Gardening can be an expensive but addictive hobby. So, if you have successfully kept a cactus, it is likely that you would want to grow your collection. However, buying a cactus from a commercial nursery can prove to be an expensive choice.
The best alternative is to grow your cactus seeds at home from your existing cactus. There are different ways to propagate your cactus, so you can choose the way of propagation that suits your cactus to ensure healthy seedlings.
Cactus Propagation Methods
So, how you can propagate your cactus is –
- Cactus Pads
- Columnar Cutting
1. Cactus Pads
Use a sterilized blade to carefully cut off a healthy pad of the cactus. Ensure it doesn’t have any signs of stress, disease, or discoloration. Let the cactus pad dry for a few days to ensure that the wounds have healed. However, keep the cactus pad away from direct sunlight as it may cause damage to the part.
Plant the cutting in a pot filled with high-quality cactus potting mix. Stick the 1/3 part of the cutting directly in the soil. Ensure proper drainage before watering it well and pack it well with soil. The roots will start to develop eventually, and you will have a new cactus seedling.
Offshoots are essentially baby cacti that grow from the mother cactus. However, not all cacti produce offshoots. Some types of cacti that produce offshoots are echinopsis, mammillaria, etc.
Use a sterilized knife to cut off a selected offshoot that has started producing roots. While offshoots without roots will eventually root themselves, they have a greater chance of survival with existing roots.
Once removed, carefully plant it in a new pot filled with excellent cactus potting mix and water regularly to ensure that the soil stays moist.
Grafting needs a hardy rootstock that is compatible. Ideally, a fast-growing cactus should be chosen as rootstock and a slow-growing cactus as the scion. Cut the cactus a few inches above the soil for the rootstock. Chop another cactus stem of 1 inch in diameter to make the scion.
Carefully place the scion on top of the rootstock so that the distinct ring in each cactus called the vascular cambium is touching each other. Use electrical tape or rubber bands to secure both ends together.
Wait for about two months before removing the rubber bands. The scion should be properly attached to the cactus, and you will have a newly grafted plant ready.
4. Columnar Cutting
Use a sterilized knife to cut off a columnar cactus of about four inches long with a diameter of at least four inches. Dry the cactus in the sun to allow the wound to heal. Pot the cutting at a depth of about 1.5 inches and fill it with an excellent cactus potting mix.
Wait a few days and water regularly to ensure that the soil remains moist. Over a few days, the roots shall be established and you will have a new plant.
Thus, these are the methods to propagate your cactus.