How To Grow Prickly Pear Cactus From Cutting

Although it’s a straightforward process, we’ll make it even easier by splitting it down into its component parts. Here is all you need to do to cultivate and propagate cuttings of the prickly pear cactus.

Take the Cutting

Start with a mature, disease- and pest-free prickly pear cactus. It need to be actively generating new growth, not lying inert. Choose an oval slice of the top prickly pear that is at least an inch long. Blooming paddles shouldn’t be used because the energy is going to the flowers instead.

Put on your heavy-duty gloves and carefully twist the paddles at the natural seam to collect cuts. Make sure the paddle’s entire base comes off. For it to regenerate, the meristem at the end is necessary. If the paddle won’t come off, gently cut it free with a clean knife.

Put the slice on a paper towel in a dish or any other location where it can dry for a few days. Give the wound at least 24 hours to heal before applying callus tissue. This step is important because if the cutting is watered before the wound has healed completely, it may rot.

Before laying it out to dry, dip the cut edge in rooting hormone powder to give your cutting a push.

Prepare the Soil

Prepare its new habitat whilst your cutting is scabbing over. Use a tiny container that is appropriate for the cutting’s size. Put some soil within that drains nicely. Here, seed-starting soils or succulent mixtures work nicely. To create a flat surface on which the cactus may stand straight, smooth it out.

Plant the Cutting

It’s time to plant when the pads on your prickly pear plants have neatly callused over. Dig a hole the same size as the base of the cutting, and carefully press one-third of the pad into the dry soil with the cut side facing up (it will resemble a small plant for the decoration of your room!). Lay the prickly pear cutting on its side with the callused edge lying in the middle of the container if it is too large to stand upright.

Spray the soil well with water to ensure that it is evenly saturated. To prevent rot, try to keep the cutting’s top dry. moment the soil starts to dry out, mist. You should water prickly pear cacti sparingly while they are mature, but not when they are young. Throughout their first year of growth, the cuttings require constant moisture. Cactus cutting plants should be kept in a warm area with filtered sunshine.

Depending on the species, the planted cutting will begin to take root within a few weeks or months. By carefully moving the cutting, you may see if they are there. The plant’s root ball is well-established if it continues to be stable in the soil. At this time, gradually expose the cutting to indoor direct sunlight to boost photosynthesis. However, until the cactus plant reaches full maturity, keep routinely watering the soil. New paddles will eventually grow on top of the prickly pear cutting, and you can stop using extra water.

How long does it take for prickly pears to root?

Growing prickly pears is simple. Once planted, they can thrive on rainfall and require well-drained soil. The plant has to be watered every two to three weeks while it is rooted. Consider the size the cactus will reach when selecting one, and plant it far from walkways and other places where people will come in contact with it. A warm, dry climate is necessary for successful prickly pear cultivation.

Prickly pears are simple to grow in your own garden. Quick and easy propagation from pads is possible. In reality, the pads are flattened, specialized stems. Six-month-old pads are taken out of the plant and placed in a dry location to allow the cut end to develop a callus for a few weeks. For prickly pear pad planting, a soil and sand mixture should be used in equal parts. Within a few months, the pad will develop roots. It need assistance at this time and shouldn’t be watered. After the pad is able to stand upright, it can be watered.

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 is a prickly pear cactus grown?

The growth of prickly pear cactus For at least a week, or until it scabs over, let the cut end “heal.” The pad can then be planted in a soil and sand combination, cut end down. Use stakes or other supports to maintain it upright since it will likely need to be supported on each side until it develops roots.

Can prickly pear cactus grow in water?

Although prickly pear propagation is rather simple and easy, there are a few additional considerations. Look through for more information.

How do you root a broken piece of cactus?

Good news: the procedure is essentially unchanged. I frequently propagate succulents in this manner. A leaf splits off? I’ll preserve it and spread it! Pads on prickly pears can be removed quite easily. If the plant is in a container outside, it could get knocked over by a storm and the pad could come off. You can save the cactus and pad if they are in good condition.

