Growing Cactus from Pups?

A colorful cactus with small pups on the side.
Certain cactus can be propagated by removing and planting the pups produced by the main cactus. Others require special handling to propagate from cuttings. These may need to be grafted to another cactus. Do some research before attempting to grow cactus from pups, for best results.

2 Questions

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July 18, 2018

I am new to this website. I have learning difficulties too, so please be patient with me.

I bought a few cactus online recently. I was told that I wouldn't be able to grow any more from the babies (pups) as they are single stem cactus. I was told by the suppliers themselves.Growing Cactus from Pups - grafted cactus


I'm wondering if I'd be able to grow the cactus from its babies (pups) that's growing from the mum?

Any information will be great. Please bear in mind I've got a learning disability to where big or fancy word's are hard for me to understand and words that most are used to tell thing's are hard to follow.

I thank you now for any information that is said to me.

I'm hoping that I've put a photo of the cactus and pups in if it helps.

Thanks again.

A colorful cactus with small pups on the side.
A colorful cactus with small pups on the side.


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July 18, 20180 found this helpful
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Is yours called a Moon Cactus--or at least that is how I know them?

If so, these can be grown from pups, but it can be challenging. They probably told you no, because they wanted to sell more.


You can carefully cut them off and put them in sand or cactus mix soil and start watering when they get roots. They take a very long time to root--can take up to 6 months!

There is a video that may help you

Be safe!!

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July 19, 20181 found this helpful
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I guess I am going to be the one "out" here and say - no - you cannot grow the Moon cactus pups on their own.

  • The reason you were told that you could not propagate the pups is because they can only be grafted onto another cactus such as the one you bought.
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  • I can hear everyone screaming that I do not know what I am talking about but I do this type grafting a lot and would dearly LOVE to be able to grow one of these little red pups in cactus soil.
  • Here are some comments from different garden/plant web sites:
  • "Pure yellow, red, pink are mutants that lack any chlorophyll and live for only a little while without 'help' - that's where grafting comes in.
  • Some other plants are grafted because they are slow growers but the Moon cactus is grafted because it produces no chlorophyll of its own and cannot live unless grafted onto another plant that produces chlorophyll."
  • "Strangely, the plant is something of a mutant and lacks the ability to produce chlorophyll, which means they must be grafted onto a rootstock with that ability. Instructions for how to grow a moon cactus are similar to most succulents, but they are short lived for the family even with good care."
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  • "The moon cactus is usually sold already grafted in a process that removes the bottom of the Hibotan and the top of the rootstock cactus. The two halves are set together at the cut ends and soon heal together. The life of the moon cactus can be extended by re-grafting it onto a fresh rootstock."
  • Now, here is a video from YouTube that has the name "How to Propagate moon Cactus". You can watch the video if you wish but it is a complete waste of time as this just shows someone potting a Moon flower pup that does not know what they are talking about and definitely does not ever come back to show results.
  • The reason I have this link is so you can see that people can say anything but that does not prove it is correct. The main point is for you to read the comments below the video so you can see what more knowledgeable people are saying.
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  • If you want to grow more Moon flower cactus then you will need to learn how to graft the pups onto another cactus (which is kinda easy) but may take a little practice.

Sometimes people read some of the information on websites and do not always fully grasp what the writer is saying and it may seem like they are saying this or that can be done but maybe we missed a single word that changes the complete picture.

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December 27, 2020

My rootstock is rotting and I was wondering if I can propagate or graft my pups onto any kind of cactus or if it has to be on one specific kind? I really want my plant to continue growing, but I don't know how to save it. Someone help me please.


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December 30, 20200 found this helpful
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What you're asking about is called 'grafting' and yes, it can be done but it has a low percentage of being successful.
Some cacti will graft to other types while others just shrivel up and die - at least that has been my experience.


A lot depends on how healthy the pups are and if they have been removed from the mother plant properly.

I would suggest you read about propagating your pups before you decide on another method as this will save the exact same plant that is dying.

There are several steps that many people do not know about when propagating cactus and tend to have a lot of failures.
Information from the Cactus Society:
" Offsets/pups are easy and fast as long as you take clean cuts and allow the offsets to callous before rooting."
Pups should be cut on an angle so they will dry properly or if cut or laid out incorrectly the cut could rot and pup would have to be thrown away.
You must allow the cut end to callus fully before rooting. This may take a few weeks or one month, depending on the conditions in your home. You will know that the offset is ready for rooting when the cut end is dry, hardened, slightly shriveled, and whitish."
If there is any part of the parent plant on the offset/pup, be sure to cut it off. Otherwise, it will start to rot, and that may affect your pup severely.

If you're still set on trying to graft your pups to a different type of cactus then you can read about how to do this or watch a YouTube video as the instructions are lengthy and must be followed to the letter or it will be a complete waste of time.

Please be sure your cactus pups are planted in the correct type of container and soil and not the soil from the pot that has the original plant. It must have excellent drainage so prepare or buy the best and water only when needed.

There are times when you may be busy and find a pup that you just refuse to throw away and you just lay it on top of the soil with the mother plant. Sometimes one of these will just take root and grow but you cannot count on this being successful.

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