Propagating pencil cactus is a simple and effective way to grow new cactus plants. The process involves using a stem, stem tip, or leaf to propagate the plant with ease.
The best part is it’s simple and can be done at home with our guide, so don’t let this post intimidate you.
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Propagating a pencil cactus is easy if you start with a healthy plant.
Look for a stem or two with leaves that are green and not wilted, browning, or covered in powdery mildew.
If there are any leaves that are wilted, remove them from the plant before propagating.
If there are any browning leaves on the plant, remove them as well; they won’t regrow and will only harm your new plants by making them susceptible to disease.
To propagate a pencil cactus, cut a piece of the stem just below the leaves. Make sure to use a sharp razor and avoid cutting it too close to the base of the plant, or it will die.
You’ll want to make sure that you’re cutting in a spot where it is firm and not soft in order to get maximum results.
The following steps are for those who are already familiar with the basic care of a pencil cactus.
Choose the best time to perform surgery on your plant by observing its growth rate, which can be affected by how much water and light it gets, as well as temperature and humidity levels.
If you want to grow your cactus quickly, transplanting it into another pot with fresh soil will help it grow more quickly than if you leave it in its original pot or move it into a smaller pot (although this may not work if the plant has reached full maturity).
After deciding to transplant your cactus into a larger pot (or different soil), prepare the new container by ensuring it has enough water, so the new plants don’t dry out too quickly after being transplanted.
Ensure sure there are plenty of drainage holes nearby, so excess water doesn’t saturate the soil or overflow onto other parts of your property.
These holes also allow air to circulate freely for sufficient soil aeration.
After removing the pencil cactus from the pot, allow it to heal in a dry area. Do not water the plant until it has healed, as watering will cause rot and decay.
It is also important not to expose the plant to direct sunlight until it has healed, as this could cause sunburn.
Finally, do not move your pencil cactus until you know that its roots are secure in their new home soil; otherwise, they could pull free from their original spot and be damaged or lost.
Once your pencil cactus has fully healed (after approximately one month), you can begin fertilizing and watering regularly, as described above, for its healthy growth.
Place the stem in a jar of water and place it near a sunny window. The pencil cactus will grow roots from the cut end of the stem.
Once there are several roots, transplant the baby plant into the soil with enough water to keep it moist but not soaking wet.
The pencil cactus does best in bright light, but it can tolerate some shade as well, so try moving it to different areas of your home to see where it does best.
This plant does not like cold drafts or high humidity, so make sure that air circulation is good around it when you’re watering and fertilizing it.
- Place the stem in a jar of water and place it near a sunny window.
- Water the plant once a week until the water drains from the bottom of the jar.
- Water until the water is clear – not cloudy or dark colored.
- Wait for roots to appear, change the water when it turns brown, and add fresh water when needed.
- Check the soil every few days and make sure it is moist but not soaking wet. If you don’t see anything growing yet, give it more time—cacti are slow growers. It can take up to three months for new growth to appear.
- Once your plant has started growing roots, you can transplant it into a bigger container or add other pencil cacti for them to grow together if you wish (they won’t harm each other).
Once roots appear, transfer the pencil cactus to a new pot filled with a well-draining soil mixture.
If you can’t see any roots, wait a few more weeks before checking again. Once the pencil cactus has developed a healthy root system, transfer it to a new pot filled with a well-draining soil mixture. Choose an 8″ or 10″ (20 or 25 cm) clay pot with at least 1.5 times the diameter of your stem and fill it with a cactus potting mix that drains well. Make sure there are holes in the bottom of the pot for adequate drainage.
The process of propagating a pencil cactus takes time, but it’s not hard if you follow these simple steps:
- Start by finding a pencil cactus with multiple stems. Be sure to choose healthy-looking specimens that are free from pests and disease.
- Select one of the growing tips (pups) and remove it from its parent plant. You can do this by simply pulling on the pup until it snaps off at its own base, or carefully cutting away the pup with sharp scissors or pruning shears. Make sure that there are no roots attached before transplanting your new plant into soil or water.
- Fill your pot with potting soil and place your new pencil cactus in its new home, where it will receive plenty of light but not too much heat (about 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Water as needed so that most of the topsoil remains moist at all times but not too wet or soggy—you don’t want mold getting started.
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