How To Split A Christmas Cactus

You can divide your Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus if it becomes too large and pot-bound. Cut through it with a clean, sharp knife through its thick roots. Depending on the size of the plant, you can split it into two to four halves. Replant the divisions in a cactus potting soil that drains well. Wait to cut or shape these young plants until after they bloom, even if they may appear a little off-balance. By doing this, you’ll prevent removing any flower buds.

When may Christmas cactus be divided?

Wait until the flowers have fallen off since it is better to divide a Christmas cactus when it is dormant rather than growing. Grab the plant’s base and gently wiggle it out from the pot, removing the entire root ball. If you can, tilt the pot to take advantage of gravity’s force.

How can a Christmas cactus be started from a cutting?

Christmas cacti are relatively simple to grow from seed. Cut segments of one to four and leave them to dry out for two to four days in a cool, dry location. Plant a sand/peat mixture an inch deep in fresh soil. Prior to the development of roots or new growth, water sparingly.

Can a portion of the Christmas cactus be broken off and planted?

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi), a rich winter-blooming plant, puts on a show of stunning pink or red blooms right before the winter holidays. You might be able to grow a new plant from a broken portion of the jointed, succulent stem. By pinching a stem from an existing Christmas cactus, you can also grow a new plant. In the early summer or late spring, cuttings root well. Despite being a hardy indoor plant, Christmas cactus can only be grown outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 11 and higher.

Can a piece of Christmas cactus be rooted in water?

One of the simplest plants to propagate via stem cuttings is the Christmas cactus. Propagating new plants from your existing plants is an easy DIY gardening project.

  • 1. Select the appropriate season. Propagating your Christmas cactus plant early in the growth season will improve your chances of success. Start the propagation process in late spring when the cactus is ready to develop again after its winter dormancy.
  • 2. Gather the stem cuttings. Make sure each cutting has between two and five stem segments when you take your Christmas cactus cuttings from the parent plant (the flattened leaf sections). You can either use scissors to cut off the section or your hand to pinch and twist it off at a joint. To improve the likelihood of successful propagation, gather several stem cuttings.
  • 3. Permit your cuts to heal. For two days, keep your stem cuttings in a cool, dry location so the cut edge can heal. Be sure to stay out of the sun. Your cuttings’ risk of acquiring stem rot will be decreased throughout this healing phase.
  • Root the cuttings, step 4. Christmas cactus cuttings can be rooted in either water or a solution made of coarse sand, perlite, or peat. To root in water, put a two-inch layer of pebbles or small stones in the bottom of a glass jar, cover the pebbles with water, then add your cuttings so that just the bottom tip is submerged. Use a pot with drainage holes and wet your rooting media before planting the cuttings if coarse sand mixed with perlite or peat is your preferred choice. Plant your cuttings into the rooting media about a fourth of their length once the excess water has been drained from the pot. Pack the rooting material tightly around the stem to firmly anchor the cuttings. Water the clippings only lightly.
  • 5. Give your cuttings six to eight weeks of care. Put your cuttings in a spot with indirect sunlight that is bright. If you placed the cuttings in a water-filled container to root them, keep an eye on the water level and top it off as needed. If you used a sand mixture to root the cuttings, make sure not to overwater it. Overwatering might cause root rot. It will be time for repotting in six to eight weeks (or when the roots are about half an inch long).
  • 6. Plant cuttings in a mixture of potting soil. Your cactus has to be replanted in a little container with drainage holes filled with succulent potting soil. Cuttings should be inserted into the soil about an inch deep, and the soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged.
  • 7. Keep on giving attention. A Christmas cactus plant requires a location with high humidity levels and strong, indirect light in order to thrive. When the top inch of soil on your Christmas cactus becomes dry, water it. If your air isn’t humid enough, sprinkle the leaves with a spray bottle. Maintain a temperature range between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal flower bud growth. Use a houseplant fertilizer two to three times year, but don’t fertilize for at least three weeks after transplanting, and hold off until mid-October (you may resume once the plant is no longer blooming).

Are Christmas cactus fans of root binding?

Do Christmas cacti enjoy being rootbound? I was told not to repot it because it is currently healthy. D. Forrest

SUMMARY: Christmas cactus tolerates dense root systems well, so your friend isn’t entirely mistaken. Although Christmas cacti can still thrive after becoming rootbound, you should still repot your holiday plants every four years, expanding the container size by two inches each time.

Repotting a Christmas cactus can be difficult since, if the plant becomes rootbound, doing so might easily cause damage to the plant. Breaking the pot is the quickest way to remove it without harming the plant. It’s not a major loss because clay pots are inexpensive, and it’s much simpler to rehome your cactus without harming it.

If you notice your planter’s soil getting harder over time, observe roots poking out of the drainage hole or holes, or notice that the stems of your Christmas cactus are beginning to turn yellow or brown, your cactus may be root-bound (the latter symptom is also sometimes a sign of overwatering, not overcrowding). If you see these symptoms, you can leave your plant in its overcrowded container for a few more weeks or even months because it actually prefers the crowding. But ultimately, you’ll want to repot your cactus to give it more space and, in the process, provide it with newer, healthy soil.

