As a Rule of Thumb, never water a cactus if the soil is wet, damp, or moist etc. Cactus can go weeks and or months without being watered, and most cacti will let you know visually that they need water. Here in southern California, we water our cactus every few weeks, all year round, your local Cactus and Succulent Society is a great resource for finding out information on best growing practices in your local area.
Congratulations on your purchase of your Cactus Cuttings and/or Potted Plant!
**Tricho refers to cacti**
SAFETY Warning: Always wear Gloves when handling cactus!!! They have spines, they poke, stab, cut, pierce, and hurt when they come in sharp contact with skin!!!! If you want soft plants, check out our Succulents!!!
Now comes the fun part of getting them to root, grow and thrive!
A lot of different factors play into the length of time it takes for these guys to begin rooting. Time of season, soil type, location, and amount of sunlight are all factors to consider.
Trichocereus, and other cactus species, like the vast majority of all other plants, will root best in warm temps and warm soil. Obviously spring and summer are the optimum seasons for getting these guys to grow, but indoors where you can control these factors, will help you as well.
Rooting your Cactus Cuttings:
So your cutting/s have arrived. The bottom end should be dry and calloused. Sometimes we use a little sulfur on the end to help with drying and to protect it from any infection. The sulfur may turn a few colors, itâ€™s ok, just check to make sure the end is dry! If it is, youâ€™re ready to go to the next step. If still wet for some reason, keep dry allow it to sit in the shade for a few days, or even prop it up so the end faces the warm sun to help out. ** Be careful though of leaving it directly on itâ€™s side in hot sustained sun as they can burn while on their sides.
If the end feels mushy/rotted (rarely will this happen in shipping) , you will need to cut the rotted section off, make sure you cut into nice healthy cactus, you want to get rid of anything thatâ€™s not healthy! Then allow to dry in a shady dry area as noted above, a few days if warm, a week or so if not.
OK, you have a dry calloused cutting end ready to plant. Soil is important for a number of reasons.
One, it needs to be porous/well draining soil, whether by adding sand, gravel, perlite, or other medium, your soil needs to drain/dry quicker than your average houseplant soil, orâ€¦.you risk your tricho/cacti rotting at itâ€™s base. Wet, soggy soil kills succulents and cactus more than anything! If the soil is wet, it doesnâ€™t need to be watered!
Two, your soil is both the home of your tricho, and itâ€™s major source of nourishment! Youâ€™ve invested in these plants, spend a little more and purchase/create a quality soil for your Tricho to thrive in. Ask your local nursery/gardening center for some basic cactus soil mix and you are ready to go/grow, or make your own. Google to learn how! You can later add fertilizer, worm castings, whatever you want to feed your cactus with, but wait to do this until itâ€™s rooted and ready to take in the food!
Ok, so now you have your dry cactus cut, some proper soil (doesnâ€™t need to be dry soil, a little moisture is just fine, just not wet, you shouldnâ€™t be able to squeeze water out), a pot with ***drainage holes***, and now you will scoop out a few inches of soil and gently place her into the soil, 2-3â€ down is fine. If you have a heavy or long cut, you may need to support with a stick or something. Place in a dry and shady spot for the next 3-4 weeks as you wait for roots to begin appearing. At this time, you can carefully check for root growth by gently pulling your Tricho out and inspecting, either sheâ€™s started, or you have to wait patiently for another few weeks. If it looks rotted (shouldnâ€™t), cut and start over.
An Alternative to Vertical planting is laying your Tricho horizontally on the ground or in a large pot if your cuts are small enough. The advantages of this is if you find your Tricho pieces already broken and on the ground(check for roots along the section facing the ground), or if you have a large unattractive piece you want just to propagate from. Planting horizontally also provides more surface area for roots to form which in the end, will be a major factor in producing growth, as well as growth in multiple areas along itâ€™s length!
If roots have begun, you can now begin watering gently, and make sure to wait for soil to dry a bit between each watering, remember, soggy sustained soil kills cactus!
Now your cactus are ready for some full sun, or you can experiment on their location. We have cactus in full on hot baking sun that are thriving if watered consistently, others that get little water while baking all day. Color and growth are effected by lack of water. We also have many in partial shade, and some giants that have grown long and tall up along the sides of some trees, never getting full sun at all. This is up to you where you grow yours, but if you see them bending/reaching for the sun, you need to move them as this isnâ€™t a good thing. Also, SLOWLY ACCLIMATE your recently rooted Tricho into bright, full, hot sun. They can sunburn just like you and I!
Tricho Notes of Interest
If you want to propogate (start new cuttings) from your cactus, just do as stated at the beginning. Take a clean knife or saw and cut off a piece/pieces and let dry and start the cycle over. You should get multiple new tips forming at the top of the cut in a few weeks! If your plant falls over and snaps, donâ€™t stress out, just start over and turn into a new cutting!
Sometimes trichos and other cactus will get a black spot or area on the tip or along itâ€™s side. Sometimes these are caused by bruising, being poked by other cactus, etc. Sometimes they just appear. Lots of forums discussing this, sometimes it even looks like a little drip is coming out of it which usually is dry to the touch. Donâ€™t panic! These black spots will turn into regular little scars in a few weeks/months and will grow down as new growth grows from the top. The key here is understanding the difference between these black spots versus real black rotted sections. Rotted cactus you can push your finger into. If your cactus gets damaged on the side and doesnâ€™t heal properly, you will need to cut the dead section out. Your Tricho should heal just fine, but the black/orange gooey flesh needs to go!
Flowers!!! Your first flowers will appear as small balls of white fur. Donâ€™t knock them off! These balls will soon turn into giant white/yellow flowers that Bees and Hummingbirds will go crazy over! We feed our flowers to our tortoises, they love them too! Sometimes your Trichos will also produce fruit and seed pods, which are cool too!
Your Trichos should grow at least a foot a year! Some may grow more, others less, obviously lots of factors involved here! Different types of Trichocereus also grow differently in size and spine length, as well as color and shape. Bridgesii tend to always be on the skinnier side of San Pedros with their spines being randomly longer than the SPâ€™s. Peruvian Torches have lots of long spines. Bic Macs are..Big and fat! San Pedros vary as well, some cuts are fat logs, others are skinnier. No two are alike! None are perfect, but thatâ€™s life!
Thanks for your purchase, I hope you enjoy your cuttings and they grow well for you!
Cheers and Blessings
Also visit us at our Facebook page for lots of cool pictures and info on succulents and cactus!
****As a Disclaimer, ALL of our CACTUS, whether potted or as cuttings are sold strictly for ornamental pleasure! They look awesome and theyâ€™re fun to grow and collect! Please donâ€™t ask us if we sell any cactus that will make you smarter, we donâ€™t. Please donâ€™t ask us if we sell any cactus that will make you more attractive, we donâ€™t. Grow hair? we donâ€™t! Lose weight? we donâ€™t. Grow muscles? we donâ€™t! ****