I added a Myrtillocactus geometrizans fukurokuryuzinboku plant to my collection, but don’t worry—I won’t make you say the full scientific name 🙂 Most people simply refer to the plant as the boobie cactus, and you’ll see why. Read on for my boobie cactus care guide!
Boobie cactus care
I have never fancied myself much of a cactus and succulent person. I dabbled for a bit, mostly with the more common varieties. I really like prickly pear cactus, too—which I recently learned is actually a perennial where I live!
But I love a good novelty, so when I saw a boobie cactus at a plant show, I knew I had to add it to my collection. It’s a fun plant whether you’re a cactus connoisseur or just a casual collector. And boobie cactus care is easy, much like a lot of other cacti and succulents!
Myrtillocactus geometrizans fukurokuryuzinboku…what is a booby cactus?
With a name that long, it’s no wonder many people just choose to call it the boobie cactus!
I think I counted 18 syllables? The fukurokuryuzinbok cultivar, which is the one with the boobs, actually originated in Japan. But the Myrtillocactus genus of cacti is from central and northern Mexico.
Myrtillocactus geometrizans is the much more common species that the boobie plant originates from—it’s also known as the blue candle cactus, the candelabra cactus, the whortleberry cactus, or the bilberry cactus. As the plants mature, they begin to branch out in a candelabra fashion.
So the boobie cactus is a type of Myrtillocactus geometrizans, but not all Myrtillocactus geometrizans are boobie cacti.
Why is it called the boobie cactus?
Do I really need to lay it out for you? It looks like it’s covered in boobs. It’s really undeniable…you can’t look at this cactus and think “yeah, that looks like something other than boobs.”
Are booby cactus rare?
I have never seen one locally, and we have a lot of really diverse and well-stocked plant shops where I live. That isn’t to say that the plant is rare, it’s just to say that it might be harder to get your hands on in some places.
I saw one at a plant show, and they are also easily acquired online. A simple search on Etsy shows some beautiful options from highly rated sellers. You may also check Facebook groups for local plant/cactus collectors.
Bobbie cactus care & lighting needs
Like many other cactus varieties, the boobie cactus enjoys a lot of light. You may need to slowly acclimate the cactus to lots of direct light, though. It can withstand full sun, but if you get the plant in the middle of summer, you might not want to put it right into direct sun.
However, if you already have your plant in your sunniest window or spot, it will naturally acclimate to more light as the days get longer and longer. If you notice burning or yellowing/fading, it’s possible it is getting too much direct sun.
How often should I water my boobie cactus?
Myrtillocactus geometrizans stores water in its own reserves, much like other types of cacti. So it only needs to be watered after its soil has completely dried out. The frequency of watering will depend on the climate the plant is in, though.
If it gets full sun for the majority of the day and it is very hot, the plant will likely need to be watered more often. Likewise, when temperatures drop and days get shorter, the boobie cactus will go into hibernation.
This means that the plant needs a lot less care. I would water it only every month or so if you have it inside of a heated home or under grow lights. You don’t want it to wrinkle up completely, but you also don’t want to drown it in more water than it needs when it’s hibernating.
What is the most appropriate soil?
Any well-draining cactus or succulent soil will do just fine. You can buy something from a local nursery that is labeled “cactus” or “succulent” soil. Or you can mix your own.
It’s pretty easy—I have a post on how to make your own succulent soil, and that recipe will also work for the boobie cactus. It’s essentially one part well-draining houseplant soil, one part perlite, one part horticultural sand.
The extra perlite and sand mimic the soil in its natural environment and discourage the soil from retaining too much water, thus leading to root rot and killing the plant. (Read more about soil amendments in my houseplant soil 101 post.)
Temperature & humidity
The boobie cactus can withstand very hot weather. It does well in hot, arid climates—meaning low humidity. Myrtillocactus geometrizans cannot take colder temperatures or frost, though. Bring it inside if temperatures begin dropping consistently into the 50s at night.
This plant does not need humidity to thrive or even do well. In fact, too much humidity can be problematic. It can lead to rot in the plant.
How big does a boobie cactus get?
In ideal conditions, the boobie cactus can grow to be nearly 15 feet tall but stays relatively thin—well under a foot. Indoors, it will probably not reach this height, though I have seen some pretty impressive pictures online!
How do you propagate a boobie cactus?
Propagating a boobie cactus is very similar to propagating a prickly pear cactus. Simply take a cutting from the cop of the plant and then wait a few days for the cut end of the cutting to callus/harden over.
This is necessary because, if it doesn’t callus over, the cutting will let in too much water as the plant is trying to root. This could lead to root rot. Then plant to cutting in well-draining soil and water it every few days, keeping it warm to encourage rooting.