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Propagation of Cacti and Succulents
CUTTINGS
One of the most simple techniques for propagation of cacti and succulents is by cuttings. Prickly pears and chollas (Opuntia), Columnar Cacti (Cereus, Trichocereus, etc.) and Pincushion Cacti (Mammillaria) Euphorbias, Stapeliads, Crassulacaceae(Kalanchoe, Sedum Graptopetalum) and Ice Plants are commonly propagated by stem cuttings. Leaf cuttings of Gasteria, Haworthia Sansevieria and Crassulaceae(Kalanchoe, Sedum, Graptopetalum, etc.) also strike root for easy propagation. Most stem cuttings(Opuntia, Columnar cacti, Euphorbias and Stapeliads) rooted in spring-summer. weather. Crassulaceae and Ice Plants are propagated during the winter. Pumice, an aerated volcanic rock, is commonly used as a rooting medium. Columnar cacti should be stood up in an empty container to heal off, so the stems don’t bow up. Often during the healing process, roots begin to form on columnar cacti in the absence of direct light. Some columnar cacti (Trichocereus spachianus, Pachycereus marginatus, Pachycereus (Lophocereus) schottii) when laid down horizontally in sand beds or flats give rise to new vertical stems which can be removed and grown on. Euphorbias have a poisonous/milky sap which can be usually be congealed by placing in cold water, healed off and placed in pumice. Stapeliads (succulents of the milkweed family) are commonly rooted during the summer. Stem forming aloes lacking roots can also be rooted in warm weather. Stem forming yuccas have been rooted under fairly damp conditions or in water with some charcoal.
Opuntia Spinulifera
Bulbils/Plantlets
Some agaves (Agave murpheyi, vilmoriniana, fourcryodes etc.) and aloes form bulbils or plantlets on their flowering stalks. These can be removed and rooted in pumice during warm weather. Kalanchoes commonly form plantlets on the edges of their leaves. These plantlets often bear juvenile roots which can also be rooted in pumice during the winter. Agave bulbils are commonly rooted in 1-inch liner pots or flats with pumice.
Offsets
Numerous globular cacti (Echinopsis, Mammillaria etc.) and leaf succulents (Agave, Aloe, Haworthia, etc.) form numerous offsets or pups. If unrooted, root in pumice. If rooted, pot up in growing mix. There are as many growing mixes as there are cactus growers. One point every cactus grower agrees on isthat most cacti and succulents must have excellent drainage. An excellent growing mix for cacti and succulents is 1 part potting soil, 1 part sharp sand or decomposed granite and 1 part pumice. This soil mix gives excellent drainage while providing good texture and body for excellent growth. This soil mix wets up throughly, retaining moisture for a time, and dries out allowing for the roots to breathe.
Seeds
Most cacti and succulents can be raised from seed. Arizona and California cactus growers produce millions of cactus and succulent seedlings every year for retail and wholesale markets. These dedicated growers produce cactus and succulent seedlings as readily as bedding plants. Granted, the hobbyist grower may not want these quantities of seedlings but they can produce quality seedlings to offer other growers. A basic method of cactus and succulent seed raising is the following:
  1. Obtain a plastic pop bottle, cut in half, drill drain holes.
  2. Formulate a germination mix of 1 part perlite or pumice and 1 part vermiculite and a dash of Osmocote fertilizer.
  3. Scoop up mix in pop bottle germinator, drench with fungicide mixed in distilled water.
  4. Sow seed.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap or enclose in a plastic bag with seal, place in a cool, well-lit window.
  6. Remove plastic wrap or plastic bag when seedlings begin to mature and keep well-watered.
  7. Divide seedlings, pot into growing mix.
Grafting
Grafting of Cactus is Done for the Following Reasons:
A. Crests — Cactus crests are often difficult on their own roots. They are commonly grafted on robust growing understock.
B. Cacti that lack chlorophyll — The Gymnocalycium "Red Cap," which lacks chlorophyll, is commonly grafted on Hylocereus or Myrtillocactus
C. Cacti that are difficult on their roots — Certain pincushion cacti (Mammillaria) and other small globular cacti that tend to rot off on their own roots are commonly grafted on Myrtillocactus or Trichocereus stock.
D. More rapid growth — Some globular cacti that have slow growth rates on their own roots have more rapid growth when grafted.
E. Increase of propagules — From the propagation standpoint of certain globular cacti such as Mammillaria and Trichocereus, hybrids are readily propagated by areole-grafting to rapidly increase specific flower color types.
neoraimondia macrostibas
A Basic Grafting Technique is the Following:
  1. Choose a worthwhile robust understock, Blue Myrtle (Myrtillocactus geometrizans) and Golden Torch (Trichocereus spachianus) are commonly used as understocks.
  2. Choose the scion (plant to be grafted) to match the understock.
  3. With a sharp sterile (treated with denatured alcohol) knife cut the scion and understock. Carefully bevel the top of the understock.
  4. When the scion and understock are ready, remove a final thin slice from each.
  5. Press the scion and understock together with vascular bundle rings carefully matched.
  6. Drape strings weighted with hardware nuts over the scion.
  7. Keep the graft out of hot direct sun. In about a week you will know if the graft has taken.
A grafting technique for rapid increase of trichocereus hybrids has been developed by using Myrtillocactus geometrizans as understock and grafting the areoles of trichocereus. One trichocereus stem can yield several grafts which are grown out, degrafted and easily rerooted for young saleable plants.

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