Are you one of those lucky people who have got a pencil cactus in your back yard or indoors? If so, are you wondering how to proceed with pencil cactus propagation? Then, you are at the right page.
Let’s find out pencil cactus propagation methods.
Different methods to propagate pencil cactus
To briefly touch on the propagation methods, Basically, we could state four main methods of propagating the pencil cactus. They are as follows.
- Propagation them in water
- Propagating them in soil
- Propagating them through division
- Propagating them through offset
Pencil cactus propagation in water
As you may already know, pencil cactus is hardy and a versatile plant which could survive in hot and drought weather conditions.
Having said that, they could also root in water. However, the flow of water propagation would depend on the plant species and on the environment, it is in too.
Pencil cactus will have a higher success rate when propagating them in water.
How to conduct water propagation?
To start off, you need to obtain the specimen from the mother plant first. After that you may leave the cutting to dry in a proper place where they could get enough sunlight.
You may leave them for a few days like that, so that they have enough days to wither.
It is important that those cuttings become callous first and only after that, you may locate them in water to root. This process would take about one week’s time in general.
Secondly you could choose a glass jug or even a vase which you have filled with water.
You need to measure the depth of water by the length of the cutting you have used. Make sure that only the roots are in the water without leaving any leaves in the water.
As the next step, you may locate the cutting into the water whilst keeping the cut end of the stem inside the water.
When you locate the glass, jug, or the vas, make sure you locate it in a bright and sunny area. You need to wait and see how they form roots and that would be the hardest part of the entire process.
In general context it would take about one month’s time. You need to check the water as a good practice, and you could replace the water as essential.
When you replace the water, it could avoid any potential fungus and bacteria attack forming in the water and harming the plant. Once you spot the roots have formed in the water.
After you spot the roots that have formed in the water, you could consider transplanting the new plant in a fresh pot.
You could locate the pot either indoors or outdoors as you wish. However, you need to ensure that soil is moist, and you have used a well-draining soil medium too.
Additionally, keep in mind to use the right pot material to grow them too.
Advantage of water propagation
This is an easy process to follow for anybody. It would be pleasing for you to see those little roots forming. After that it would be even more pleasing how they form pups from cuttings.
If you are someone who wishes to grow plants in water, you should try propagating these plants in water without any hesitation.
One more advantage of propagating the pencil cactus in water is that you could make plenty of new plants and you do not have to go to any stores to purchase them.
As such cost wise also, it could be beneficial since you do not have to spend anything at all on these.
Pencil cactus propagation in soil
Further you could propagate the pencil cactus in soil as well. You could obtain the cutting from the plant depending on the season you wish to grow the new plants too.
when you obtain the cutting, make sure that it is a few inches in length. In addition to that, it should have numerous growth nodes which contain full foliage.
To elaborate on this further,
- A Softwood cutting – this would be the new growth of the season, and this would be the ideal stem to use for this purpose. Literally because there is a high potential for the softwood cutting to root vigorously as it had not hardened.
- Semi softwood cuttings – usually you could take them prior to summer season before the new growth becomes mature.
- Hardwood cuttings – You could usually take these cuttings from a mature and an older plant.
How to conduct the pencil cactus propagation in Soil
Before you proceed with anything, you need to bear in mind that you wear protective ears such as gloves which could cover up to your wrist, toe closed shoes, long pants, long sleeved shirts and eye protection so that you could protect yourself from their toxic latex they produce when you take the cuttings.
When you cut them, ensure you are using sharp and clean equipment such as blades. As aforesaid, you need to make sure that it is dry enough and become callous before you plant them in the pot.
To that you could grow them in a sunny spot so that they could become dry.
Afterwards you may fill the pots with the soil medium which is well draining. As the next step, you could spray little water in the soil medium so that you could make it moist.
Then, you may proceed and place the cutting in the soil mix whilst placing the cut end buried in it. You should ideally place the cutting about 1-1.5 inches in the medium. It is about 2.5-3.8 in cm.
Moreover, you could place a small plastic bag over the pot’s cutting and locate it somewhere it could gain indirect sunlight. Alternatively, you could locate it even in a growing tent too.
if I mention an ideal temperature, they would love to have a temperature range between 55-75 degrees Fahrenheit which is about 13-24 Celsius).
You could open the bed frequently so that it would allow you to enhance the air circulation there.
Moreover, you could spray fresh water onto the cutting whilst doing that. Besides that, you make sure the soil is kept moist all the time.
Keep observing the cuttings to spot if there is any root growth. When you spot that root has established, you could report the plant.
However, it would take approximately four weeks’ time to form roots and to develop them firmly.
You could repot the new plant in a slightly bigger pot and place it indoors or outdoors. Keep the plant under your observation and continue doing the regular care practices.
Advantages of soil propagation
This is also a relatively easy process to follow and there is a high potential of getting the best results from doing this. On the other hand, you cannot really expect them to grow as their original plant in case those original plants have colorful stripes or leaves edges.
Pencil cactus propagation by division
First of all, make sure that you are wearing all the protective gears so that you could protect yourself from the toxic sap they produce.
To do this, you could snip several specimens just below leaf nodes. Ideally those specimens should be about 10-15 cm in length.
As usual, you need to let those wither for about a couple of days. After that you could put the pots with a lean substrate or with coconut fibers. Make sure you place a cutting and provide rainwater.
When you place a plastic bag in each pot, it would create tropical microclimate conditions which could be beneficial for rooting.
Best is to locate them in a vessel in a heated greenhouse which gets enough sunlight. When you keep the substrate moist, it would affect a vigorous root system to form.
Advantage of division propagation
If you wish to have new plants which look the same as their original plants, you could undoubtedly go ahead with this method.
This will work on the variegated plants as well since when you propagate them through division, you would get the plants with the same colorful margins and with leaf edges.
Can a pencil cactus propagate by offsets?
You may further propagate the pencil cactus through offsets as well. However, the downside of using this propagation is that it could take so many years for the mother plant to produce offsets.
Do not forget to wear all the protective gear, so that you could protect yourself from the sap.
You could use a sharp knife to take off the offset from the mother plant. When you take the offset off from it, first of all get rid of the older soil around the plant.
Wait for a few days until they become dry and callous. After that , plant them in a well-draining potting medium. Water them once the soil gets dry.
In addition to that, you could consider propagating them through seeds as well. However, this is not the best recommended way to proceed though.
However, to do this, you need to grow the seeds in a well-draining potting medium. Best is to practice this only for outdoor pencil cactus.
General care tips after propagation
It is necessary to provide the general care treatments for these plants once you propagate them. Unless chances are that they could not give you the expected results.
However, if you provide the following conditions, it would be beneficial for their optimal growth.
For example, you need to provide them with bright indirect full sunlight, the right pot, sufficient water amount and right level of temperatures.