How To Plant Cactus Pads

Cacti like the Opuntia (Prickly Pear) are a fantastic frost-resistant alternative for low-water environments. They come as unrooted paddles or pads that are prepared to be planted and develop roots. Opuntia’s barbed glochids can pierce skin and leather gloves, therefore always handle it with tongs. The following planting steps are explained in the full care guide that is included with every order of opuntia.

How to Plant Opuntia Cactus

  • Choose a spot with grittier, better-draining soil and at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • To fit the bottom part of the pad, create a hole that is 2″–3″ broad and deep.
  • Lean the pad into the hole using tongs (you do not need to refill the hole right away as the roots sprout best surrounded by air)
  • Wait three to five days before watering; only water again when the soil is absolutely dry; and do not water at all during the winter.

Can a cactus be grown from a cactus pad?

To plant cactus pads in soil, there are two methods. The calloused component should be placed at the bottom of the upright position. Another choice is to simply leave the pads on top of the ground.

For smaller pads that will struggle to stand unaided, the second option is preferable. Cacti can root from their areoles, so keep that in mind. Their spines originate from these points.

We advise utilizing a ready-made cactus soil mixture for the soil. This has good drainage because it was designed specifically for cactus.

Finally, we typically water our rooted pads according to our regular cactus watering schedule and procedures. This can stop overwatering, which is the main reason cacti die.

To promote quicker rooted, we do like to keep the soil moist for the first several weeks.

How are cactus beds planted?

For those with no prior experience caring for plants, cacti and succulents are excellent beginner plants. Both kids and adults may grow them successfully. The kids will love creating a cactus garden on a rainy day, but it’s best to stay away from the thorny cacti. If you’re going to use prickly cactus, gently wrap it in newspaper that has been folded into a strip of various thicknesses or handle it with kitchen tongs. These adaptable plants tolerate some neglect and are perfect for a bright, sunny south-facing window, which would otherwise be too hot for most other plants. In addition to forgiving some neglect, they don’t require any trimming, their leaves don’t turn yellow and drop, and because they grow so slowly, they seldom ever require repotting. Make sure they are not in a draft, especially in the winter, and that the temperature is between 18 and 29 degrees Celsius (6485F).

They won’t die if you neglect to water them for a few weeks; nevertheless, if you overwater them, the roots will rot. In a typical heated room, watering every 68 weeks should be sufficient in the winter, but in the summer, this should only be done every 24 weeks, especially if the plant is on a south-facing windowsill. Do not water plants, water the compost. Although they would love a mild solution of cactus food every month, you are not need to feed them. If you complete these actions, you might be lucky and receive a flower as a prize.

You will need:

  • A shallow, wide pot or trough with holes for drainage; they look especially lovely in terracotta or ones with South American designs.
  • Saucer on which to place the pot
  • Crocks (terracotta pot fragments) or tiny polystyrene pieces (for drainage)
  • Compost from cacti
  • glass pot toppers, horticulture grit, or horticultural sand
  • Plants (small plants in 9cm pots)
  • Broken terracotta pot parts, stones, or miniature sculptures in vibrant colors are used as decorations.
  • a hand shovel

How to construct:

  • Over the container’s base, scatter some broken crocks or bits of polystyrene.
  • Add a thick layer of cactus compost up to 2.5cm (1) from the pot’s top.
  • Simply squeeze the pot to let the plant emerge from it. Use your fingers to pry the roots apart.
  • Create a hole in the compost that is big enough to fit the plant, then put the plant inside. As you will be adding a thick layer of grit, it makes little difference whether the tops of the plant roots are slightly above the surface of the compost. So that the plant doesn’t sway, compact the compost around it.
  • Fill the container with a layer of glass pot toppers, horticultural sand, or grit.

Can you plant a cactus piece that has been broken off?

You can, indeed. Keep your plant’s shattered bits since they can grow new plants for you. The only thing you need to do is make sure you are preparing the broken pieces for planting according to the correct procedures.

Checking the piece’s broken end should be your initial step. Make a fresh cut with a sharp knife to straighten up the end if it is crooked or broken.

For a few days, leave the shattered portion alone so that the wound can calluse over in preparation for rooted. Before you start to root it, make sure the cut end is dry and covered with tape.

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.

Cacti can 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 should a cactus arm be replanted?

Carefully handle the cactus portion to prevent finger stabs. When moving the sharp object, use heavy-duty gloves, tongs, or a folded piece of newspaper wrapped around it. If the object is spiky, avoid touching it with your hands. The cut end of the cactus should be pressed into the soil mixture. If the branch is large, bury the cactus’ base until the branch is supported by the dirt.

How are prickly pear pads transplanted?

For at least a year, cultivate the cactus in the pot. In the spring, after the soil reaches a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit, transplant the cactus plant. Place the cactus in a location with ample sunlight and soil that drains properly. Create a hole that is twice as big and twice as deep as the root ball of the plant. Put the root ball in the hole’s middle. Soil should be piled back into the hole and compacted hard. After planting, immediately water the cactus.

Take a cutting

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.


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.

How should the ground be prepared for cacti?

Whether buying it or making it yourself, plant cacti in specially formulated potting soil. Cactus care requires good drainage, and standard potting soil has a tendency to retain too much moisture for these low-water plants. Cactus soil mixes come in a wide variety of brands—some are even marked as organic—and you can make your own quite easily.

Horticultural sand, cactus compost (you can use standard potting soil for this, but remove any large pieces of wood or twigs), and grit in the form of pumice, perlite, or porous gravel are a suitable combination for cactus soil. Before planting, properly combine the materials.

If you’re growing cacti in a terrarium, you should first add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the container before covering it with potting soil.