Propagating your own cacti is not only fun, but it can also be a great way to save money. Plus, you get the bonus of knowing how to take care of your cacti from start to finish.
Do you want to learn how to propagate cactus pads? Cactus propagation is a simple process that anyone can do with just a few simple steps.
It’s easy to propagate cacti and succulents, but you should know some essential things before you start.
In this article, we will discuss the process of propagating cactus pads and provide you with all the information you need to get started.
When Should You Propagate Cactus Pads?
Cactus pads may be grown at any time of year, although it’s ideal to do so during the active growing season, usually late Spring or Summer for most cacti.
Propagating cacti during the active growth season will ensure that your plant has enough time to develop a strong root system before Winter’s arrival.
On the other hand, we must avoid propagating cactus pads during their dormancy period, especially during frost or when the temperature drops below freezing.
The reason for this is that the plant will not be actively growing, and therefore, it will not have enough energy to produce new roots or develop any further growth.
Furthermore, during the dormancy period, cacti are particularly sensitive to diseases.
Also, you should avoid propagating cactus pads if the plant is showing any signs of distress, such as wilting or shriveling up.
It’s best to wait until the plant has recovered before propagating it.
How Do You Propagate Cactus Pads?
Propagating cactus pads is a great way to get more plants without waiting for them to grow from seeds.
It’s also a fun project that can be completed relatively easily.
Here is a step by step guide on how to propagate cactus pads:
1. Choose the Right Cactus Pad
Not all cactus pads are created equal – some will be easier to propagate than others.
Make sure you select a healthy pad that has plenty of growing tissue.
The best pads are firm and pliable, with a healthy green color. Avoid any cactus cutting with brown or black spots on them, which may indicate disease.
If the pad is too soft or mushy, it could mean it’s overripe and no longer viable for propagation purposes.
2. Remove the Cactus Pad From the Plant
Once you have chosen a suitable cactus pad, it’s essential to carefully remove this from the mother plant.
The best way to do this is by using a sharp knife or scalpel and gently cutting through the base of the cactus pads close to where they meet with another part of the plant body (usually at an angle).
You will need to make a clean cut, so try to avoid crushing or damaging any tissue surrounding it.
Do not pull on the pad as this may cause damage and prevent successful propagation from occurring.
3. Remove the Spines and Clean the Cactus Pad
The next step is to remove any spines on your cactus pad. You can do this by using a pair of pliers or tweezers.
Be very careful when doing this, as you don’t want to damage the pad in any way.
Once all of these have been removed, you will need to clean up any remaining dirt that might be present before propagation begins.
To do this, you can use a soft brush or cloth.
4. Let the Pad Callus Over for a Few Days
Now that your cactus pad is clean and ready to go, you will need to let it callus over for a few days.
It might take between three days and a week or more to complete the procedure, depending on the size of the pad.
Allow the exposed portion of the cut to breathe. While drying, keep it away from direct sunlight.
This is an important step as it allows the cut surface to dry out and form a protective layer over the tissue.
If this doesn’t happen, there is a greater risk of bacteria or fungus invading and causing damage to the plant.
5. Prepare a Pot With Soil
Before you can plant your cactus pad in its new home, it’s important to prepare a pot with soil.
Choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the cactus pad. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole at the bottom so that any excess water can escape.
Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix, such as cactus soil, or a mix with sand and perlite. This will help keep the soil healthy and prevent it from becoming waterlogged.
Ensure there are no weeds in your potting mixture, as they may compete for resources when growing roots on the pad.
6. Place the Cactus Pad on Top of the Soil
Once you have prepared a pot with soil, it’s time to place the cactus pad on top of this.
Ensure the pad remains in contact with the soil, but don’t bury it. You just need to lay the pad flat on the soil surface.
Don’t stand the pad upright as it may not be able to stay in place for very long.
You may also decide to add rooting hormone to the cut base of the pad before placing it on top of the soil to promote root growth.
7. Water the Cactus Pad
Give the cactus pad a good watering and mist it daily to keep the soil moist for the first few weeks. This will help the pad to establish roots and start growing faster.
Check the soil regularly to make sure it hasn’t dried out too much or gotten waterlogged from overwatering.
After a few weeks, you can taper off and only water it when the top inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch.
Too much water can damage the cactus pad, so make sure not to overwater it.
8. Place in a Bright Spot
Place the cactus plant in a bright spot where it will receive indirect sunlight.
The plant will need light to grow properly but keep the cactus out of direct sunlight as this can cause the pad to overheat and dry out.
A spot near a window is perfect, but make sure to move it if the spot becomes too hot.
If you live in a hot climate, then make sure to move the cactus pot to a shady spot during the hottest parts of the day.
This will help keep the soil moist and prevent it from drying out too much.
9. Wait for New Roots to Form
It will usually take a few weeks for new roots to start forming on the cactus pad.
You need to make sure that the soil doesn’t dry out too much or get waterlogged from overwatering during this time.
Reduce watering and let the soil dry out before watering again once the roots have been established.
It will take a few months for the cactus pad to become fully established and ready to be transplanted into its final home.
10. Transplant the Cactus Pad Into a Larger Container
Once the cactus pad has become established and has grown a few new roots, it’s time to transplant it into a larger container.
Choose a pot that is at least twice the size of the original pot and about one inch larger than the plant itself.
Make sure the pot has a drainage hole at the bottom so that any excess water can escape.
Fill the pot with cactus potting soil and plant the propagated cactus pad.
Make sure that all of its roots are in contact with the soil. Firm the soil around the plant, and then water it thoroughly.
Place the newly established plant in a bright location with plenty of indirect sunlight.
Water sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
Cacti are slow-growing plants, so be patient if you see the new plant growing slowly.
Knowing how to propagate cactus pads is essential for any cactus lover.
It’s a straightforward process, and once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to grow new cacti from pads taken from your favorite plants.
If you’re a beginner at propagation, this is an excellent way to learn how the process works and how to care for new plants.
It’s also a great way of expanding your collection without spending much money buying more plants.