificial fluorescent light or LED grow lights. This will give the cactus enough light to grow and thrive even though it is not placed in an outdoor sunny spot.
– Soil Requirements
The Easter Lily cactus requires well-draining soil that is allowed to dry out in between watering schedules. The perfect kind of soil for this plant is a loamy type; preferably it should be a mixture of sand, silt and clay in the ratio of 40:40:20. You could also mix in peat and perlite in equal ratios to increase the aeration in the soil.
Further, include humus, mulch and organic matter such as husk and wood chips to increase drainage. Also note, that the soil needs to be slightly acidic to neutral with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.0.
– Temperature Requirements
The plant needs to be kept dry and warm at all times. Although it’s ideal temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) it has been known to survive in temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
– Humidity Requirements
This cactus prefers a hot and dry climate to grow, so the humidity doesn’t have to be very high. The ideal humidity range is around 40 percent.
If you are growing your plant indoors ensure there is ample ventilation around it. In cold climatic conditions minimize the Domino cactus’s water as this could increase the humidity in the plant.
You could also install a dehumidifier if the humidity in the environment in your area is high. This will reduce the moisture level preventing mold and bacteria growth in the soil or the roots of the plant.
– Fertilizing Requirements
The Domino cactus plant is a mild feeder and does not like to be overfed. In fact, over-fertilizing is not good for the plant’s health and it makes them wither and die. The best solution for the cactus would be to use a natural organic mix rather than a chemical formula to boost growth and encourage the plant to produce blooms.
The right mix would be a natural composition of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Additionally, pumice, husk, bark perlite, and peat also encourage the plant to grow and bloom.
– Pruning Requirements
The plant grows in its own shape and does not require any pruning. Unlike the San Pedro cactus of the same family which grows columnar, this variegated Domino cactus is compact and reaches a height of two inches to four inches with a width of around four inches to eight inches.
You may find large Domino cacti if you are growing them outdoors, depending on the growing environment, so pruning is necessary only if you spot decayed foliage or diseases. The plant with its unique shape thrives and survives on its own.
The Domino cactus propagation process is easy and can be done using offsets or pups that erupt from the base of the mother plant. This process is very simple and all you need are a few basic gardening tools and beginner-level gardening skills to be able to develop new offsets from the same plant.
Propagate this cactus when the weather outside is warm as the plant loves to thrive and grow in a hot, sunny climate. Moreover, propagation would be quicker and the new plant will be far healthier in such a season.
The right season, thus, is in early spring to late summer as these are the growing months of the plant. You should utilize the full sun’s light to the maximum so that the roots establish themselves faster and the foliage grows emerald green. Avoid the winter months when there is frost and cold winds as not only would propagation take time the new offsets would seldom be healthy or survive.
To ensure the process of propagation goes smoothly keep the following tools at hand and nearby. Ensure you sterilize each of the tools with a diluted solution of isopropyl alcohol so that there is no spread of bacterial and fungal infections. Also, ensure the soil that you are going to be using is well-draining and the pot has proper drainage holes.You will need:
- Soft gloves to be able to hold the prickly textured plant
- A sharp sterile knife to cut an offset section from the mother plant
- Paper towels to place the cut pups to callus
- A pot filled with potting mix
- Toothpicks to hold the juvenile plant straight
Much as the Domino cactus is a sturdy and robust plant with very few problems you may still encounter a few issues along the line. But these issues are not too challenging to tackle. In the section below we list out the most common problems and hassle-free solutions to rectify them.
– Pest Infestations
The foliage of this cactus plant can be attacked by pests such as scales or thrips. These common garden pests hide under the wooly textured areoles of the plant infestations of scales, sucking out the sap from the plant. Pests make the plant go weak and over time kill the plant. They may also leave behind a white substance that attracts other insects like ants.
The first thing to do when you spot these pests is to isolate the plant and treat it with a jet spray of water. Additionally, with the help of a stiff brush apply a diluted solution of soapy liquid or an organic neem formula all over the spot where the pests are attached.
This will make them fall loose from the foliage. If the infestation is not severe you can manually remove them with the help of tweezers but be careful not to accidentally cut into the plant’s foliage.
– Withered Plant Foliage
If you find your cactus bearing a withered look despite maintaining a proper watering schedule you would need to look if the root is tightly bound and clogged up. In such a situation you may also see the evergreen foliage bearing brown spots. The best way to sort this out is to repot the plant by gently removing the plant from the container and loosening up the roots.
