Cacti are one of the most popular indoor plants. If you can’t get enough of them, you can simply multiply them yourself. How to do it.
Depending on the genus and species, cacti can be propagated by sowing, cuttings, cuttings, or grafting. In the following, we present the different methods of propagation.
How do you propagate cacti from seeds?
When it comes to cacti, you can rarely use your own seeds. However, the seeds from cactus nurseries or seed dealers usually guarantee good germination quality. In the case of cacti of the genus Frailea, the offspring sometimes germinate after a few hours. Most cacti take days to germinate – Opuntias, for example, need weeks and months before the first cotyledons appear.
The following sowing method has proven itself: Choose square pots made of plastic and fill them with the mineral substrate (coarse-grained at the bottom, finely sieved at the top). Place the pots in a waterproof bowl and sprinkle the seeds evenly from a piece of paper. Cover the seeds just enough so that they are embedded all around. You can now pour the water required for germination on the edge of the bowl. A heating plate provides the necessary heat and a glass plate placed over it provides warm, moist air.
Cactus seedlings thrive particularly well in a community
After germination, the small cacti are pricked out and planted in finely sieved cactus soil. With a stick, you can lift the delicate plants from below and carefully place them in the new substrate. The cactus seedlings thrive particularly well in a community. We recommend a bright location at 20 to 25 degrees Celsius and frequent spraying with warmed water.
Propagate cacti by cuttings
Cacti are particularly easy to multiply with existing children or offshoots. It is not uncommon for them to be already rooted in the mother plant. For example, some Echinocereen, Echinopses, Mammillaries, and Rebutia tend to produce many shoots that can be easily broken off and immediately planted. Fully viable young plants develop after a very short time.
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How do you propagate cacti from cuttings?
Many cacti can only be propagated by cutting off parts of the shoot due to the lack of a sprout or seed. For this purpose, shoots from the previous year, i.e. mature shoots, are cut off with a sharp knife. Be sure to make a pulling cut and not squeeze the shoots. For most cuttings, you should choose the narrowest possible place to cut. In the case of Epiphyllum and Epicactus, on the other hand, you should choose a broad position (see below).
A piece of paper protects against the spines when the cuttings are cut
Put the shoots in a flower pot to dry and place them in a light, airy, dry, and sun-protected place. After a few days, a tough protective skin forms, which prevents the penetration of germs. If the cut surfaces are dry or roots are visible, the cuttings can be planted in dry, nutrient-poor potting soil. The smallest possible flower pots are used as vessels. A soil warmth of around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius accelerates the formation of roots. After plugging in, the substrate is initially not poured on, as rot can quickly develop. Instead, spraying the cuttings promotes root formation.
It is best to only cut cactus cuttings during the growth phase from April to August. If necessary, the shoot parts can also be cut in autumn or winter. Then you should treat the cut surfaces with charcoal, put them dry in a flower pot and plant them only in spring.
Tip: Both the cuts on the mother plant and the cutting are particularly disease-prone zones. Powdering the cut surfaces with charcoal powder will help prevent pathogens from entering.
Cuttings from cacti with flat shoots
A slightly different treatment is necessary when propagating cacti with cuttings from cuttings. In the case of the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) and Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis), about five to ten centimeters long shoot members are cut or broken off at the narrow point from the parent plant. In the case of opuntia, entire leaves or “ears” are broken off at the seam.
In the case of the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera), individual parts of the shoot can be separated off for propagation
With phyllotactic or leaf cacti such as Epiphyllum, do not cut at the narrowest point, but about 0.5 centimeters below two opposite areoles – the thorn- or bristle-like hair pillows. At the lower end, the cutting is cut into a cone. Since leaf cacti develop relatively long shoots, several cuttings can be cut from one shoot.
Let the cut surfaces dry off for a day and then plant the parts in individual pots with a peat-sand mixture. You should avoid watering for a week and just spray the cuttings. They usually take root quickly and have the advantage of being genetically identical to their parents.
Cacti multiply through warts
Mammillaries can multiply through warts. Long-waxy species such as Mammillaria long mama, Mammillaria plumosa, Mammillaria schiedeana, or Leuchtenbergia principis are particularly suitable for this type of reproduction. Gently break warts out of the mother plant, let them dry for two to three days, then treat them like cuttings. After a few weeks, the rooted young plant appears near the point of breakage.
Propagate cacti by grafting
The refinement and in particular the method of grafting is mostly only used with slowly or poorly growing plants. The method takes some practice and is more likely to be used by professionals.