Q. How can I propogate cactus from cuttings?
Many cacti can be propagated quite easily from cuttings. Cacti that produce pads,e.g. Opuntia (prickly pear cactus), or offsets, e.g. Mammillaria, Rebutia, and Echinopsis, are particularly easy to propagate. Columnar cacti, e.g. Cereus spp. can also be propagated by using the top of the column. The best time to start a cutting is late spring or early summer.
Use these steps:
Make a clean cut with a sharp knife or razor blade (preferably sterilized before hand in alcohol) to remove the part to be used. Many cacti are prickly, so you probably want to wear gloves or hold the cactus with a potholder or length of folded newspaper.
Let the cutting dry out in a dry, warm place for a few days until the surface of the cut has dried out, forming a callus.
Dip the hardened end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder (optional).
Plant the cutting in a small pot with cactus potting mix or a mixture of perlite and peat (1:1). Bury only a small part of the cutting in the soil (1/2 or one inch, depending on the size of the cutting). It may need some support to keep it upright.
Place in a warm, well lit place (but not direct sun). Then keep the soil slightly damp (not wet or the cutting will rot). After a few weeks or even months, roots will appear and the plant can be potted on to a bigger pot, if necessary.
More information on caring for cacti in your home can be found in our guide to Cacti Indoors.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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