How To Prune Cactus Plants

Cutting back a cactus is explained as a horrible joke. The straightforward response is: carefully. The majority of cacti feature a spine or prickle, which can be uncomfortable to come into contact with. For the larger garden specimens, wear long sleeves and pants and thick gloves.

Depending on the size of the plant, a variety of tools may be used, but pruners are the most common. Only the biggest ones will need a saw. As with all pruning, ensure sure the implement is clean and sharp to prevent damage to the plant and the spread of disease.

At the branch point, cut off the limbs, being cautious not to cut into the main stem. You can either use pruners to cut the pads or leaves off by hand.

Use a saw to cut away the main trunk at the desired branching point or plant height when working on a large task, such as pruning a columnar specimen. Make an effort to cut the stem where it is growing.

Old leaves must be removed from plants like agave in order to maintain their aesthetic appeal. Use shears to remove them from the plant’s base.

How soon should I trim my cactus?

Clearly, the answer is “yes. As was already said, you must occasionally prune your cactus plant to control its size and prevent crowding. In rare cases, pruning might prevent your plant from dying (in case of top-bottom rotting and pest infestation).

Keep in mind, too, that most cacti species don’t actually require any kind of shape or trimming until they have grown a big branch that threatens to topple your plant. The only time most gardeners are required to prune their cacti plants is when they need to take cuttings to replant.

If done correctly, cactus pruning can improve the plant’s overall appearance and minimize overcrowding, which raises the risk of disease and pest infestation. Mildew and sick plants can also develop from overcrowding.

Organ pipe cacti and totem pole cacti are examples of columnar cacti that can become spindly or tall and need to be regularly pruned to encourage thicker stems or lateral branching.

Flat pads on the opuntia act as the leaves. In this situation, you can take out a few pads and place new seeds in them. This still counts as a sort of trimming back or pruning.

When in bloom, the other cactus family members, like the Christmas cactus, generate flower stalks. When dead, these flower stalks get unattractive, and the only method to get rid of them is to cut your plant.

The most important benefit of trimming, despite its variety of uses, is that you can always use the bits you remove to propagate new plants.

Do cacti regrow after being cut?

From bits cut from the primary cactus, cactus plants can produce new plants. The cactus’ shape determines the cutting technique. Typically, these segments are used to reproduce varieties that produce segmented leaves or stems. The bases of some cactus plants, such as barrel varieties, sprout smaller young plants. To create a new cactus, you can remove one of these smaller plants. The original plant is kept safe and the new cactus is given the best possible chance to thrive by carefully removing the cutting and transplanting it.

Why is my cactus becoming more elongated and tall?

Cacti are typically thought of as resilient plants with fewer needs than other indoor plants. Cacti are perennial desert plants that require a certain amount of light, heat, and water to survive in their optimum form, even if they continue to grow in a variety of situations.

Like other plants, cacti have ways to express their unmet needs. They don’t have leaves that can turn yellow, but they can nevertheless show their demands by becoming slender and pale. Etiolation is the term for this. The cacti can develop long, slender branches or, less frequently, spindly, odd-looking branches. Continue reading if your cactus is displaying any of these symptoms.

Lack of sunlight is the main cause of cacti’s slim growth. To make up for this, they become taller and leaner as they strive upward for more light. Moving them outside or close to a south-facing window will remedy this.

How can I maintain a little cactus?

Seven guidelines to help your little succulents and cactus survive and thrive

  • You do need to water them, though.
  • They cannot endure in a dim area.
  • There should always be a drainage hole in your planter.
  • Stop misting your succulents and cactus.
  • Larger plants require more maintenance than smaller ones do.

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.

What happens if you remove a cactus’ spikes?

While removing the spines makes a cactus less thorny, it can also make the plant look unattractive. The different types of spines include hair-like, flattened and ridged, hooked, straight, bristly, comb-shaped, papery, feathery, or twisted ones. Black, tan, orange, red, pink, gray, yellow, golden, or white are some of the available hues. The majority of cacti contain two different kinds of spines: a thicker central spine that faces the center of the areole and thinner radial spines that encircle it. Glochids, the tiny, barbed spines at the base of the bigger spines of prickly pears (Opuntia spp. ), are among the most hated spines. Depending on the species, prickly pears can grow in USDA zones 3b through 11.

Can I clip the cactus’ needles off?

“Dieter claims that it is a natural response. However, if at all possible, “you’re better off not using your fingers.

It’s all too simple to make things worse, especially if you attempt to remove cholla bits with your own hands. Nobel once seen the results of this choice in a couple who had been harmed by the infamous teddy bear cholla in the Saguaro National Forest. As one of the couple initially got trapped on a piece of stem, his wife became caught when she attempted to remove him.

According to Nobel, the more they fought, the deeper their spines went.

