How do you root cactus?

  3 answers
  • Talina Talina on Jun 17, 2017
    It depends on the cactus, but for most, you just need to stick the start in soil, and lightly water. Or you can try starting it in a little cup of water until roots start to develop, and then plant it.

  • Cindy Cindy on Jun 17, 2017
    Hello Fff819, A friend of mine has a giant cactus in her kitchen. She broke off an "arm" and gave it to me. She told me to put some potting soil is a pot and stick the piece of cactus in it. No roots or anything. I thought for sure it would not grow. That was 3 years ago and you should see it now. It's just short of 3 feet tall. No body is more surprised than me, It's really pretty and now I have 4 or 5 "arms" that I could break off and give to someone. Hope my story helps you. Good luck.

  • Carole Triplett Brooks Carole Triplett Brooks on Jun 17, 2017
    There are several stages in propagating succulents.

    You can easily reproduce your cacti and succulent collection through the process of propagation.

    There are a variety of ways to propagate your plant, including division, cutting, starting from seeds, and grafting.

    The best method of propagating depends on your plant type. This section will explain the different types of propagation.

    Cacti and other succulents are easy to propagate. Any encouragement you can give them will start new growth. Remember that they are accustomed to growing on the dry side and too much water or humidity will cause them to rot.


    Division is the easiest form of multiplication. It is not only easy on you but also on the plant. Division is ideal when you want only a few plants, or you can use it when the plant starts crowding in on itself.

    Preparing the root ball for division.

    Division is not an extreme form of reproduction. Done gently, it's an operation that is only slightly more traumatic than transplanting.

    There is trauma, since the root ball is being separated and a part rather than the whole plant is being potted up; but you have roots, a stem, and leaves (if not the leaves, at least the shoots to produce them). All you need to do is encourage each part to keep on growing and protect it until it gets over the effects of the separation.

    Some plants divide easily while others require the eye of a diamond cutter to make the most of the possibilities.

    Division of indoor plants can take place at any time, but it is especially successful from the plant's point of view if done during the winter when the plant is resting -- indoor gardeners are less busy then, too.

    Dividing plants in the winter is frustrating from the indoor gardener's point of view because the plants will just sit there and do nothing until it is time for them to come out of their dormancy and start growing with enthusiasm.

    Many succulents, especially those with thick mats of sprawling growth, can be divided very easily. They do very well, particularly if the division takes place at the beginning of their growing season.

    What You Will Need

    Before beginning to divide a plant, collect everything you will need:

    The plant to be operated on.
    Bucket of warm water.
    Clean pots.
    Fresh, clean soil.
    Drainage aids.
    Sterile knife.
    Plenty of time.

    How to Divide Plants

    1. Spread the newspapers out
    carefully. Often the hardest part of dividing a plant is cleaning up the mess afterwards.
    2. Remove the plant from its pot. Do this gently: break the pot if necessary.
    3. Decide how many plants the division is to produce.
    4. Separate the root ball gently. If the roots are damaged or torn off, you will have a large cutting rather than a plant division and growth will be slowed. At times, a clean sharp knife or a hatchet is necessary to divide the root ball with the least amount of bruising.

    A clean cut is better than a torn and mangled mess caused by pulling and yanking. If you are not sure how the plant is structured under the soil line, put the root ball into a bucket of warm water and gently tease the parts of the plant apart.

    There will be some damage to some of the roots, but you will be able to see where the main divisions are. If you are gentle and repot carefully this can be a useful method, especially when working with plants that have become extremely rootbound.
    5. Be sure that each division has roots, a stem, and leaves (or shoots), and pot it in a clean, proper-sized pot with good drainage.
    Good drainage is very important because the roots have been disturbed and damaged roots are more susceptible to rot.
    6. Use fresh, sterile, or at least uninhabited soil. Unless there is a good reason for doing otherwise, place the division in the center of the pot.
    7. Plant each division as deep as it was growing before. Press the soil firmly around the plant and water with warm water. Roll up all the debris in the newspaper and clean the operating area.

    Put the separated plants in a protected location (out of full sun and drafts) for a few days. In a relatively short time the plants will have adjusted themselves to their new conditions and they will be full-fledged members of your collection or ready to join someone else's indoor garden.

    Most succulents root easily from a piece of the plant or from leaves. It is important to let the piece dry out a bit before planting.

    Removing leaves to prepare for repotting

    Fleshy leaves taken off of succulents can be put where they are warm and dry, and they will start sending out roots. That is the time to pot them up. High humidity is not necessary and possibly harmful, but bottom heat is a big help.

    In propagating plants by cuttings, a piece of root, stem, or leaf is taken from the plant, kept under favorable conditions, and encouraged to grow. This produces a new plant which is usually, but not always, identical to the original (a variegated Sansevieria cutting will grow plain green).

    Stages of growth from leaf to plant

    For plants that can be easily propagated this way, there are a number of advantages. It is inexpensive, relatively fast, and doesn't require a lot of know-how except on the part of the plant.

    Home is not always the ideal place to propagate plants, but with some plants the percentage of success is so great that one keeps wanting to start more.

    For succulent leaf cuttings such as hens and chickens, burro tails, etc., choose mature leaves that are not in the process of dying. If you remove them with a sideways pull there is less chance of damage to the plant and a better chance that there will be a tiny piece of stem attached (having a bit of stem attached often means that you will get a new plant and not just a well-rooted leaf).
    Once the leaf has been removed, you can lay it on some potting soil or mix, or put it in a cardboard box on top of the refrigerator or any other convenient place. In either case, don't water until the roots appear.
    After the roots and young plant start showing, the mix can be kept moist. (Pot up the ones you had in the box over the refrigerator when the roots and new plant appear.) The leaves may rot if you water them before this. When the new plantlets start growing, put them in a brighter light.

    New plants from old leaves

    For Sansevieria cuttings, take a leaf and cut it into sections three to four inches long. Mark the top of each section by cutting a small notch out of the top. Plant the notch side up.