How To Make A Cactus Plant

Probably the most frequent and straightforward method of propagation is stem cuttings. Stem cuttings are an effective method for multiplying many cacti. Stem cuttings from an existing plant are removed, then left to calluse and dry out. Eventually, the cuttings will begin to take root from the cut end and grow into a new plant.

Some cacti that are frequently multiplied via stem cuttings include:

  • Prickly pears or opuntia
  • Collapsed cactus
  • Pincushion and Globular cacti

Can a leaf be used to start a cactus?

If you want indoor plants that practically care for themselves, succulents and cactus plants are the ideal choice.

As detailed here, stem or leaf cuttings can be used to readily propagate the majority of cacti and succulents. Always remove entire segments from cacti with segmented stems (such as Christmas cacti and prickly pears), as cuttings don’t divide segments in half.

Aloes, haworthias, and agaves are clump-forming succulents that can be divided by simply removing the plant from its container and slicing the rootball. Numerous Mammillaria and Echinopsis cacti can be separated, or individual heads can be removed and used as cuttings.

In our No Fuss video guide, Kevin Smith of Gardeners’ World Magazine demonstrates how to use cactus plants to make a visually appealing display. Kevin discusses the benefits of using salad tongs to handle cacti, the best compost to use, and how to make attractive mulch.

Step 1

Select a healthy stem that is at least 10 cm long and use snips to cleanly cut it off. When handling spiky cacti, use tongs. Remove entire leaves from plants without stems by hand; don’t chop them off. Until the cut surfaces have healed over, leave cuttings on a window sill.

Step 3

After heavily watering, set the pot on a warm ledge that’s preferable out of the sun. Cuttings of succulents or cacti shouldn’t be put in propagators or covered with plastic bags.

Step 4

Watch the cutting and moisten the compost when it feels dry. Most cactus and succulent cuttings will root within a month, but it may take longer for new growth to appear.

What do I need to grow cacti?

It’s a widespread notion that cactus can survive under neglect, however this is undoubtedly untrue. A cactus need the five things listed below to survive:


In science class, we all discovered that all plants need light for photosynthesis. There must be light, regardless of the kind of plant or how much light they truly require. Cacti are the same. A cactus actually prefers sunlight because it is abundant in its native environment.

The quantity of light a cactus requires can vary depending on the species, although most cacti can live in bright, direct sunlight.

It is possible to have too much light, too. A cactus can get burnt if it is exposed to high-intensity light for an extended period of time. To prevent this problem, it is advised that you provide your cactus protection from harsh light, especially if you are trying to adapt it to a new location.

On the other hand, your cactus will grow tall and thin in quest of the light it need, a process known as etiolation, if you don’t give it enough sunshine. The plant won’t also be able to blossom because it doesn’t receive adequate sunlight exposure for photosynthesis.

So where is the ideal middle ground? Cacti like direct sunshine, but if you’re keeping yours indoors, you’ll need to expose it to full-spectrum light for 12 to 14 hours each day. Your cactus will receive all the wavelengths that sunshine offers thanks to full-spectrum light. To control the number of hours your cactus is exposed to light, you can use A Plus LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants or this Fauna 100W COB Plant Grow Light Full Spectrum.

Here are a few quick cactus lighting suggestions to remember:

  • Pick a location for your cactus with care. Whether you keep it inside or outside, make sure it gets enough sunshine where it is.
  • To prevent shock when moving a cactus to a new location or transplanting one, gradually increase its exposure to light.
  • If your cactus lives indoors, attempt to modify the illumination according to the seasons. If you bring your cactus indoors over the winter, be sure to give it the light it requires, even if you have to reduce the quantity to reflect the season.
  • Pay close attention to how your cactus looks; if you spot a light sunburn on its surface, act quickly to offer some protection.


Your cactus needs to be in an aerated area; as obvious as this may sound, plants require air to survive. It must be kept in a well-ventilated area where it has unrestricted access to both oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Cacti breathe differently than other plants, which helps them thrive in hot, dry climates. A cactus closes its stomata during the day and opens it at night, but most plants do the opposite to prevent water loss.

A cactus can increase the air quality at night by producing more oxygen, but it isn’t a good enough excuse to cram it in a closet or other small, enclosed area. Your cactus has to be kept in an airy, open area so that it can breathe properly, especially at night.


Underwatering is one of the worst mistakes that cactus owners do. Plants believe that because cacti can survive in hot climates, they can go for weeks without water. Cacti are robust plants, but they still need frequent watering to live, just like other plants. If you don’t give them enough water, they usually die.

On the other side, some cactus owners could overwater their plants. Water that accumulates at the bottom of the container may eventually cause root rot. It is crucial to comprehend that cactus can survive periods of drought but prefer a dry environment.

How much water does a cactus thus require? The Cactus & Succulent Society of San Jose’s specialists say that cacti only require weekly watering. Make sure the soil is loose and that the pot has holes at the bottom so that any extra water can quickly drain. Water the cactus until the soil is completely soaked and water begins to drain from the drainage holes.

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.

Can a cactus be rooted 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 do you re-root a cactus fragment?

Large desert cactus, such as the prickly pear (Opuntia spp. ), can be rooted either indoors or outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3b through 11. Usually, smaller desert plants are rooted in flower pots. One-third to one-half of the pad or stem should be buried, bottom end down, in the potting media after making a small hole in it. Place in a warm environment with filtered light that is bright. Wait to water the plant until the roots start to form.

How frequently do cacti need to be watered?

The most frequent reason for cacti failure is improper watering, whether it is done too much or too little. Cacti have evolved to store water for extended periods of time and can maintain moisture through droughts because they are endemic to arid regions and dry temperatures. They have a limited capacity, which is why over-watering can result in a variety of issues.

When it comes to regularity, watering your cacti will largely depend on the season but also on the variety. Checking the soil is the easiest technique to determine whether your cactus needs water: It’s time for a drink if the top inch is dry. That entails applying the “soak and dry procedure” on cactus.

What is the soak and dry method?

The soak and dry technique is thoroughly wetting the soil until part of it begins to flow out the drainage hole, then waiting until the mixture is nearly dry before wetting it once more. If done properly, this strategy will help them endure a period of under-watering should you need to travel or leave the house because it takes use of their natural tendency to store water (or if you just get busy and watering falls to the wayside, as happens to all of us now and again).

Watering during the growing season versus the inactive season

Like with many houseplants, the season affects how frequently you need water. It becomes more crucial that you get in the habit of examining the soil to determine whether your cacti are thirsty. A healthy cactus needs watering every one to two weeks during the growing season, according to general wisdom. The frequency changes to once every three to four weeks during the off-season.

Even then, it’s crucial to examine the soil. The same way that not all interior spaces and not all cacti are alike. The only way to be certain that your cactus require watering is to carefully examine the soil to determine how dry it is because there are so many different factors.

How do you split a cactus and replant it?

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.