To speed up water drainage, use potting soil designed specifically for cactuses and succulents. Fill the new, larger replacement planter with enough fresh soil so that the top of the root ball will rest about an inch below the rim. Remove a significant amount of the old soil from the roots and root ball by gently brushing off the root ball. To remove the majority of the oil soil from the roots and root ball, you can choose to wet or rinse them with water.

Then, carefully fill the space surrounding the root ball with the new, fresh potting soil that was designed for desert plants after placing your cactus in its new pot. While repotting, take out any stems that have yellowed or dried out. When the new dirt is securely planted, water your Christmas cactus thoroughly and choose a shaded location to put it for a few days so that it can get used to its new surroundings, the new soil, and the extra room.

During the spring and summer, keep your cactus in a shaded area of the porch or patio where they can receive plenty of fresh air and indirect sunshine. If you prefer, you can take a few cuttings each fall and give them out as gifts once they have grown. Bring them indoors in the fall and store them away from direct sunlight in a dry, dark area. Your Christmas cacti will thrive exceptionally well if you can create a slightly humid indoor environment.

Start drying the soil in October to promote blooming during the holiday season. Reduce the frequency of watering to only once every three weeks instead of once a week. For holiday blooms to flourish, darkness and dryness are both necessary conditions. To enhance the flowering of their Christmas cacti, some gardeners go so far as to cover their plants and keep them in the dark for a few weeks.

Can you plant a portion of cactus that has been chopped off?

A loved cactus plant might quickly lose a portion due to overly active kids, scavenging animals, an accidental bump, or an unplanned incident. You need not worry if it occurs to you because you are not required to discard the chopped piece.

Even if the main plant can still survive if a portion of its stem is lost, it may seem wasteful to toss the broken piece and ignore the rest.

Can you then cut a chunk off of a cactus and plant it? Yes is the clear-cut response. Cuttings can be used to grow a sizable number of cacti species. Hedgehog, prickly pear, and branching columnar cacti like the night-blooming cereus are a few of the common cactus species that are typically reproduced via cuttings.

Don’t discard the broken piece if your cactus accidently breaks off a portion of it. Instead, replant it from seed and let it grow.

How long does a Christmas cactus take to take root?

A Christmas cactus might take up to a month to take root. You must therefore exercise patience for at least 3 to 4 weeks.

To determine if they have rooted, there are two methods. You can give them a light tug to check for resistance.

Otherwise, keep an eye out for fresh growth at the segment’s tips. The cuttings will start to develop new leaves or flower buds once they have effectively rooted.

Why Won’t My Schlumbergera Propagate?

Your Schlumbergera won’t spread for a number of reasons. They won’t root if the bottom of the lowest segment is torn or broken.

Rot is another frequent problem. Before planting the clipped ends, give them time to callus and cure to avoid that.

Additionally, be very careful not to overwater them. Keep the soil dry and the air damp until the roots have fully formed for optimal results.

Must Christmas cactus be pruned?

Pruning. After it has finished blooming, you can prune your Christmas cactus to make it larger and bushier, but never after late spring. Simply pinch off one or more of the parts to trim the plant. If you want to grow more plants from them, replant them in different pots.

How is a cactus split?

1. Carefully spread out the newspapers. Cleaning up after dividing a plant is frequently the most difficult part of the process.

2. Take the plant out of the pot. If necessary, gently break the pot.

3. Choose the number of plants the division will yield.

4. Gently separate the root ball. You will have a huge cutting rather than a plant division and growth will be hindered if the roots are harmed or taken off. It is occasionally required to divide the root ball with the least amount of bruising using a clean, sharp knife or a hatchet.

Instead of creating a torn and mangled mess by pulling and yanking, make a clean cut. Put the root ball into a pail of warm water and gently pry the components of the plant apart if you are unsure of how the plant is organized under the soil level.

Even though some of the roots will be damaged, you can still make out the major divisions. This technique, if used gently and properly, can be helpful, especially when working with plants that have grown very root-bound.

5. Ensure that each division has roots, a stem, and leaves (or shoots), and plant it in a clean container that is the right size and has good drainage.

Because the roots have been disturbed and are harmed, good drainage is crucial because damaged roots are more likely to rot.

6. Use new, sterile, or at the very least vacant soil. Place the division in the middle of the pot unless there is a valid reason not to.

7. Plant each division at its previous depth. Water the plant with warm water and firmly pack the soil around it. Clean the working area after rolling up all the trash in the newspaper.

For a few days, place the divided plants in a covered area (away from direct sunlight and cold drafts). The plants will quickly adapt to their new surroundings and become fully fledged members of your collection or prepared to join someone else’s indoor garden.


The majority of succulents readily take root from plant material or leaves. Before planting, it’s crucial to let the piece dry out a little.

