Knowing some of the reasons why cactus trimming is necessary, you now need to know when to carry it out. The top five indications that it’s time to prune your plant are covered in this section.
The plant has become too large
There are a few exceptions to the rule that most cacti species grow slowly and seldom reach destructive heights. When the correct conditions are present, members of the family of jungle cacti can grow too quickly.
As a result, if you want your plant to be asymmetrical but it is getting too big or one side is growing significantly quicker than the other, you may want to prune it back.
Normally, if you are pruning a plant to make it smaller, you should think about trimming the plant back by at least a third every year. A plant with regular trimming will eventually become slightly bushier and have more areas for blossoms to grow.
It’s a little simpler to maintain smaller plants because you may put them anyplace in your home. They can fit on your window sills without taking up too much of the small interior area.
Some pests can still get to your plant even if the majority of cacti species have sharp spines that keep them away. Cactus bugs, mealy bugs, spider mites, cactus longhorn beetles, scale insects, and other common pests may attack your cactus.
Some of these insects reproduce quickly, and the results can be disastrous if you don’t move quickly to stop them. While the majority of them target the stems, some may also target the roots.
You must take the necessary steps to stop pest infestations as soon as you see them on your cactus. You may easily eliminate huge bugs by hand if they are an issue. You might have to hire a professional pest exterminator if they are small, like spider mites.
The bad news is that some bugs that affect cactus are so resilient and chemically resistant that not even the most seasoned pest exterminator can eradicate them. Pruning the damaged area is the sole option if you have tried hiring an exterminator but have not seen any effects.
Determine the area of the stem that was bugged, then carefully prune it back. To prevent re-infestation, be sure to prune the entire stem that is afflicted.
You must act quickly to address the frequent cactus problem of rotting if you want to keep your plant. Rotting may begin at the base (roots) and progress to the stem. It may also begin at the top and descend.
You may be dealing with tip rot, often referred to as cactus stem rot, if the tip of your cactus begins to turn brown and squishy. If you don’t move quickly to save the plant, your cactus will eventually die since once it begins to rot from the top, it won’t stop.
A fungus and pest infestation, as well as water infiltrating through an open wound on the plant, are the main causes of stem rot. Your cactus may be prone to stem rot if it has sustained any kind of harm.
The most crucial action you must take to save the remainder of the plant is to prune or cut down all compromised stem parts as soon as you see stem rot symptoms on your plant. If the rot isn’t removed by pruning, it will eventually kill your plant if you don’t.
Remember that rot spreads quickly, so there might not be much time left to preserve the cactus. To prune the stem’s impacted areas, use pruning shears or a sharp knife.
The appearance of dead stalks after blooming season
Another indication that you need to prune your cactus is the presence of dead flower stalks soon after the flowering season. This is especially true of the profusely flowering Christmas cacti.
To prevent losing the priceless blooms, don’t prune before the flowering season. But when the flowering season is done, you might see that the flower stems that are still there look unsightly. To give your cactus a fresh look, take your time and carefully prune them back.
In addition to getting rid of the dead stalks, pruning your cactus after the flowering period will also make it bushier, which will inevitably result in the formation of additional blooms the following year. Make sure to remove all of the diseased branches and dead stalks.
Cactus is getting too tall for its pot
When you notice that your cactus plant is growing too tall for its pot, you should also take pruning into consideration. Every two to three years is the ideal time to repot your cactus, although this is not always the case.
As a result, if you see that your plant is growing too tall for its container, you should think about cutting it to prevent it from falling over. Plants cultivated in light plastic containers typically develop into taller, more slender plants. The plant can grow thicker and healthier if its height is appropriately reduced.
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 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
Cacti never stop growing, do they?
In their natural habitat, cacti really go dormant during the sweltering summer months when there is a scarcity of water. They stop growing in the summer and instead focus on surviving the high temperatures and transpiration (water evaporation from the plant).
Please don’t cultivate your cactus year-round if you want to witness faster development. One of the common mistakes cacti owners make is that. The thinning, extended growth, and weakness of a cactus will result from not allowing it to fall dormant in the winter.
You must let your cactus fall dormant in the winter if you maintain one indoors and you have chilly winters. This will stop nutrient depletion and uneven growth. During winter hibernation, your cactus will also develop bloom buds (if flowering or starting to flower).
You must simulate a time without sunlight for your cacti in order to give them a period of dormancy. You should progressively cut back on watering once the weather outside begins to cool (around mid-October).
The most crucial part, though, is to keep watering. Cacti require some water to keep healthy, despite some owners’ advise to not water them at all in the winter.
Your cactus will dry up, lose roots, and later endure stunted development if you don’t water them over the winter. During the dormant season, modest irrigation as often as once per month to once per 5 to 6 weeks may be sufficient (check the soil first).
You must keep your cactus in a cool environment from the beginning of November to the end of March. Importantly, the temperature should be between 47 and 54 °F (8 and 12 °C). Reduced temperatures will stop further development and excessive water evaporation.
How do you prevent cacti from getting too big?
