Table of contents:
Propagation of cacti by cuttings
Like other houseplants, some cacti can be propagated by cuttings. The difference is that cuttings of cacti (except for forest, semi-epiphytic) are never placed in water.
When to cut cacti
Cut off the cuttings preferably in spring or summer. Most cacti require a dormant period in the fall. From the fact that you cut off the stalk not in the spring, it will not suffer and even take root, but the mother plant will suffer.
However, there are cases when one cannot do without grafting: if a cactus is sick, dies and at least something needs to be saved, the only way out is to try grafting the crown.
When is it worth cutting a cactus
1. If the cactus has a single stem, grafting is advisable when:
- the stem is too long and ugly,
- the stem is too long and may drop the pot,
- the stem is too long and rests against the shelf or window frame, there is not enough space for it,
- the stem is severely corky in the lower part or the roots and root collar have rotted.
Usually grafting of a single stem is reduced to cutting and re-rooting the top. But if the length of the stem allows, you can cut it into several cuttings.
2. If the cactus branches well, then you can cut the stalk in order to share with friends or grow yourself another copy.
How to cut cacti by cuttings
Tools and equipment
- a sharp knife - preferably a clerical knife with a thin blade and a straight edge, or a razor blade;
- alcohol for disinfection;
- crushed charcoal;
- a pot or bowl with drainage holes;
- soil for cacti;
- several pebbles;
- Large plastic tweezers (you can use the tweezers from the toy set) or kitchen tongs with silicone pads.
How to graft or re-root the crown of a cactus
1. Take our cactus, which we are going to graft. We carefully choose the place where we will make the cut. If, for example, a cactus with stem rot, then be sure to cut off only the healthy part of the stem.
2. Wipe the tool (knife, razor) with alcohol.
3. We grab the cactus by the crown with tweezers or kitchen tongs so as not to break the thorns. If there are no tweezers or tongs, use a paper tourniquet: fold a sheet of paper in several layers and wrap it around the cactus stem.
4. Cut off the desired part of the stem. We put it on its side on paper, in a shaded, cool place for 2-4 days to dry the cut. If you cut a stalk from a diseased plant, it is better to sprinkle it with crushed charcoal.
The cut can be left flat in one plane. But sometimes the stem of a cut cut (except for prickly pears) is "sharpened" like a pencil at the cut site. This ensures the formation of stronger roots.
5. Pour cactus soil into the pot. The soil may be slightly damp. We put several pebbles on the surface of the soil. The stalk, which has been dried for several days, is placed not on the ground, but on the pebbles. If the stalk is thin and unstable, a support should be fixed in the pot and the stalk should be tied to it with a woolen thread. You can put the cactus stalk directly on the ground, but in this case, it must be completely dry. If the cut of the cutting touches a damp surface, it will quickly rot and die.
Using large pebbles instead of top drainage is much more convenient when rooting cuttings. After all, you can easily remove them and see if the roots have appeared. However, you should not look under the cactus every few days so as not to harm it. When the roots are old enough, they will be visible.
6. We put the pot on a bright, but diffused light. Ideally, an east window. If the side is south, then under the shade of tulle.
Roots appear within 1 to 2 weeks, in rare cases longer. Once I got as a gift the cut off crown of a huge cerius, 25 cm long and 8 cm in diameter. So, I had to first dry this cutting for 2 weeks, and then, putting it on dry ground in a pot, and reinforcing it with expanded clay pebbles, wait two months until the roots appear.
Alternatively, rooting a cactus cuttings above water is possible. In some cases, the roots appear faster than on the ground. For this method, water is poured into the bottom of the jar, a funnel with a wide opening is cut out of a plastic bottle or paper. Place the cactus stalk so that its cut is 5 mm above the water. As it evaporates, the water must be topped up. As soon as the roots hatch, the cactus can be planted on the ground: do not bury it, but put it directly on the surface of the substrate.
By the way, cactus cuttings are able to grow roots even just lying on their side, on a shelf. But there is a difference: when drying vertically, the roots appear evenly over the entire surface of the cut. While when dried horizontally, the roots appear more on the side on which the cactus lies.
Reproduction of cacti by children
This is probably the easiest way to breed. It is suitable only for those cacti that form children. It must be remembered that the strongest and most viable children are located closer to the top of the cactus. But usually this is not important, children should be taken where the mother plant is least affected, where they are already superfluous.
In some cacti, children themselves fall off and, falling to the ground, take root over time. Others have to be carefully removed with tweezers. Sometimes the place where the baby was taken from is imperceptible among the thorns or hairs. Or it may turn out that a bald patch forms in the place where the baby breaks off, this spoils the mother plant. In this case, children should be separated while they are still very small.
Cactus babies without roots must be fixed on an almost dry substrate with pebbles. Children with large roots should be planted in the ground, in the hole.
