Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It

Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It: All Questions Answered

Cacti are very favored as houseplants because they are low maintenance and there is a pretty impressive assortment to pick from. Their distinctive looks give a striking look to any indoor or outdoor space.

If you have this plant, you probably wonder if it is possible to cut off the piece of cactus and plant it. Or presumably, a careless bump or an unexpected accident knocked a piece off your well-liked cactus plant.

So, can you cut off a piece of cactus and plant it? The brief answer is yes. A considerable number of cacti species can effortlessly be propagated from cuttings.

In this article, you will discover everything you need to know about how you can propagate cacti plants from cuttings and some other ways to propagate a cactus, such as offsets and grafting.

Also, you will discover a few tips, which can help to propagate your cactus more easily.

Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It

When to propagate cactus? 

There are actually a quite large amount of ways to propagate your cacti.

But regardless of what technique you pick to expand the number of your succulents, you should be aware that it is always more efficient to propagate cactus when it is actively developing, which normally occurs in late Spring or Summer for most cacti.

This can give you an increased possibility of success, particularly if you decide to propagate your cactus from cuttings, as its roots can be developed faster during this time.

So if you want to multiply your cacti collection, it is better to select the warm months for this purpose.

Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It

When not to propagate cactus?

Cacti, just like succulents, are probably some of the simplest plants to root and propagate even for individuals without much experience, which makes them more appealing.

Cacti can be propagated any time of the year, but cactus cuttings root quickest around summer months to early autumn.

In case you wish to ensure cactus propagation will be successful, it is not such an awesome idea to propagate during these times:

  • During heatwave

It is not reasonable to propagate cacti when there’s there is extremely hot. Your cactus already has a lot of stress and fights for its survival during this time, and with propagating stress might become more intense, as its focus will be divided on healing and regrowing at once.But for indoor plants kept at a controlled temperature, cactus propagation during a heatwave must not pose any danger to its well-being.

  • During dormancy period

Most cactus go dormant or shuts down during frost or under-freezing temperatures. During this time, your cactus is more predisposed to disease and rot. So keeping that in mind, it is recommended to wait until the temperature calms down before multiplying for the better survival of your cactus.

Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It

Different ways to propagate the cactus

Cactus is a fantastic purchase for your home due to its gorgeous shape, size, and flowers.

It’s a special, decorative method to add an aesthetic to any living area, regardless it’s on your windowsill or positioned together on a shelf.

Even novices will be able to propagate it effortlessly through cuttings, offset, or pad propagation, and it gets much simpler as you gain some experience.

Grafting is also a great way of propagating a cactus, but it can be somewhat difficult for starters.

Also, propagation is an amazing way to get new plants in your collection at a minimal price.

You can retain the reproduced plants at your home or give them away as presents.

Let’s talk about these methods in more detail.

Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It

Propagating from cuttings

Propagating by stem cuttings is presumably the most preferable and effortless technique.

Many cacti can be propagated without any trouble by stem cuttings, such as globular cacti, pincushion cacti, and some others. Columnar cactus also can be multiplied by this method.

You need to take stem cuttings from the mother plant, and then wait until they will dry and become callous.

The cactus cuttings will ultimately commence rooting from the cut end and begin growing in the form of new growth.

Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It

Propagating from offsets/offshoots

Many cacti species propagate asexually using growing lateral shoots or offsets. They are quite often called cactus pups.

So, there are fairly many cacti that have cactus pups, including echinopsis species and mammillaria species. Nevertheless, not all cacti create offshoots.

Offshoots can be cautiously removed and positioned in a suitable potting mix to begin new growth.

In case you remove offshoots from the mother plant this can allow for energy to be refocused on the growth of the main plant.

For the most satisfactory results, it is better if cactus pups won’t be removed from the mother plant until they’re growing roots.

Then, it will be possible to without any issues propagate the cactus by division. Dig up the plant and cut or break off the offsets. Try to induce as little harm to roots as feasible. After your cactus is divided in two, they must be replanted in separate spots.

Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It

Propagating from cactus pads

Propagating cactus pads is a wonderful solution for your plant collection to be expanded without waiting for them to grow from seeds.

This kind of propagation, comparable to leaf and stem propagation, entails taking a segment of an existing plant and using it to establish new growth.

This method has proved itself to be fairly practical and effective for receiving new plants for the garden.

Furthermore, it’s an enjoyable project that can be fairly simple to accomplish.

