I bought some cactus cuttings on eBay, and while that was going on, the
weather turned cool.
Would the cuttings be better off outside where it is sunny but the
ground it cool and the air temperature gets cold at night, or in my
basement under lights where I can keep them warm but the light is not as
I had planned on rooting them outdoors and then bringing them in at the
first frost, but several days of cold rain kind of messed up my plans.
It's going to depend on where you live.
You need to let the cactus wound dry and scale over before you plant it in
the ground. If it is already too cold and wet where you are, bring it
After it has hardened over you can put it in well drained soil with some
sand mixed in. water it once, and leave it alone. It takes a long time to
get roots and show some growth, so be patient. I have a Ceres that took a
year to root and hopefully show growth after this winter.
What do you mean by "cactus cuttings"?
It all depents on what the plants actually are.
This is not the best time to be rooting cuttings anyway.
It tends to get cooler after the vernal equinox every year.
I tend to agree with you Cereus, unless the person who has the "cuttings" or
pups is actually down under and approaching spring..........I would never
start a cactus pup at the end of September or early October here in
Tennessee in the ground. Now on the other hand, how warm the house is during
winter and using lights as suggested would work if he was diligent and
didn't let it dry out too much while it was rooting. Sandy, gritty soil
under a good grow light or florescent light and slightly misted or damp but
not soggy. I discovered it's better to make the cactus pup struggle a bit to
establish roots like they do when they drop off the plants in the wild. Too
dry would kill the roots, but if you don't over water them, you CAN
germinate them right now. outside wouldn't do like you said because of the
change of light and cooler temperatures. And this year be hanged if I try
to get all my surviving cacti and succulents in a lit, but cooler place to
winter it out. It's always such a struggle with me and my passion for them.
They need the waning light so badly, but they also need a cooling and drier
period too. My warm house is TOO arid and too warm and to get them to make
it thru the winter, I have to water them more which would work but they send
up leggy growth sometimes. It's a dilemma. Every time I kill a few, I vow
I'll not replace anyone, but then fall in love with a prickly specimen, or
some unusual succulent I know I can keep alive to bloom next year.
This year I have warty Hawortia's that are already blooming for me, and that
great leggy succulent that Zhan bestowed on me from her gardens in Ovieda
years ago that I've kept alive in the same hanging pot in the same pot.
It's quite a beastie now. Grew hairy roots on the bends of it's "elbows" but
thankfully hasn't tried to bloom yet and die back. Another pot in an old
macram้ that the rains that did come rotted out the jute finally and the
sheer weight of wet soil and plants made three of five ropes break and it
dangles on the two remaining. Before it comes in I have to find something
to set it into to hang. It's a hanging plant for me, anywhere else where it
doesn't freeze, it would have crept along the ground, establishing and
growing great ghostly rosettes and started blooming.
I'd say use the lights, the table and monitor the soil to avoid
overwatering. Keep it cool, lit and not bone dry and you might get baby
cacti ready for spring.
Yes I know that :-) It's not the right time of year to be starting
them, but it's when I found them, and they were too cheap to pass up.
If they die, I can try to find some again in the spring.
When I opened the box, I was very careful handling the cactus pads to
avoid the prickles, but I wasn't so careful with the wadded up newsprint
they were packed in... that was full of little stickers. I got them all
over me. It took me 2 days to get them all out.
These are Eastern Prickly Pears (Opuntia compressa), Tree Cholla
(Opuntia imbricata), and some kind of *very* large pad prickly pear that
looks like the ones I saw at Mesa Verde this summer.
Somehow I was expecting another month of warm weather for the cacti to
root, then I was gonna dig them up and bring them in the house. The
chollas are the ones I'm most interested in. The O. compressas are the
ones most likely to grow up here. If I can get the cacti thru the
winter and grow them out next year, I will try covering half of them
with styrofoam cones to see if they'll overwinter outside. The other
half I'll bring in, of course.
Actually the eastern prickly pear is correctly named Opuntia humifusa and
the purple Cholla is now Cylindropuntia imbricata.
The best way to handle the "stem segments" is with tongs.
Both are completely cold hardy and you can leave them outdoors over the
winter. Do not cover them in the winter. They should survive whether rooted
or not. I have had plants of O.humifusa survive the winter outdoors bare
rooted, not even in the ground.
Keep the cuttings in a sunny window. I have successfully rooted many
cactus cuttings in plain water. I keep just a 1/8" of water, or just
enough to wet the bottom of the glass. It seems it doesn't hurt the
process if it goes dry for a day. Water and low light is death for
many cactus. Have patience.
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