How To Trim A Cactus Without Killing It

Although every type of cactus has spines, some are sharper and more likely to cause injury than others. The risk of damage is reduced by pruning the cactus while wearing thick leather gloves. Long sleeves can also help avoid cuts, especially when pruning larger cactus species like nopales, which have numerous small spines. Cactus leaves won’t be crushed by a sharp, clean knife way they can be by shears. Large cactus plants can require the use of a handsaw. The best tool for pruning cactus roots when transplanting or repotting a plant is a small, handheld shear.

How should an overgrown cactus be pruned?

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.

Can you chop a cactus in half?

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 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

Can I split a cactus in two?

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.

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.

Can cacti heal themselves?

With the help of a recently discovered mechanism, cactus can close off a cut practically immediately. A cactus that has been cut emits an acid that, over the course of roughly 48 hours, destroys the tissues close to the wound. The wound is then closed by calcium carbonate crystals that grow there and harden.

A plant’s immune system usually allows it to naturally repair wounds. This is how it defends itself against different diseases and infections brought on by outside factors like animals or bacteria. This barrier keeps an infection from spreading after the wound has healed thanks to the acid the cactus releases during self-healing.

Because of the body’s innate defensive mechanism, the cut heals with little scarring. This explains why cactus can mend itself so easily and swiftly without any help from a doctor.

Can cactus be chopped and then regrown?

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:

  • Opuntia or prickly pears
  • Collapsed cactus
  • Globular and pincushion cacti

Why is my cactus leaning to one side?

Excellent and resilient plants, cacti are rarely troubled by numerous problems. However, cactus may also cause you some problems. One of the problems is a cactus that is falling over or drooping. You can discover the causes of your cactus drooping or toppling over in this essay, along with solutions.

Weak roots or being potted in a container that is too big for the plant are a couple of the main causes of a cactus drooping or toppling over. Other causes might include bugs, lack of sunlight, underwatering, and more.

Do I need to support my cactus?

It’s appropriate to stake them. Cacti that are planted lower will have their roots rot. Because their roots are so little, succulents and cacti frequently have to perform a delicate balancing act as they get taller. Maybe you could improve and minimize the skewer mechanism you use to stake them a little. Bamboo stakes or bits of driftwood can provide stability and look good. In addition, if your cacti have arms or paddles sprouting from them, you can break those off and plant them in the ground so they can take root.

How long does a cactus cutting take to recover?

I found your fantastic blog and had a question for which I could not find a solution. I have a giant cactus that is on the verge of growing through my eight foot ceiling, however there are plenty of instructions and suggestions on how to chop pieces off of a little cactus. I need some help dividing it in half and repotting the cut end. I would greatly appreciate any assistance you could provide. He looks like my man.

It’s actually not that difficult to cut and re-root your Cereus. It should be possible to cut it at any desired height, then root the top cut to create a fresh clone. You should consider removing the stump somewhere around the chair rail height so it has room to develop into a multi-branched tree shape because it will eventually branch.

To cut column cactus, we use a pruning saw or a serrated bread knife. We cut the plant at a small angle, with the sloped side facing the wall, to make the scar on the stump less noticeable. To make it simpler to handle while cutting, you can wrap the top portion you are removing in a towel or scrap of carpet.

Given the height, it appears to be a two-person task, with one person holding the top and the other operating the saw. After removing the top piece, apply household hydrogen peroxide to the cut ends to help heal the wound and clean it. Re-treat it every day for a few days to make sure it doesn’t contract a bacterial or fungal infection. The top piece needs to be placed on newspaper and propped up against the wall for a week to dry. The wounded tissue should scab over after a week (think abrasion scab like after a bike crash…). For this species of cactus, rooting hormones are typically not required, but if you have any liquid kelp on hand, you might treat the cut end before planting it to hasten rooting. IBA rooting hormones should only be used sparingly. After that, plant in dry cactus soil (fast draining and chunky). As necessary, stake. For a few weeks, keep dry and warm, and after that, water.

In a month or two, the roots should appear. You can sprinkle the column with water at night if it begins to appear dehydrated during this time. Misting during the day will not assist because cacti only open their stomas at night to transpire because doing so helps them conserve water in the deserts. To hasten branching and ease the agony of losing its head, you can feed the stump some low-concentration fertilizer.

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.

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.