Nevertheless, not all cactus pads are equally easy for cactus propagation – some will be more difficult to propagate than others.


Grafting is the procedure of taking a cut piece of the cactus and attaching it to a severed fragment of another cactus. The cut or grafted part is called a ‘scion’ and the base or root part is called the ‘rootstock’.

Grafting demands a compatible and hardy rootstock.

Compatibility is very crucial for grafting to bring a positive outcome. The compatibility is increased when the rootstock and scion are from the exact species. 

The compatibility reduces the further the cacti are genetically related.

There might be various intents for cacti grafting. One goal is to create stems that are less prone to infections and pests. Another reason is to substitute an existing stem that has started to rot.

Sometimes people who love to garden desire to improve photosynthesis in some cacti that don’t have the ability.

Grafting looks intimidating but is quite plain and even a novice gardener can try their hand at it.

How to propagate from cuttings?

Most cacti can be effortlessly propagated from stem cuttings, particularly those whose stems consist of segments like prickly pear, and Christmas cacti.

If you wish to plant your cuttings successfully, all you need to do is follow these fairly simple instructions:

  • The first step is you need to select a long enough cactus stem (those that are at least 10cm long) and cut it off cleanly with the help of a clean sharp scissor. For spiny cacti, it is advised to use tongs or cactus pliers when handling them. 
  • After that, you ought to lay your cuttings on a windowsill area and leave them until they are healed.
  • It is advisable to use the pot with drainage holes. Fill a pot with a suitable potting mix, then insert the base of your cutting.
  • For root growth to be boosted, the cactus cuttings should be dipped in rooting hormone powder right before you begin to garden.
  • Water profusely, then position the pot on a warm windowsill, away from direct sunlight if it is possible, and cover them with a plastic bag.
  • It is recommended to inspect your cuttings regularly, and they ought to be watered only when the soil feels dry. For most cacti, it will take not more than a month to root, but it may take more time for new growth to show.
Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It

How to propagate from offsets/offshoots?

Offsets, offshoots, or cactus pups are little, new growths that have a connection to the parent plant. Propagating cacti from offsets is a vegetative form of propagation.

Vegetative propagation is when a parent plant forms cactus pups without the use of seeds (asexual).

Sometimes offset can be just softly pulled from the main plant without any problem, but not always.

In case you want to use this particular method, just follow these directions:

  • The first thing you must to wear gloves to shield your hands. Then, the offset must be separated from the parent plant. You might either use a clean, sharp knife or your hands.
  • You need to be patient and leave the separated offset to dry for one or two days. This period allows it to become callused.
  • The next step, you must to make a small hole in a smaller planting pot with suitable cactus soil and place the callused offset into the hole. You need to be certain that the surrounding soil is compressed enough after planting.
  • Finally, the planted container must be placed in a spot that receives sufficient but indirect sunlight. It is better to avoid direct sunlight. Don’t forget that soil must be watered when it begins to feel dry.
  • Also, as the branch matures, its sunlight intake begins to increase, analogous to a mature cactus.
Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It

How to propagate from a pad?

Growing your cactus from pad propagation is one of the simplest and most widespread methods to swiftly expand your collection.

Follow these instructions to make sure you will be successful in your goal:

  • For the start, you need to take a cactus pad (one that’s no less than 6 months old) with your tongs and break it off of the mother plant. If you don’t have tongs, make certain to put on gloves because these cacti are spiky. 
  • For most cacti, this will be fairly uncomplicated to do and you’ll get a clean break. If you think this is challenging, use a clean sharp knife and cut one of the pads off. Pruning shears are not perfect if necessary to make a clean cut, so it is better to use a knife.
  • After your cactus pad has calloused over, you ought to lay it flat straight on top of the soil.
  • Next, just soak the soil with water (like you would do if the cactus were mature). It is crucial to inspect the soil from time to time to ensure that they are moist enough. This will make their roots grow more swiftly. 
  • Also, it would be fairly beneficial if you decided to dip the cut base of the pad in rooting hormone before laying it on top of the soil to boost root growth.
  • And the last thing is after your pads form a satisfactory root system, it is suggested to begin to water them more sparsely. This will help reduce the possibility of them commencing to rot in case they were over-watered. 

How to propagate by grafting?

Cactus propagation by grafting demands joining two various cactus species together. Grafting is perfect for a goal to join a hardy rootstock and a selected scion.