In fact, you can probably simply place it in the same pot as the plant from which it was broken off. This will also produce a fuller, more fascinating appearance. particularly if the pads have various heights.

Will a cactus root in water?

Absolutely, yes. Cacti can be rooted in either soil or water. Water does not provide nutrients, but it does promote the growth of a distinct type of root. I advise avoiding water rooting entirely and going straight to soil because prickly pear roots so easily there. In soil, it also takes root more quickly.

How fast do prickly pear cactus grow?

Speaking from experience with my prickly pears in pots both indoors and outdoors, they grow pretty slow. Every summer, each pad produced 12 new baby pads. However, your plant will probably grow more quickly if you have a longer growth season or more time with warmer temperatures.

If you have the option, prickly pears might, like many plants, thrive better planted in the ground. I have to keep mine in containers or dig them out and bring them inside because they wouldn’t survive the cold where I live. I choose pots!

Can cactus grow in shade?

Yes, but they particularly enjoy strong light. My prickly pears receive light from late morning till sundown when I keep them indoors for the winter in a southeast-facing window. I expose them to full, direct sun all day long for about a week before I take them outside. They flourish there!

They would probably also thrive in the shade, given the quantity of light they receive from a window with brilliant indirect light inside is probably nearly comparable. However, I advise giving them a warm summer vacation if you can.

How are prickly plants spread?

Cuttings are a simple method of propagating prickly pear cacti.

  • To prevent injuries to your hands while dealing with the cactus, put on sturdy work gloves.
  • Lay the cutting out in filtered sunlight on a level surface.
  • To make a well-draining growing medium for the cactus to be planted in, combine one part perlite with one part compost.

How long does a cactus cutting take to take root?

It’s time to pot up offsets from cacti after removing them and letting them callus. The ideal medium is grippy and well-draining. You can buy cactus mixes or make your own by mixing 50 percent peat or compost with 50 percent pumice or perlite.

Cuttings only require a pot that is slightly larger than their base diameter. In order to prevent the offset from toppling over, cover one-third to one-half of the base with the medium. Keep the medium mildly moist and place the pup in indirect but bright sunlight.

Although some cacti can take months to root, most do so in four to six weeks. By observing any fresh green growth, which shows that the roots have taken hold and the plantlet is receiving nutrients and water, you may determine when it has rooted.

Can I plant cactus roots in water?

Cacti are known for their capacity to endure in extremely dry conditions, such as deserts. However, these robust plants are frequently kept indoors as houseplants. You could try to root your own cacti if you already have a few and desire more without paying any money.

Can cacti grow roots in water? A form of succulent called a cactus can take root in either water or soil. While many cacti will also root in water, other kinds will root better in dirt. You can attempt growing extra plants without having to buy them if you try roots your cactus in water.

There is no assurance that any cactus will thrive in water or soil; occasionally, the conditions are simply not right for the plant. The good news is that roots your cactus in water is simple to do and has a strong probability of working.


Prickly pears don’t need to be pruned, but they can be trimmed back. To keep the pads’ size and shape, take out individual ones as necessary. Holding the pad in place with tongs, cut it off at the junction or line where it attaches to the following pad. Pads can be calloused off and shared with pals or planted somewhere else. Find out more about propagation below.

Amendments & Fertilizer:

Young plants should be fertilized with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. A water-soluble fertilizer with a ratio of 5-10-10 or even 0-10-10 can encourage more flowers and fruit in established plants. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer if you’re growing for the pads.


Prickly pears can withstand severe droughts. For the first month, don’t water newly propagated pads. After that, water during the first year every two to four weeks—twice a month in the summer and once a month throughout the other seasons. Rainfall will usually be sufficient to keep established plants alive. When there is a drought, you can supplement with the twice-monthly/once-monthly seasonal schedule.

off a pad pruning, a new prickly pear plant has grown. Selma Jacquet/Alamy Stock Photo provided the image.


