How To Divide A Cactus Plant

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.

Can a cactus be split in half and planted again?

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.

Do I need to divide the cactus?

Amazing plants, cacti generally grow slowly and have extended lifespans. The day comes for many cactus aficionados, though, when they want to begin propagating their cacti. To share it with friends and family, to start growing fresh cactus because of an illness, or to add to the collection of cacti. We will provide you with a comprehensive tutorial on how to propagate cacti from seeds, stem and leaf cuttings, offsets, and share advice in this post. You will be able to discover brand-new techniques for growing cacti.

Propagating cacti by dividing offsetsthe easiest way

Cacti can be multiplied vegetatively by diving their offsets. Vegetative propagation is the process of a parent cactus producing an offset asexually without the use of seeds.

An identical offset, which is typically a small cluster, is produced by the parent plant and can be divided to form a new cactus. Cacti can be spread most easily using this method.

An offset is typically quite simple to divide, and it will establish itself fast and often successfully. When you separate small offsets from a mother plant, many of them already contain tiny roots.

Not all species of cactus can generate offsets, however many of them can. It would be relatively simple to spread cactus without using seeds if they could all reproduce by offsets. Some cacti can generate offsets, but because the plant is so little and delicate, it is not advised that you separate them. Small offsets help these cacti grow and look better.

You shouldn’t divide/cut offset from the following cacti:

  • The peanut cactus, Lobivia silvestrii
  • small (note that you can cut offsets for big species) Genus Gymnocalycium
  • Tephrocactus
  • Echinocereus, a genus of bigger shrub cactus, including species like Echinocereus engelmannii.
  • small-scale Rebutia cacti

One of the plants you should avoid reproducing using offsets is Rebutia heliosa.

As it can affect the cactus’ growth and integrity, it is often preferable to reproduce these cacti in other ways.

You can propagate cacti from offsets with these cacti:

  • Your offset-propagating cacti should be big, rounded, and clump-forming. It is ideal for offsets to be at least the size of a little ball and the primary parent cactus to be huge. These cacti grow “separately,” and the pups on them don’t have a nice appearance.
  • For instance, the majority of Mammillaria or huge Echinopsis eyriesii are ideal. Numerous additional species are equally appropriate. Please refer to our individual care papers if you have any questions.

Cacti that don’t produce offsets/pups:

Many cacti don’t normally generate pups or offsets. These include, for instance:

  • big cacti with a barrel form, like those in the genus Ferocactus.
  • Others include the genus Astrophytum of cactus,
  • Parodia,
  • as well as numerous others.

Offsets are unusual for these cacti. However, in the event of wounds, damage to the root system, cold, etc., they can still create offsets to preserve themselves. Some individuals propagate uncommon cacti in this way. However, most cacti create offsets, and it’s usually easy to divide them apart for fresh growth.

How to propagate cacti using offsets/pups:

  • In late spring or summer, cut the offsets from the main parent plant.
  • The offset ought to be between 1.5 and 2 inches long. Higher offsets on the parent cactus typically have stronger and healthier offsets.
  • You will need to either cut the pup/offset free from the parent plant with a knife or disconnect it manually.
  • To see where a parent plant and a pup are connected, remove the soil from the offset’s top.
  • It could be simpler to manually disconnect the offset
  • Simply take a pup, turn it around, and gently break it till it falls off.
  • You can use a knife if that doesn’t work. Cut the knife at the connecting place after sterilizing it (with boiling water or alcohol).
  • Cut off any remaining parent plant material from the pup using a clean knife. If not, it will decay and harm the pup.
  • After that, you must allow your pup to dry for around three days before planting it. The pup can be dried most effectively by being positioned vertically in a vacant container with drainage holes. If the offset isn’t dried, any wounds won’t heal in time for planting and will instead degrade the soil.
  • When you cut off any cacti offsets from the parent plant, their roots will develop organically (most Echinopsis cacti, for example).
  • A cactus pup without roots can be placed in dry soil with some gravel for a few days or even up to a week before it begins to grow roots. Alternatively, you might put your cactus in a pot with perlite, some ground charcoal, and sand so that it can develop roots. With small-rooted offsets, skip this step.
  • Set up the soil and container for your new cactus. Before adding soil, remember to utilize the proper containers and drainage. Learn how to make cactus soil and select the best container here.
  • Place a pup in the ground, but don’t bury it too deeply. The dirt should only cover one-fourth of the stem.
  • Deep under the stem, some adult cactus generate very tiny pups. These puppies will frequently be little and receive less light. These pups should be dried for a few days before planting in order to separate them. After leaving them in the shade for several days, gently move them to a lighter location.
  • After planting, don’t water the cactus right away! 5-7 days should pass before watering. By doing this, you will reduce the possibility of rotting and infections.

