Rooting a Cactus Pad

Category Cactus
Many types of cactus propagate in nature by their ability to have a pad or segment grow into a new plant. You can do this too, at home, and increase your cactus garden plantings. This is a page about rooting a cactus pad.


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I recently purchased a prickly pear cactus at the store. After getting it home, one of the pads got knocked off. I decided to root the broken pad and now will have two cacti for the price of one! :)


  • cookie sheet or cooling rack
  • tongs
  • paper towels
  • rubber bands
  • cactus soil
  • pot
  • pieces of cardboard
  • heavy work gloves


  1. Here is a photo my new cactus and the broken pad.
  2. Lay the pad onto a cookie sheet or cooling rack. If you chose to use a cooling rack, place something under it to catch any needles that fall off. Keep the pad in a dry room that is above 60 degrees F and out of direct sunlight. Allow the pad to develop a callus over the next 7-10 days.
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  4. Chose a fairly large pot with drainage holes. Fill the pot with soil, leaving 1-2 inches at the top empty. Wrap the ends of the tongs with paper towels and secure them with rubber bands. This will help protect the pad when you pick it up.
  5. Dig a slot in the soil, so that about 1/3 of the pad is buried. Then gently lift up the pad and set it down into the slot.
  6. Fill in the slot and firmly press the soil in place, so that the pad can stand upright on its own.
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  8. Water the cutting until the soil is evenly moist. Keep the cactus pad indoors, making sure the temperature remains above 60 degrees F, and in filtered sunlight. Water whenever the soil begins to dry out.
  9. Once the cactus is established and begins to produce new growth, you can reduce watering to 1/4 inch of water, every 7 days. Continue to water the cactus this way while nighttime temperatures remain over 60 degrees F. When nighttime temperatures begin to drop below 60 degrees F, you can reduce watering to 1/4 inch every 14 days.

Planting outside in the ground: You can transplant the cactus outdoors and into the ground if you choose. Do so in the spring, once ground temperatures remain above 60 degrees F.

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