Repot it into a container one size larger with fresh well-draining soil. This is also the time to check for dead and decaying roots and rotting sections which can be gently snipped away with a sterile garden pruner.
– Root Rot
Root rot is a condition that occurs when the soil and roots have been sitting in too much water. Excessive water that has not drained out can cause fungal infections in root sections, resulting in a stressful situation for the plant. In such a situation, the plant is not growing properly, has discolored foliage, and has slow and stunted growth.
If you suspect root rot the first thing you need to do is to scale back on the watering. Gently remove the plant from the soil and snip off any blackened sections. Replant the plant in fresh well-draining potting soil and monitor the watering schedule as per the details mentioned in our care section.
– Soft and Squishy Cactus
If you find your Domino cactus to be soft and limp you can be sure it is due to excessive moisture levels. The plant does not require very high humidity and needs to be only within the range of 40 percent.
What you have to ensure is that the plant remains in a dry area as too much moisture puts the plant under stress making it go soft and squishy. Moreover, under excess humidity, the plant may also develop fungal diseases which hamper the overall health of the plant.
If your cactus is squishy, scale back on the water immediately and move the plant to a well-ventilated and airy spot. If you are growing it indoors, use a dehumidifier around it. Also check if your pot has good drainage as otherwise, the container will retain water at the roots.
– Fungal and Bacterial Diseases
Fungal and bacterial diseases occur in the form of black spots on the cactus plant. These can be caused by any one of these reasons: overwatering, poor air circulation, or high humidity. Prevent disease by tackling each one of these conditions as per the details in our care section.
Additionally, always use clean sterilized tools while dealing with the plant. Do not use dirty water or pots and ensure the plant is always kept in a well-ventilated spot.
– Cactus Not Blooming
If your echinopsis subdenudata is not blooming, then there are various factors that you need to look into. Keep the humidity low to prevent overwatering and always remove dead heads to encourage fresh growth. You must also not allow roots to stand in water and grow in very humid conditions.
– How Do You Propagate Domino Cacti?
Propagation by using cut sections from the mother plant is the fastest and easiest way to achieve success. In the below section find the step-by-step method on how you can do it all by yourself:
- Look for pups at the base of a healthy mother plant. These offsets will need to be removed and replanted. Never remove the offsets when the plant is blooming. Wait until the flowers have entirely bloomed and withered.
- Wear soft gloves to hold the plant gently yet firmly and with a sharp knife, snip away the pup. Take care not to remove the mother plant from its pot. Alternatively, lightly twist the offset, and it will separate from the mother plant.
- Place the offset on a dry plate or a paper towel and allow it to callus in a warm place for a few days.
- After this, plant it in a pot filled with potting mix. The offsets will not be able to stand on their own, so use toothpicks to hold them in place; over time, they will get strong and be able to stand on their own.
- Water the plant as per its care requirement and place it in a hot and sunny spot until new roots begin to emerge. You now have your live plant in its nascent stage.
– How Do I Get My Domino Cactus to Bloom?
The plant needs the temperature to be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celcius) to produce the blooms. The plant may survive at lower temperatures, however, it will seldom produce blooms. Moreover, bright and full sunlight is mandatory to keep the plant producing the blooms night after night. No blooms occur during the dormant winter months.
You have now read in this detailed guide how to grow the attractive cactus plant easily and hassle-free.
Let us summarize our learnings from the article.
- Domino cactus echinopsis is one of the easiest cactus plants to grow, and with its emerald green dark foliage, it is a delight in any home.
- The plant is also called the Night Hedgehog as it produces blooms at night.
- Caring for the plant is very easy and can be undertaken even by beginner-level gardeners. All you need to do is ensure it is placed under the right light conditions, humidity, and well-draining soil. The plant can also tolerate moderate to high levels of heat.
- The plant can be propagated easily by using offset from another plant. This process is straightforward, and the ideal time to undertake it is in the months of spring to late summer.
- Most of the problems of the plant can be tackled by ensuring it is watered right and placed in a well-ventilated spot. Keep the plant away from pest infections and immediately treat it by isolating and applying an organic repellent such as neem oil.
Having understood how to grow this plant, you will now surely want to include it along with your other garden plants. So whether a beginner or an experienced gardener, this cactus is a perfect plant that will charm you all through the year.
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