That’s basically all for growing and dividing cacti from offsets. This is the simplest method for propagating cactus, and if you choose to use it in the late spring or summer, you shouldn’t encounter many difficulties. Ensure that pups are dry before planting.

Propagating cacti with stem and leaf cuttingsthe second best way

The second best method of cacti propagation uses stem and leaf cuttings. By straightforward division, this method of propagation is also vegetative. Cutting propagation is comparable to pup/offset propagation. This method of reproduction is quite helpful when a cactus is growing too large and unsightly, or if it is, for example, beginning to decay. A nice approach to share your cactus with friends or family is through stem/leaf cuttings.

  • Approximately 7 days after watering your cactus, take cuttings in the spring or summer.
  • Selecting healthy, non-dry, uninfected cactus portions is the first step.
  • To reduce the risk of infection, clean a knife or blade with rubbing alcohol in this manner.
  • With a knife, slice the leaf or stem portion across the joining point.
  • If the object comes off of the cactus loosely, you can avoid needing a knife to make the cut. Try to remove a leaf with a base by gently pulling it from side to side.
  • Apply some horticultural charcoal like this to the base of the cutting and a piece of a cut cactus to avoid infection of the plant and the cutting. To stop the chopped area of your cactus from drying out, you can even cover it with a piece of paper or fabric.
  • It is now crucial to use a knife to “sharpen” the end of the cutting base. Cut the base’s edges with a knife that has been sterilized. Sharpen the edge by slowly slicing across the cutting base, just as you would with a pencil. This is crucial because if the cutting is allowed to dry, the roots will draw back inside the skin at the location of the cut. Even while a blunted cutting will develop more quickly, its roots will only grow from one side and will be too feeble to support the plant’s stem for an extended period of time. This is so that there won’t be any root growth from the plant’s center.
  • However, if you sharpen the cutting edge, roots will begin to sprout from the center of the plant, building a stronger root system for long-term success.
  • The cutting should be dried. Once you pot them, this will help them develop more effectively. Drying should only be done vertically for 10-14 days for thick/large clippings and 5-7 days for little ones. It can be hung or put vertically in a container that is empty. Your cutting will begin to develop tiny roots on that side if you place it on a table (horizontally), which will result in permanent harm. Because the roots on this cutting are coming out of the side rather than the base, it cannot be potted. Therefore, only dry them vertically. The pot can be topped with a few rocks if you have a flat cutting.
  • Place the base in the temporary substrate so that it can begin developing roots if you notice that the base is becoming coated in callus (a dried wound) or after a general drying period. Sand, charcoal, and peat should make up the majority of the temporary substrate.

One method of growing cuttings Sand and charcoal make up the top white layer, which is followed by soil and drainage level.

  • Roots should start to show after around two weeks. At this point, a cactus can be repotted into a typical substrate like this cactus and succulent mix. More information on creating cactus soil may be found here.

You can chop off the healthy top of a cactus and develop a new cactus if any portion of the plant is sick or rotting. To preserve a dying cactus, a stem cutting will be used. As previously mentioned, use a sharp knife to cut and sanitize the cutting edges.

Propagating cactus with seeds

Cacti can also be grown from seeds, although the likelihood of success is smaller and the process will take much longer. A useful technique to raise uncommon or hard to find cacti species that don’t produce pups is by sowing their seeds.

Cacti that you successfully grow from seeds will be robust and healthy since they will become accustomed to your surroundings and climate from day one. But if you want fast results, avoid growing cacti from seeds. Your cacti won’t grow to maturity for many years, if ever. The majority of young cacti need between one and three years to mature before they can bloom.

Some cacti can produce seeds without the help of other plants (which means by themselves). Most Rebutia species, a few Echinocacti, Mammilaria, and Cereus cacti fall under this category.

However, by shaking their own stamen to release some pollen onto the pestle, some cacti can also be fertilized with their own pollen. It is especially true with cacti that have been developed from the same plant that certain cacti may not be pollen-receptive and won’t produce seeds (cuttings for example).

For instance, zygocacti struggle to generate seeds. Cactus fruit can also be used to obtain seeds. The tiny, frequently black, and dust-like seeds of cacti.