Rooting a Cactus Pad

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July 7, 2016

Rooting a Cactus PadI 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. Rooting a Cactus Pad
    Rooting a Cactus Pad
  3. 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.
  4. Rooting a Cactus Pad
  5. 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.
  6. Rooting a Cactus Pad
    Rooting a Cactus Pad

  7. 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.
  8. Rooting a Cactus Pad
    Rooting a Cactus Pad
    Rooting a Cactus Pad
  9. Fill in the slot and firmly press the soil in place, so that the pad can stand upright on its own.
  10. Rooting a Cactus Pad
    Rooting a Cactus Pad
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Rooting a Cactus Pad
    Rooting a Cactus Pad
    Rooting a Cactus Pad

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.

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 1


July 9, 20161 found this helpful

Remember that Opuntias (Prickly Pear) in the wild get knocked apart by deer and cattle, and are not used to any gentle handling. They do quite well in the poorest of desert soils. Watering them too much or too often WILL murder them.
To get them to bloom you usually have to stop watering them and almost kill them. There are hundreds of regional varieties that bloom from pale yellow all the way to magenta. On the Bowie Trail I even saw a yellow / bright red two-tone version.


Have a look at my dad's site at
He started with Opuntias about 30 years ago after he retired.
Have FUN!

Reply Was this helpful? 1
September 29, 20181 found this helpful

Thank you. Well written and illustrated article

Reply Was this helpful? 1
January 1, 20190 found this helpful

Yes excellent article. I will be getting one of these soon. They sequester and mineralize CO2, so they help offset carbon. This is true for all succulents.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 17, 20190 found this helpful

Your directions were well thought out and easy To I understand thank you

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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