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.
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.
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.
Watch the cutting and moisten the compost when it feels dry. The majority of cactus and succulent cuttings take a month or less to root, although new growth could take longer.
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.
When is the best time to collect cactus cuttings?
Cacti have benefited from this summer’s favourable weather by responding with fresh growth. In just a few weeks, my bunny ears cactus, Opuntia microdasys, produced three new pads. That is, until I made the decision to wipe the window behind it, at which point all three of the fresh pads were adhered to the cleaning cloth with one fairly awkward motion.
Not a big deal, though, as cacti are remarkably simple to spread. The optimal time to take cuttings is during the summer, but I’ve had success taking them as late as now, and emergency cuttings are the best way to save the plant if life provides you unexpected bunny ears to propagate or the bottom of your cactus starts to rot.
You only need to remove one segment from a prickly pear, a rabbit ear, or any other segmented cactus to produce a new plant. These are some of the simplest to reproduce; just gently cut off a part while using thick gloves or kitchen tongs (never assume any cactus spine will be nice, no matter how small). You can cut off or divide each head of a mound-forming cactus, such as a mammillaria or an echinopsis, at the soil level. Use a sharp knife to make a straight, precise cut. Take a significant chunk of the head off a columnar cactus if possible. The similar method can be used to salvage the healthy portion of rotting bases while discarding the remainder.
Lay the cutting carefully on its side on a saucer. Before it can root, the exposed flesh needs to callus over, and exposure to air causes this to happen. With a small specimen, this might take a day, but with a bigger surface area, it might take a week.
You can place a hard callus into a tiny pot once it has hardened. Cacti require extremely free-draining environments for their roots. I advise using a ratio of five parts grit and horticultural sand to one part compost when we enter the latent phase of growth. Running water through the mixture in the pot will allow you to check whether it drains rapidly.
Pads or segments can be positioned either upright or on the ground. Cacti that are upright in the pot should stay that way. Water as soon as you plant and again when the soil is entirely dry; throughout the winter, this may only require one watering until spring. Leave the plant in a well-lit area away from the sun.
Cuttings can be completed in 24 hours in the summer but up to three or four months in the winter. Either roots will show through the drainage holes, or the cutting will feel firm in the container, indicating that it is rooted. And fresh spines will grow in the spring.
Can you root cactus cuttings 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 long does a cactus cutting take to take root?
It’s time to pot up offsets from cacti after removing them and letting them callus. The ideal medium is grippy and well-draining. You can buy cactus mixes or make your own by mixing 50 percent peat or compost with 50 percent pumice or perlite.
Cuttings only require a pot that is slightly larger than their base diameter. In order to prevent the offset from toppling over, cover one-third to one-half of the base with the medium. Keep the medium mildly moist and place the pup in indirect but bright sunlight.
Although some cacti can take months to root, most do so in four to six weeks. By observing any fresh green growth, which shows that the roots have taken hold and the plantlet is receiving nutrients and water, you may determine when it has rooted.
How are cactus pups separated?
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
- tiny (notice that you can cut offsets for big species) (note that you can cut offsets for big species) Genus Gymnocalycium
- 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,
- 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 sterilising 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 utilise 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 sterilised. 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 centre.
- However, if you sharpen the cutting edge, roots will begin to sprout from the centre 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 sanitise 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 fertilised 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.
There are some important rules for growing cacti from seeds:
- Early in the spring, plant cactus seeds.
- Place a white tissue or cloth on the table before you begin working with seeds. This is due to the fact that seeds are tiny and will disappear if you can’t see them.
- Purchasing seeds is the most common method of obtaining them. Nevertheless, you may also gather them from fruits (for example dragon fruits).