Proper Propagation of Cacti From Cuttings


Cacti and other types of succulents store moisture within their cells to use during times of drought. Instead of leaves, cactus plants produce long, prickly spines over their surfaces. Not only do these spines protect the plants from animals and insects, they help the plants retain the moisture. These plants thrive in their native, arid environments and make interesting houseplants indoors. Increase your cactus garden by propagating cuttings from your existing specimens into new plants.

Step 1

Propagate your cacti during the warmest months of the year. Cacti require warm temperatures to form roots on new cuttings. For best results, wait until nighttime temperatures remain above 60 degrees F.

Step 2

Cut off a segment of your parent plant with a clean, serrated knife. Disinfect your knife in a solution of water and bleach. Use one part household bleach to nine parts of water. Dip your knife in this solution before cutting and between cutting segments of cacti. Slice through any area of columnar cacti, but make your cut between joints on pad cactus.

Step 3

Dip the bottom of your cut segment in a rooting compound. Set the cutting on a clean paper towel and set in a dry, shady area to dry. Allow the wounded section to form a callus. This normally takes a few days to a week to form.

Step 4

Fill your pot with a soil specially made for succulents and cacti. Look for this at your local nursery, garden center or florist shop. Scoop a deep hole in your dry soil to allow enough space for the bottom one-third to one-half of your cutting. Set the calloused bottom of your cutting into the bottom of the hole and press the soil around the base of the cutting, covering the bottom portion with soil to hold the cutting firmly in place.

Step 5

Water your new plant lightly to create a slightly moist environment throughout the soil. Do not soak your cactus plant or water again until the soil becomes dry on the surface. Set your new plant in a sunny area of your house or out on a patio or porch that receives a maximum amount of daytime sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Serrated knife
  • Rooting compound
  • Paper towel
  • Pot
  • Potting soil
  • Water


  • University of Arizona: How to Propagate Agaves and Cacti from Cuttings and Seed
  • Desert Gardens: Cactus Propagation
  • Washington State University: Growing and Caring for Succulent
Keywords: propagate cacti, growing cactus plants, cactus cuttings

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.