How to take cuttings from cacti and succulents

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun

Takes just:

20 minutes

At its best:

Jun, Jul, Aug, Mar, Apr, May, Dec, Jan, Feb, Sep, Oct, Nov

Cacti and succulents are the perfect choice if you're looking for indoor plants that almost look after themselves.

Most cacti and succulents can be easily propagated from stem or leaf cuttings, as explained below. For those cacti whose stems are formed of segments (e.g. prickly pears, Christmas cacti), always remove whole segments as cuttings – don’t split segments in half.

Succulents that form clumps, such as aloes, haworthias and agaves, should be divided by simply taking the plant out of its pot and splitting the rootball. Cacti that form numerous heads, such as many Mammillaria and Echinopsis can be divided, or cut off individual heads and use them as cuttings.

Feature by Dr. Ross Bayton

You will need

Cactus compost

Plastic pots

Snips or scissors



Choose a healthy piece of stem at least 10cm long and cut it off cleanly with snips. Use tongs when handling spiny cacti. For plants without stems, remove whole leaves by hand (don’t cut them off). Sit cuttings on a window sill and leave them until the cut surfaces have healed over.

Fill a 7cm or 9cm pot with cactus compost, then insert the base of each cutting to a depth of about 2cm, or deep enough that it stands upwards.

Water liberally, then place the pot on a warm windowsill, preferably not in direct sunlight. Do not place cactus or succulent cuttings in a propagator or cover them with a plastic bag.

Keep an eye on the cutting and water when the compost feels dry. Most cactus and succulent cuttings will root within a month, but it may take longer for new growth to appear.


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