Succulents’ fleshy leaves can be removed and placed somewhere warm and dry, and they will begin to form roots. The best time to prepare them is then. High humidity is not required and could even be harmful, but bottom heat is quite beneficial.

When growing plants from cuttings, a bit of the plant’s root, stem, or leaf is removed, maintained in a suitable environment, and encouraged to grow. This results in the development of a new plant that is typically but not always similar to the original (a variegated Sansevieria cutting will grow plain green).

There are several benefits for plants that can be easily propagated in this manner. Except for the plant, it doesn’t require much expertise, is inexpensive, and moves quite quickly.

Although growing plants at home is not always the best option, with some plants, the chance of success is so high that one is constantly inspired to start more.

Choose mature leaves that are not close to dying if you want succulent leaf cuttings like hens and chickens, burro tails, etc. In doing so, you reduce the risk of damaging the plant and increase the likelihood that a small section of stem will remain attached (having a bit of stem attached often means that you will get a new plant and not just a well-rooted leaf).

Once the leaf has been removed, you can set it in a cardboard box on top of the refrigerator or in any other practical location, or you can lay it on some potting soil or mix. In either instance, wait until the roots show before watering.

The mix can be maintained at a wet level once the roots and young plant begin to emerge. (When the roots and new plant appear, plant the ones you had in the box over the refrigerator.) Watering the leaves before this could cause them to decay. Put the new plantlets in a brighter light once they begin to grow.

Take a leaf and cut it into portions that are between three and four inches long for Sansevieria cuttings. Make a little notch out of the top of each segment to serve as a marker for the top. Install the notch facing up.

From Seed

The satisfaction of growing plants from seeds is wonderful. The most satisfying experience is when you develop plants from seed you’ve created yourself.

Each seed combines its parents’ genetic traits in a unique way. Plants developed from seeds might therefore vary greatly. If the seed is fresh, many succulents can be grown from seed quite simply, though they may take a while to germinate.

Additionally, only a small number of seeds may germinate at once because succulents are extremely careful plants. Some seeds begin to germinate in just two days, while others could take up to two years.

The lifetime and viability of seeds varies widely; many may not have sufficient vitality to endure past germination.

Start seeds in a sterile, well-drained mixture. Sparingly water the seedlings but make sure they don’t dry out. Prior to moisture penetrating the tough seed coat, seeds cannot begin to germinate. Even with dead seed, swelling and moisture absorption are physical events that could occur.

It is typically recommended to start seedlings in an artificial mix due to the issues with seeds dying in the soil or seedlings dying soon after they germination.


Using grafting

  • to hasten the proliferation of established cultivars.
  • to provide plants a more robust root system. If they are cultivated on simple but strong roots, many appealing plants grow more quickly or do not decay as easily.
  • To keep “sports” or creatures that couldn’t survive on their own, like a colorful cactus that has no chlorophyll and can’t feed itself.

Grafting can also be used to create shapes or effects that a single plant could not have created on its own. Dwarfing root stock or a stem with a dwarfing portion can be used to grow plants that are smaller than average.

Grafting vining or sprawling plants on top of a tall, upright base can create weeping, tree-like effects.

Although the concepts are straightforward, success requires a keen eye, a steady hand, and enough of practice. Working fast and keeping the hands, instruments (such as knives or razor blades), and plant parts as aseptic (clean) as possible can reduce failure.

Plants that are compatible are used for grafting. Plants that are somewhat similar in structure and belong to the same species, genus, or family are said to be compatible, though this is not always the case.

Grafting is frequently a trial and error process with the potential for some thrilling surprises because the plants are the ultimate arbiters of compatibility.

You must maneuver the two pieces so that as many of their actively growing cells as feasible are in touch if the diameter of one piece to be grafted is greater than the other.

A flat graft is the simplest to create when the vascular bundles (tubes that give support and conduct water and nutrients) of the stock (the portion with the roots) and the scion (the portion to be added) are the same size and match.

When the scion is extremely flat or narrow, a cleft or wedge graft is used. The scion is trimmed on both sides before being inserted into the split, which is created by cutting a one-inch slice or wedge into the top of the stock.

Sometimes a side graft is employed. A slanting or diagonal cut is performed on the stock and scion during a side graft. This cut frequently results in larger surface area and a higher likelihood that the graft will take.

Lightweight rubber bands or protruding spines can be used to pin the pieces together when grafting cactus and other succulents.

When the plants are actively growing, which is typically from spring to fall, grafting is more successful. While the graft is taking, it’s crucial that the stock plant is healthy and not ignored.

To prevent the cuts from drying out too rapidly after grafting, maintain the plants in a sheltered area for a while.

Maintain a tight bond between the stock and scion, and wait a month to remove the rubber bands or spines after the graft looks to be successful.

Practice makes perfect in grafting. Keep your plants, equipment, and fingertips clean for more success and better-looking outcomes.

You might want to consider how to set up your plants so they thrive as your indoor cactus or succulent garden expands. Learn everything you need to know about plant arrangement in the section that follows.