How to Grow Cactus From Cuttings? Growing cacti from stem cuttings is a common method of propagation. Depending on the cactus species, you will need to obtain a fresh cutting and root it in either water or soil. Desert cacti should be rooted in soil, whereas jungle cacti thrive in water.
Gardeners must always find a way to propagate new cacti plants in order to reduce the cost of purchasing new plants. In the wild, seed propagation is the most common way for these succulents to multiply, but it is not the only way. As cacti and other succulents’ natural habitats dwindle, the need to propagate and maintain these species through home gardening becomes more critical.
The short answer is “yes.” In fact, propagating a cactus from a cutting is one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods of producing new cacti from existing cacti. A large number of cacti species can be propagated by taking small cuttings from the stem of an existing plant and allowing them to dry out and callous. It isn’t long before the cuttings begin to root from the cut end and grow into a new plant.
Propagating Cactus From a Stem Cutting
Consider the process of propagating a new cactus from an existing plant. You will need the following materials to complete this process:
- A healthy cactus
- Heavy-duty gloves
- Well-draining soil
- A pot/container
- A clean, sharp knife
- Rooting powder (optional)
- Tongs or cactus pliers (optional)
How to Grow Cactus From Cuttings?
1. Obtaining a Stem Cutting to Grow Cactus From Cuttings
Take a healthy cutting from the top of your cactus plant. If your cactus has pads, select one that is mature enough, even if a few smaller pads have begun to grow on top of it. Using a young pad is risky because it may fail to root properly. When growing columnar cacti, choose a thin stem that will root much faster than a thick one. On columnar cacti, carefully cut the stem a few inches above the top. Make a clean, straight cut, taking care not to crush the rest of the stem. When dealing with pads, you can easily snap one off by hand.
Before you begin taking cuttings from your existing plant, thoroughly disinfect your knife. Keep in mind that your cactus may have open wounds that can easily become infected with bacteria, leading to other problems. Wear gloves as well to avoid direct contact with the spines. Consider using tongs or a pair of cactus pliers instead of your hands to hold the cactus cuttings.
2. Rooting Your Cactus Cuttings
So, now that you have your cuttings, what do you do? Set aside the cutting for a few days to allow the cut end to dry. Ensure that the cutting is stored in a secure location away from sunlight and soil. When the wound has healed, a callous will form, indicating that the cutting is ready for potting. To speed up drying and protect the cutting from bacterial infection, you may be forced to use a little sulphur on the cut end. The sulphur may turn a few colours, but don’t be concerned. Simply check the end after a few days to see if it is dry.
When the cut end has formed a callous, you can begin rooting. Fill your new pot halfway with moist potting soil and level it. Insert your cutting carefully into the potting mix, cut side down. Be cautious when inserting it into the container to avoid opening the dried wound. If it is unable to stand on its own, place it on top of the soil. If you have rooting hormone powder, dip your cutting in it right before planting.
3. Use of Soil to Grow Cactus From Cuttings
The type of soil has a significant impact on whether or not the cutting grows into a new plant. As a result, you must ensure that you are using the proper type of soil. Choose a porous, well-draining potting mix. Almost all cacti plants require soil that drains much faster than standard houseplant soil. If the soil retains water for an extended period of time, it may cause severe rotting at the base of your cutting.
To improve drainage, consider adding gravel, sand, or perlite to your soil. Do not water the cutting after planting if the soil is already moist. If you are unsure about anything, simply ask your local nursery centre for a basic cactus soil mix, and you will be fine.
4. Watering to Grow Cactus From Cuttings
While the roots form, your newly planted cutting will primarily rely on stored nutrients and water. As a result, you must keep the soil moist at all times to supplement the supply and encourage deep root growth. Consistent watering may also be important in producing excellent results. To keep the soil moist, lightly water it every few days. However, avoid soaking the soil in water because this can cause rot. Simply keep it damp.
The rate of root growth is largely determined by the type of cactus, cutting size, and frequency of watering. Smaller cuttings typically grow roots faster than larger cuttings. It can take anywhere from a few days to a month or more for your cactus cutting to develop roots. Switch to a typical cactus watering regimen once the roots have fully settled into the soil. Always allow the soil to dry completely between watering sessions. At this point, gradually expose your young cactus to more sunlight. Keep in mind that, while the roots are growing, there will be no significant stem growth for at least a year.
Can You Root a Cactus in Water?
To effectively answer this question, you must first understand the type of cactus you are dealing with. Cacti are classified into two types: desert cacti and jungle cacti. A desert cactus grows only in arid areas and is extremely drought-resistant, whereas a jungle desert grows in tropical areas with plenty of rainfall. The Christmas cactus is a good example of a jungle cactus. Although desert cacti cannot be rooted in water, jungle cacti (specifically the Christmas cactus) can. If you prefer to take this root, you must do everything correctly to achieve the best results.
Begin by taking one to four cuttings from a healthy Christmas cactus. Make sure each cutting is about four inches long and has at least three leaves. Fill the bottom of an empty glass jar with pebbles/stones to about two inches deep. Add water slowly, so that it rises above the stones/pebbles. Place your Christmas cactus cuttings in a glass jar filled with water, making sure the bottom of each cutting touches the water. The majority of the cutting should be in the glass jar but above the level of the water.
The humidity in the glass jar will aid in the rooting of your cuttings without rotting them. Keep an eye on the water level to ensure that it does not evaporate. When you notice a significant drop, add more water to the glass jar. For even better results, use rainwater or distilled water. If you must use tap water, wait at least 48 hours for the chemicals and salts to evaporate.
Fluoride is present in significant amounts in tap water, which is harmful to young cuttings because it travels through the plant and settles on the leaves. This causes the leaves to turn brown, which can quickly spread to the rest of the plant if you continue to feed it fluoridated water.
Can You Replant a Broken Cactus Part?
Yes. A broken part, like cuttings, can be replanted. However, you must carefully inspect it to see if it is mature. When you are satisfied that the broken part is mature enough for propagation, carefully inspect the broken end of the cactus. If it’s uneven or crooked, make a new cut to even it out. The length of time it takes for the cut end to dry and callous depends on the thickness of the cut and the humidity level in the air. Follow the steps outlined above to root it once it has dried and calloused over.
Cactus plants can be propagated from cuttings relatively easily. In most cases, propagating a cactus from cuttings will result in faster and more predictable results than planting seeds. While propagating cacti from cuttings is more common indoors, you can also do it outside to expand your home garden. Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.
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