They were holding hands with the torturous joint while yelling for aid as they walked along the road in an uncomfortable embrace. By removing the spines with a pair of wire cutters, Nobel was able to liberate the pair.

Before dealing with the individual prickers, Puente-Martinez also suggests cutting the section of stem to which the spines are attached, like he did in Mexico when his friend’s lip turned into a pincushion. He suggests using a pair of scissors or pliers to cut the stem-attached spines, leaving about a half-inch piece of spine still embedded in your flesh. The stem and some of the spines can also be worked free using the teeth of a comb. If you don’t have any tools on hand and the spines are stuck in your hand, another option is to lean over, step on the stem joint, and pull your hand free. However, this will probably result in a little more blood as the spines are drawn out.

Depending on the kind of spine you have, there are different things you should do next. You can try using a pair of tweezers to remove larger, needle-like spines. The straight spines on saguaro cacti are the easiest to remove, however barbed cholla spears or hooked spines like those on barrel cacti require a little more effort to remove.

When you try to remove cactus spines, they frequently break, leaving bits under your skin. According to Trager, “[the area] will stay sensitive to the touch, so you’ll know if you haven’t gotten it all.

To find the spine fragment, you can try using tweezers or a needle, however they may be transparent and difficult to find.

According to Trager, trying to manipulate the spine with a needle frequently results in more harm than the spine itself did. “It might not be worth performing unless you can truly see the broken base of the spine just under the skin or something. According to him, some of the discomfort from implanted spines can be relieved by soaking in a warm Epsom salt bath.

How do I deal with a too-tall cactus?

You won’t be able to take a cutting and start a new plant from the top unless the column’s diameter is less than 6 inches.

Spring is the ideal season to take a cutting. If the plant is tall and slender, trim it back to a height of 9 to 12 inches, then leave the cutting to “cure” (dry) for a few weeks in a bright but shaded area. After that, completely cover the base with a rooting hormone dust before planting it in a container of cactus potting soil. For at least a month, stop watering. Water the cutting simply once after a month to check if you can pull on it. If there is resistance, roots are forming and a new cactus has begun.

Consider donating the plant to a location where it can have more space to live out its life if the column is longer than 6 inches.

See our Plant Information Guides for advice on a number of gardening-related issues. – With permission from NYBG Plant Information Service

How should a leggy cactus be treated?

Allow the end of the portion you cut off to develop a callus for a few days. You can cut the cutting again into a more manageable size if it is excessively tall, measuring more than 5 inches (1.27 cm). Before planting, let each cut end dry completely. A rooting hormone is rarely necessary for succulents, however it could hasten the establishment of roots.

If simply left outside to dry, some succulents will develop roots. Put the callused cutting on top of the succulent soil mixture, or for a long stem, insert it just a little bit into the mixture and support it with a little stick. After a week of keeping the container dry, spray the soil’s surface. Give the plant the typical amount of water for that species of plant once it has roots.

Simply by enhancing the old plant’s appearance, you now have an entirely new one. That’s why succulents are so amazing!

Can you plant a cactus after removing the top?

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.

Cacti are watered either from the top or the bottom.

Cactuses need regular summertime hydration to grow and stay healthy, but if you overwater it or mist it too frequently, it could rot from the base up.

Follow the advice of knowledgeable cactus growers and water from the bottom. Put the potted cactus in a shallow saucer that is half-filled with water every week during hot weather, or whenever the pot feels light, and leave it there for approximately a half-hour or until it soaks up the water. Enough water will be absorbed by the soil for the plant. Furthermore, since the majority of the moisture will be near the pot’s bottom, deep rooting will be promoted.

A cactus has a limited lifespan.

Carefully! To loop around the top, use either very thick gloves or folded newspaper. With tweezers, you may remove huge spikes that have stuck you. Small spikes can be removed by covering them with duct tape, ripping it off, or quickly massaging the area with a ball of old tights. The experts at Thejoyofplants.co.uk suggest using olive oil to refine the final fine spikes.

What pests do you need to look out for?

Verify that the plant’s body (the cactus’ “body”) and the root system are devoid of mealybugs. It is one of the most prevalent and challenging cactus pests, with a fuzzy white wax coating that contains oval insects. Additionally, aphids, scale insects, thrips, and red spider mites (eight-legged pests that cover a plant in a delicate, dense web) can appear. Check for damage and make sure the root system is sound. Cacti that have been kept in excessive moisture for an extended period of time may have rotted “from the pot,” which can also be brought on by fungi and bacteria. The real stem, which is green, may then feel supple.

Are all cacti prickly?

No. Cacti are typically thought of as desert plants, however there are also forest cacti that lack bristles; nonetheless, the variety that can be grown indoors is extremely limited.

How long does a cactus plant live?

Cacti can live for hundreds of years in the wild. They could live for ten years or longer indoors. The issue with old ones is that every single bump, scratch, or imperfection they receive stays with them; as a result, as they age, they start to look less attractive.