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 dont 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.
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.
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.
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:
- Obtain a plastic pop bottle, cut in half, drill drain holes.
- Formulate a germination mix of 1 part perlite or pumice and 1
part vermiculite and a dash of Osmocote fertilizer.
- Scoop up mix in pop bottle germinator, drench with fungicide
mixed in distilled water.
- Sow seed.
- Cover with plastic wrap or enclose in a plastic bag with
seal, place in a cool, well-lit window.
- Remove plastic wrap or plastic bag when seedlings begin to
mature and keep well-watered.
- Divide seedlings, pot into growing mix.
|Grafting of Cactus is Done for the Following
|A. Crests Cactus crests are often difficult
on their own roots. They are commonly grafted on robust growing
|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.
||A Basic Grafting Technique is the Following:
- Choose a worthwhile robust understock, Blue Myrtle
(Myrtillocactus geometrizans) and Golden Torch (Trichocereus
spachianus) are commonly used as understocks.
- Choose the scion (plant to be grafted) to match the
- With a sharp sterile (treated with denatured alcohol) knife
cut the scion and understock. Carefully bevel the top of the
- When the scion and understock are ready, remove a final thin
slice from each.
- Press the scion and understock together with vascular bundle
rings carefully matched.
- Drape strings weighted with hardware nuts over the scion.
- 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.