One of the cheapest and most rewarding ways to grow a cactus is from a cutting. Plus, they make awesome gifts for people, especially if you’re on a tight budget. All you need is a little knowledge and you can have a beautiful plant at a fraction of the cost of a nursery variety.
Getting cactus to grow isn’t as hard as some people anticipate and it’s quite therapeutic. Also, many varieties are almost indestructible. The best place to get cuttings is from relatives, friends, or even walking down the street. This is great if you aren’t sure what will grow in your area as an established plant is living proof it can be done.
Now, growing plants from cuttings can be an art, so it’s best to start simple – hearty cactus are great for beginners. Even if you don’t have green fingers follow these guidelines and you should be successful!
- The key to successful growth is in the selection of the cutting. Choose a small piece that is growing off one of the main stems, rather than trying to establish something bigger – a small piece will root and grow much faster. Ideally, choose a piece that is no longer that 10-15cm in length.
- Now that you’ve identified an ideal piece, gently pry the cutting away from the main stem. It will have a notch like attachment, so doing it gently with your hands is much better than using snips or scissors.
- When you have your precious cutting, place it in a clear glass with enough water to keep it wet and to promote roots. Cactus’ can’t be drowned – which is just as unusual as the fact that they can grow without much water. Choosing a clear glass will allow you to see the roots form and continue to grow.
- Place the glass on a window sill or somewhere well lit. Change the water regularly and remember to keep it wet. The cactus will begin to get roots and predominately grow downward, not upward, so don’t expect much height change.
- How long you leave the plant to produce roots depends on many variables like climate and light. Some people have cactus plants in vases around their home, as many varieties thrive in water alone. The root system gets very intricate and it can be quite a stunning display – a great alternative to a bunch of flowers because it lasts for years, not days or weeks.
- If you’d prefer to grow a larger specimen in soil, select an appropriate pot size and potting mix. Take a picture of the plant and ask your local nursery to advise you of the best pot and soil type. Growing a thriving plant is heavily dependent upon the soil. So, if you’re a beginner, spend a bit more on some decent soil rather than creating your own mix, or earth directly from the garden.
That’s it! Your cactus will need a little water initially after planting, but usually within 2-4 weeks the cactus will generally look after itself.
Tip: With cactus your biggest threat of killing your plant is giving it too much attention after it’s established. If they need water the leaves will droop, and if they are receiving too much water, the leaves may begin to shed.
Good luck and happy planting!
Image via ehow.com