Cactus starts from cuttings

This is how you get cactus for cheap.

First, cut off a piece of cactus. The larger the piece, the more reserve it has to use growing new roots. Prickly pear can be started from just one pad, or from a piece of multiple pads. Cholla grow easily from starts. A columnar cactus cutting should be good sized in order to successfully start.

Second, let the cactus pieces dry out in a shady place for a few days. This allows the cut to dry out and get hard (called a callus).

Santa rita prickly pear cuttings

Cuttings from a prickly pear still blooming while they dry out

Third, plant your cactus cuttings with the cut side embedded in soil. You can make your own cactus soil mix. Here’s mine: I mix my hard desert clay with a third part sand.

Indian fig cactus starts

Prickly pear growing happily in pots, ready to plant.

Fourth, water your starts. You can water them about once per week. Make sure they dry out in between watering. Within a few months, a prickly pear can grow a pot full of roots and be ready to plant in the ground.

Teddy bear cholla piece

A piece of teddy bear cholla easily grows roots to make a new cactus.


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