Children of cacti, unlike cuttings, do not need to be dried, they easily root on slightly damp soil. However, reproduction by children has a significant drawback - with prolonged, repeated reproduction by children, the quality of the resulting plants decreases.
Sometimes, if the children are not taken from the cactus, then they, growing and covering the entire plant, give it a completely bizarre look. Leaving or removing the kids is a matter of taste for each owner of cacti. But if your pet is sick, then it is better to remove the children from him, because he will need extra strength to recover.
Vaccination is one of the methods of vegetative propagation of cacti, which has a specific purpose.
Why plant cacti
- grafting is done in order to make a cactus bloom, which is difficult to bloom;
- grafting is done when a cactus can die from the fact that it has lost its roots (for example, they have rotted);
- grafting of cacti is done when it is not possible to root the stalk in another way;
- graft cacti when the species is very difficult to maintain, if it grows on its own roots;
- when just wondering what it looks like or to get a curious combination.
With all the advantages of grafting cacti, there is a significant drawback - grafted plants, in most cases, are not durable, since this is still not a natural operation for plants.
In general, grafting on rare species of cacti is better for an experienced cactusist who has known these plants for more than a year, since this is a complex and painstaking procedure, in which failures often occur from the slightest violation of the rules.
When vaccinating, the following conditions must be observed
Vaccinations should be carried out in the spring, or at the beginning of summer, except for those cases when the roots of the cactus rotted in the fall, I really do not want to lose a valuable specimen. Even then, the result may not always be positive. If, nevertheless, it is necessary to vaccinate in winter, the cactus rootstock must be brought to a state of growth by increasing its watering, illumination and increasing the ambient temperature for this.
Rootstock - the cactus that is grafted onto must have a good healthy root system and be in a growing state. Only a healthy cactus that has been transplanted at least a month before vaccination can be used as a stock, and is not inclined to form children. The most commonly used rootstock is Eriocereus jusbertii. The reason for this is simple - this cactus is unpretentious, growing rapidly.
All instruments must be sterile, for this they are wiped with alcohol. It is better to wipe both cacti, which will be used as rootstock and scion, with a brush dipped in alcohol.
The cut should be fresh, not dried out.
The rootstock and the scion should be aligned so that their cambial rings on the cut coincide as best as possible, therefore the diameters of the cuts should be such that the diameters of the cambial rings are also the same. The success of the vaccination depends on the coincidence of the cambium rings.
Cambium is a layer of cells of educational tissue (meristem), located in the thickness of the cactus stem and roots. It is clearly visible on the cut of the stem in the form of a ring. The cambium cells give rise to secondary conducting bundles; when the cambium rings on the rootstock and the scion coincide, if they did not have time to dry out, accretion occurs. The more the cambium rings on the rootstock and the scion match, the better, but they should match at least partially.
The cuts on the rootstock and scion should be horizontal and even, and the bandage connecting the two plants held them firmly, but did not cut into the tissue of the cacti. By the way, you can also graft seedlings, cut over the cotyledons.
Technique for grafting cacti
After the cacti are cooked and treated with alcohol, the tool is disinfected, the top of the rootstock and the scion are cut off. Immediately, until the sections begin to dry out and oxidize, they must be aligned so that the conducting bundles of cambial rings coincide as much as possible. To press the scion to the stock, it is recommended to use threads or a thin elastic band.
I did this: I cut off two thick nylon strips from tights. First, I took one of them and glued one of its ends with tape or plaster to the wall of the pot. I threw the thread over the connected cacti between the thorns and pulled it from the opposite end of the pot so that the thread did not cut into the skin of the cactus, but at the same time firmly held the scion on the rootstock. Then, using the same tape, she glued the other end of the thread. In the same way, I pulled the second thread, only from the other side of the pot, so that both threads were crosswise. Instead of nylon thread, you can use a plumbing fumule.
It is important to act quickly during vaccination. If something went wrong with you, the procedure is delayed, then either make more recent sections - they should not be dry, or cover the sections with a piece of cling film to protect them from drying out.
In some cases, the rootstock, on the contrary, produces too much juice, like in Eriocerius, and interferes with the correct and tight alignment of the cambial rings. Stock up on sterile gauze pads in advance. Never wipe the sections with cotton pads or cloth.
Caring for cacti after vaccination
After vaccination, the cactus should be placed in a dry, warm and bright place, but always shaded from the direct sun. Water sparingly, only when the soil is thoroughly dry (do not completely dry out), and avoid getting water on the wounds and cuts at the grafting site. Since the cactus is kept for two weeks, then the dressing on the graft is removed, and the cactus, after gradual accustoming to bright light, is transferred to its normal maintenance regime.
Seed propagation of cacti