How To Grow Prickly Pear Cactus From Cuttings

The first step in growing prickly pear cactus pads from a cutting is to carefully remove a pad from the main plant. Make an effort to separate as neatly as you can. Then let the cut end of your pad dry and harden slightly. While you are waiting for the cut end to heal, it may start to turn a little brown.

It ought should take a week or so. You don’t have to wait for the roots to sprout like you do with many other plants. The soil will experience this. (However, I believe mine had just started to sprout.) I left mine out on my dining room table for approximately two days because they had just been cut and had been in transit for about four days.

Why do the cut ends need to callus over?

In general, cacti don’t require a lot of water, and too much of it can quickly kill plants. A fresh cutting is comparable to a main line into the plant. If you take a cutting and plant it right away, it should survive without water for a few days. However, by allowing the cutting callus to form first, you increase your chances of success.

The callus serves as a barrier to stop the cutting from absorbing too much water. Other plants that are similar to it, such as succulents and snake plants, can be propagated using the same method. (See also my posts on how to grow succulents from leaves and cuttings and my explanation of how to grow snake plants in four different ways.)

Step 2: Plant the prickly pear cutting

Planting should be done once the cuttings have callused over. If you have access to rooting hormone, you can dip the cut ends of the pads into it before planting them, but it’s not necessary. The prickly pear is not one of the plants that I typically reserve rooting hormone for.

Simply place the cuttings upright in succulent or cactus soil that drains well, and water. Seek out my simple, three-ingredient succulent soil mix or simply get one from the supermarket marked “succulent” or “cactus.” Avoid use common, well-draining potting soils. For better drainage, ucculent/cactus soil contains more additions like sand and perlite.

When the top several inches of soil become dry, water the cuttings. Try to very gently tug on the cuttings after a few weeks. If you encounter opposition, kudos to you! Your cutting’s roots are starting to form. If a few weeks have passed and you are still not experiencing resistance, don’t worry. It may take some time, especially in the colder months of the year.

Step 3: Transplant or water as normal

My prickly pear pads didn’t require transplanting because I put them in the container I intended to keep them in. Wait until the roots are comparatively established before transplanting them if necessary. Make sure to cut back on watering once the roots are established and to wait until the soil has dried up before watering again.

An overwatered cactus will definitely die! Avoid over-watering the soil, as you did during the propagation phase. Since it is now a separate plant, root sprouting no longer requires additional assistance.

Can prickly pear cactus be grown from a cutting?

Although it can be tricky, growing cacti is quite simple! The Opuntia genus, widely known as the prickly pear cactus, is a good example of this. You can grow these drought-tolerant plants from seeds or cuttings, and we’ll show you how to do both. Thanks to prickly pear cactus propagation, your one cactus will soon grow into a large garden with a distinct southwest flair!

The huge genus Opuntia contains more than 150 species. You may quickly obtain a sense of some species’ traits by looking through images, such as those of Opuntia microdasys. They have segmented stems, known as paddles, and pink or yellow flowers are typically found at the top. The fruit, known as “tuna,” is frequently consumed raw and Opuntia ficus-indica is farmed for both the fruit and the pads commercially. Glochids, a fancy name for microscopic hairs and bothersome spines, cover the paddles. When handling prickly pears and their thorny fruits, always use heavy gloves since the glochids are uncomfortable to touch and difficult to remove from skin.

Growing prickly pear cactus is just as simple as propagating it. Even though cacti are often associated with hot climates, Opuntia species can be found naturally growing in some places of Canada! This cactus is among the hardiest on the planet, enduring continuous temperatures well below freezing. You shouldn’t have any trouble maintaining your new plants once they’ve been propagated outside in full sunlight.

How much time does it take prickly pear cuttings 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 root cactus cuttings 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.

How are prickly pear puppies reproduced?

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 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.

Before watering the newly transplanted pear cactus, wait three to five days. 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.

Can prickly pears be grown indoors?

Opuntia species, including prickly pears, are relatively common desert cactus planted as indoor houseplants. They have wide, flat, thick, spine-covered pads on segmented stems that are exceedingly decorative.

Others contain small, hair-like barbs that detach upon contact with the plant, stick in the flesh, and can be challenging to remove, so treat with caution. Some have huge, rounded spines.

The edible, lemon- or plum-shaped prickly pear fruit of several Opuntia species, commonly referred to as “Indian figs,” is becoming into a delicacy in the UK. They are attractive and colorful as well. When fully grown, the meat inside turns orange and the outside turns bright red. When ripe, some types have a yellow outside and a green interior. These are utilized in syrups, preserves, and jellies because they aren’t quite as sweet. However, for plants to grow healthy fruit in the UK, the environment must be ideal.

Cultivation

Prickly pears should be cultivated inside in a conservatory or heated greenhouse with good, all-around lighting, ideally with a south or west facing aspect. In the summer, they require 4-6 hours of direct sunlight.

Although they are not cold- or frost-resistant, they can be brought outside in the summer to a warm, sunny patio. Make sure to bring them inside before the early autumn weather turns chilly.

They require minimum spring and summer temperatures of 18C (65F), however while they are dormant, they prefer colder temperatures of 7-13C (45-55F). Keep them away from radiators, direct heat, draughts, and fans, which can lead to temperature changes.

Prickly pear cactus varieties

Opuntia has more than 200 different species. From low-growing plants that grow to a height of 30 cm (1 foot) to those that can easily reach 5.4 m (18ft).

Opuntia microdasys, sometimes known as bunny ears, is likely the best kind to cultivate at home. Only reaching heights of 30-45cm (12-18in), it has oval pads covered in tufts of tiny, golden spines. But don’t let their diminutive size deceive you; if they get caught in your fingers, these tiny barbs can be just as unpleasant as much larger spines.

Planting prickly pear cacti

They require a compost that is extremely well-drained, just like all other desert cactus, so either add more grit to John Innes Compost or, even better, use a compost that is recommended for cacti and succulents.

To give the compost a natural, finished appearance and to help prevent the plant’s base from lying in wet compost, add a topdressing of gravel, pebbles, or sharp sand on top of the compost.

When working with the plants, be mindful of the spines. It is preferable to wear gloves and wrap a collar made of rolled-up newspaper around the stem when potting up or otherwise moving the plants.

How to care for prickly pear cacti

Many people mistakenly believe that desert cacti don’t require any watering. They can withstand extended droughts by storing water in their stems, but if given enough water, they develop and blossom considerably more effectively. When plants are growing (from March/April to September), water them heavily, but when they are dormant, water them less frequently—once or twice a month may be adequate. Before watering it once more, let the compost somewhat dry out. Never let the pot sit in water; always let the compost drain.

Feed with a balanced liquid feed once a month from late spring to late summer while plants are growing; do not feed in the fall and winter.

Only when it is absolutely necessary, such as when they become very potbound or outgrow their current container, can prickly pears be replanted. Repotting should only be done in late spring or early summer into a larger pot.