Cactus grafting propagates non-photosynthesizing sorts of cacti like moon cactus and variegated species.

It’s also effective if you have the intention to replace rotting stems and aids in growing cacti that have issues with the development of the roots.

These kinds include the Astrophytum, Rebutia, and Lophophora species.

Just follow these uncomplicated steps:

  • Start by selecting a clean and sterilized razor or sharp knife.
  • Next, select a healthy cactus plant and prepare a scion. Use your sharp instrument to cut off at least a one-inch stem (from the top).
  • After that, you ought to continue to prepare the rootstock. The cactus must be beheaded within a few inches (7.5 cm) of the soil.
  • The next step is what you need to ensure the rootstock and scion cactus are cut in straight, diagonal lines to generate matching surfaces for grafting.
  • The last step is you allow the grafted cactus to recover and harden for several weeks. During this period, try to provide warm, dry, and well-ventilated conditions for its growth.

4 tips for successful propagation

These pieces of advice will help you to have an increased probability of success for your cactus cuttings to develop into new growth:

  • Improve technical and mechanical skills

It would be wonderful if you would have some practice in training your hand and eye because they are essential in propagation. Most of the time, your head will know how, but your hand won’t be willing to do it. The most reasonable way to enhance your skills is by practice.

  • Study your cacti species and their most appropriate way of propagation

There are over 2500 cacti species in the world, which is quite an impressive number and each one of them is unique. Thus, it would be great to know your plant species and the type of propagation that suits it most of all.

  • Learn about the various plant structures and how they are growing

The most helpful way to learn about your cactus is to research information about it. Ensure to know something new about your plant every day. Allow it to teach you, and once you realize how they grow, you will have an effortless time when it comes to cactus propagation.

  • Avoid the direct sunlight

It would be a wise decision to store your cactus cuttings in a place that will be bright enough but will be away from direct sunlight.

How much time does it take a cactus cutting to develop roots?

Normally, the period at which cuttings develop new roots depends on a vast range of aspects such as the size of the cactus cutting, its sort, and the watering routine. 

Also, it can depend on the weather.

Typically, it requires four to six weeks for the roots to be formed, but cuttings that are not so big tend to develop roots much swifter than large cuttings.

So, in case your cutting hasn’t been rooted in a month, it must take root within 2 more weeks.

To accomplish more satisfactory outcomes, make certain you take time to prepare your cuttings appropriately beforehand and pot them in sterile rooting material to prevent them from rotting or withering before they root.

Once rooted, most cacti plants will be ready for transplantation roughly one month later.

Also, it is vital not to hurry and examine the cutting frequently to be certain it is healthy and growing well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put cactus cuttings straight into soil?

You can place a cutting into a fresh pot of soil. Also, you can try rooting them in water, but it’s predominantly will be better to put the cutting right into the soil.

It is advisable to use rooting hormone for root growth stimulation.

When you need to receive the cactus cuttings from fairly spiny cacti, such as columnar cactus, it is important to use some gloves for the protection of your hands.

Can you regrow a cactus from a cutting?

Most cacti and succulents can be without any effort propagated from stem or leaf cuttings.

For those cacti whose stems consist of segments (e.g. prickly pears, Christmas cactus), always remove whole segments as cactus cuttings – segments should not be split in half.

Can you grow a cactus from a broken piece?

Yes, it is feasible. You don’t have to get rid of a broken piece of your plant because it can give you new growth. 

The first thing you ought to do is to inspect the broken end of the piece. If it is crooked or broken, use a sharp knife to make a fresh cut to even the end out.

Set the broken piece aside for a couple of days to let the wound become calloused in preparation for rooting. It is also suggested to use a potting mix when you will be planting the broken piece.

Can you cut the top off a cactus and plant it?

Yes, you can do this. You can plant it straight in the ground or in garden beds outside.

But it is better to remember that because of an excessive amount of sun, it can be sunburned at this stage so you ought to select a suitable place or use a shade cloth over it until it is established.

Can You Cut off a Piece of Cactus and Plant It


The propagation by cactus cuttings is a great method to multiply the number of your plants. It is not very complicated, so even the beginner can manage it from the first try.

Also, you can use some other methods of propagation, and multiply your cacti. And never forget to store it away from the direct sunlight.

You might also like:

? Types of Fast Growing Cacti

? Grafted Cactus Lifespan

? How Deep Do Cactus Roots Go

? What Do Cactus Roots Look Like

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