The majority of succulents are graceful low-growing plants that neatly tuck into cracks in rockeries, flower beds, pots, and between pavement stones. Although succulent pruning is not typically necessary, it is a simple procedure that can be used on plants that grow long and lose the compact character that makes them so coveted. Understanding how to trim a leggy succulent can help you get the plant back to the size you want while also giving you plant material for another one of these resilient, simple plants.
When you complain that your plant is too tall, you should regulate it. This could be caused by blooms, leaves, or stalks, and the plant may end up seeming smaller or not fitting into its original location. The type of plant you are growing will determine what to do if your succulents get too tall.
Plants go through a process known as etioliation when they are grown indoors or in other low light environments. The plant is stretching upward to catch more light, which causes the stem to lengthen. Transferring the plant to a southern exposure is the straightforward answer. But that leggy party is still left after this. Fortunately, it is possible to top leggy succulent plants, which will remove the excessively tall portion and encourage the growth of new, more compact shoots.
Can I cut my cactus’ top off?
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.
How come my cactus is getting so big?
We adore cacti. They look very charming in any room of your house, are simple to care for, and are understanding to those of us who lack a green thumb. They can withstand extreme dryness and heat both indoors and out, making them adaptable. They work well both individually and together in a container garden. It would be difficult to find someone who doesn’t gush about how lovely and simple these tiny plants are to maintain indoors.
However, nobody warns you that your succulent might begin to alter shape. Here’s some information on why your succulent might be growing taller if you’ve seen it.
Why It’s Happening
Etiolation is the process through which a succulent begins to develop a longer stem and paler, less densely packed leaves. Etiolation is most frequently brought on by a plant not receiving enough sunlight, which results in a change in the plant’s development, shape, and color. Since indoor succulents are rarely exposed to direct sunlight for lengthy periods of time, this problem most frequently affects them, however it can affect any succulent.
How To Fix Succulent Stretching
There are strategies to control the growth of your lanky plant even when it is impossible to make it again compact. Start by attempting to add extra light to its regular routine. Your succulent won’t be able to grow much longer if you do this.
Pruning your plants is the best technique to try and “recorrect” the growth. Take a sharp pair of shears, and make a cut directly above a row of leaves. Depending on the kind of succulent you own, the precise place will vary. You should leave the plant with a sufficient number of strong leaves so that it can continue to photosynthesize and survive. By doing this, you may get rid of a lot of the undesired, leggy growth without damaging the current plant. In addition, you can use the clippings to produce a fresh, healthy plant. After trimming your succulent, you should allow the cut end to completely dry in a well-lit place so that a callus can develop over the exposed end. Usually, this takes two to three days. The clipping can then be placed straight in the ground to produce roots over time.
For these new clippings and the freshly cut succulent, you can apply what you’ve learned about etiolation and how to prevent it in order to avoid repeating the same growth pattern.
Why is the growth of my cactus so rapid?
Do I water my cactus too frequently? Very likely. Although they are drought resilient, cacti actually require some drought to survive. Their roots are susceptible to decay, and too much water can be fatal.
Sadly, the signs of overwatering in cacti can be highly deceptive. Overwatered cactus plants first exhibit signals of health and contentment. They might fill up and sprout new growth. However, the roots are in trouble underground.
The roots will rot and die when they become wet. The plant above ground will start to decline as more roots die, typically becoming softer and changing color. It might already be too late to save it at this point. When the cactus is ripe and expanding swiftly, it’s critical to identify the symptoms early and to drastically reduce watering at that time.
How can I put my cactus into dormancy?
In their natural environments, which are primarily in North and South America, cacti experience torrid summers with little to no precipitation. As a result, they cease growing in the summer (dormancy) and resume it in the middle of the fall, when the rainy seasons begin.
The majority of cactus owners keep their plants indoors, so they have hot, humid summers but chilly winters. In this situation, winter is the time to start your cactus’ dormancy (mid October-end February).
It’s crucial to let your cactus hibernate throughout the winter if you keep them indoors. Cacti can “relax,” produce flower buds, and get ready for summer growth during dormancy.
Do all cacti need a dormancy period?
No, not all cacti require a time of hibernation. Cacti in the desert will benefit from a dormant time indoors. Tropical cacti, including those of the Rhipsalis, Schlumbergera, or Epiphyllum genera, do not require a period of dormancy.
Please make sure that temperatures are a little warmer for tropical cactus during the dormant season. Wintertime temperatures for tropical cactus should be between 54 and 59 F. (12-15 C).
Higher humidity is something that tropical cactus enjoy and actually experience in their natural habitat. So you may sprinkle the plants from the top while they are dormant.
Step 1: Reducing watering frequency
Reduce how frequently you water your cacti as the first stage in beginning your cactus dormant period. This is crucial since reducing watering will help prevent the roots of your cacti from drying out and dying.
Additionally, since water evaporation would be less at cooler temperatures, it will aid in preventing rot (next step). Be sure to cut it back gradually. If you were watering your cacti every two weeks throughout the summer, cut down to every three weeks in the early fall and then just once every four to six weeks during the winter.
Never completely cease watering dormant cacti; doing so will cause root loss and stunted development. Your cactus will survive the winter with a little light watering. A soil meter similar to this one can be used to measure the soil’s moisture content.