I have a 3 foot tall cactus that broke off two large shoots. This may be a very naive question, but can I attach the two broken shoots with duck tape (haha) and will it heal itself and grown roots back to the base. Or should I go back to just repotting them? I know you are all thinking this girl is crazy, but at least you'll get a good laugh, but I thought to give it a shot! Help anyone?
Great picture, pixieduster and great info, yakaback (not to mention great names for the both of you!)!
You can do whatever you want. Cacti can take anything except over-watering.
Out in the wild they get kicked apart by cattle or deer or tourists, and simply grow in multiple incarnations.
You can also duck tape or haywire them back together. That is usually done with huge, old cacti in hotel lobbies.
You can also graft them onto other cacti. Most cactus fanciers have one of those four or six sided column cacti sitting in a corner. They don't usually bloom, except for my dad, and are just plain and ugly columns. However, they are ideal bases for grafting. If you have a really delicate cactus, that just won't adapt to your soil, break a piece off that column, stuff it into the dirt and after a week cut it off a few inches above the dirt. Make a clean level cut on your delicate cactus, and set it on the freshly cut base. Take care to line up the central nerve bundles, and pin it with stick pins to anchor it. In a few days you will see that the hitch-hiker becomes lively.
Some of them can eventually, in a few years, be broken off and planted in dirt, but some will do better remaining on their host base.
Here is a typical example: http://dawna.com/CD0902/vivipara-white-flower.jpg
The base below that Vivipara is called Harisii Jusbertii. For fastest growth in new dirt you can cut the bottom into a point, let it dry 3-4 days, and then jam the point into the dirt. Cutting the bottom into a point shape also helps to identify which end is the bottom.
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