Since seeds grow slowly at first, it can take your plant three to four years to begin blooming and bearing fruit. The seeds should be maintained moist until they begin to sprout since they require shade.

Pad propagation is considerably easier and produces results more quickly. This is how:

  • By according to the above pruning rules, you can take off pads that are at least six months old.
  • The cut end of the pads should create a callus if they are left to dry out in a spot with some light shade. This can take two to four weeks in warm, dry weather, but it may take longer under cool or humid conditions. It prevents the new plant from decomposing at the base.
  • Plant pads at a depth of 1 inch in a mixture of half soil and half sand once they have fully calloused over. Your plant could rot if it were buried any deeper.
  • For the first month, don’t water it because the pad already has enough moisture to survive.
  • Until roots develop during the course of the following month, support it with rocks or another type of structure. Your plant should be able to stand on its own after a month, but if it’s still a little unsteady, keep providing support.
  • You can water it at this time and follow the previous watering instructions, just make sure to let it totally dry between waterings.

Flowers and fruit normally start to appear on young plants by the second or third growing pad.

Can prickly pear cactus be replanted?

Pear cacti (Opuntia spp.) give ornamental and edible value to landscaping in USDA hardiness zones 9b through 11 with their sweet, scarlet fruit and stunning appearance. Many mature pear cacti outgrow their bed and need to be transplanted into a larger place because of their rapid growth pace. The majority of pear cacti adapt well to transplantation and quickly form a new root system. To genuinely prosper, they must be moved at the proper time of year and positioned properly.

Plant pear cactus between late March and early September, when they are actively growing. Avoid moving and digging up pear cacti when it’s chilly outside since the cactus will take longer to establish itself and its roots will grow more slowly.

Place pear cactus in a bed with poor, gravelly soil that receives full light. A loam or clay-based soil should not be used for transplanting since it will retain too much water around the roots of the cacti, encouraging rot and disease.

In advance, clear the transplant site of any weeds, decaying plants, or other debris. Add a 4-inch-thick coating of pea gravel, washed sand, or crushed granite to the entire bed to improve it. Utilizing a cultivating fork, work the amendment into the top 12 inches of soil.

The pear cactus should be ready for transfer. Mark the cactus’ north-facing side with colorful chalk or tape. After you’ve dug out the cactus, trim about a quarter of the pads to prevent water loss. Put on leather gloves to protect your hands, then use a sharp gardening knife to cut the pads off.

Around the pear cactus’ base, take a measurement of 6 inches. Use a sharp shovel to create an 8 to 10-inch-deep ring around the cactus at the 6-inch mark. Place the shovel’s blade at a 45-degree angle underneath the root ball. To pry the cactus from the ground, use the shovel’s handle.

Take hold of the pear cactus’ base and gently lift it off the ground. Place it somewhere with some light shade and open air. Examine the rootball of the cactus by turning it on its side. A pocketknife or pair of scissors should be used to remove any harmed or infected roots.

Dry out the pear cactus for seven to ten days, or until the roots start to look calloused. Before transferring the cactus into the light, make a hole there. Create a hole that is the same depth and twice as wide as the rootball of the cactus.

Transfer the pear cactus to the new location. Put it in the hole with the north-facing side pointing that direction. Use the adjusted dirt to re-fill the area surrounding the roots. To prevent the cactus from toppling over, tamp the ground with your foot.

To avoid sunburn and reduce moisture loss from the pads, cover the pear cactus with a layer of 30% shade cloth. Until the cactus pads swell and begin to grow, leave the shade cloth in place for at least three weeks.

Wait three to five days before watering the newly transplanted pear cactus. Create a 6-inch-radius shallow dirt mound all the way around the cactus’ base. Run a hose inside the berm until the top 3 to 5 inches of soil feel moist. After allowing the water to absorb, flatten the berm.

For the first two months, water twice a week to aid in the cactus’ establishment of new roots. Run water until the top few inches of the soil feel damp at the base of the pear cactus. Between waterings, let the top inch of soil completely dry out. When it’s raining, stop watering.