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Cacti come in many different forms. Once you've taken a liking to your prickly friends, you often can't get enough of them. And you quickly start growing cacti without really having planned it. The easiest way to propagate is with offshoots, cuttings or children and a little patience. But be careful: protect your hands from the spikes!


Cacti can be propagated with seeds, cuttings or cuttings. The easiest form of propagation is with offshoots and cuttings. With both, the prickly friends can be cultivated excellently.

Tip: With many types of cacti, broken off parts can be replanted. To do this, follow the instructions below.


Propagation with cuttings

With this form of propagation, side shoots are separated from the mother plant and planted in a new pot. Hygiene is particularly important when propagating by cuttings, because cutting off the cuttings can cause cuts, in which bacteria like to nest. The best time to propagate with cuttings is between April and June.

Tip: Do not cut the cuttings from young shoots. The mother plant copes better with a cut on a one-year-old or older shoot.

head cuttings

Head cuttings can also be used for propagation. You get a head cutting when the cactus is shortened, i.e. the “head” is cut off. The further process of propagation is the same as with cuttings from side shoots.

leaf cuttings

Cacti are not exclusively round in shape. So-called leaf cacti develop fleshy leaves that you can use for propagation. They are always cut at the bottom of the sheet.


The Kindel is a cactus offshoot that grows naturally. Children look like the mother plants, but are much smaller, almost a mini version of the mother. They are carefully twisted off the mother plant. If children grow as a cushion, you can also stay with the mother plant.


Propagating cacti with offshoots is easy. A cutting is understood to mean young cacti growing alongside the mother plant. Propagation can therefore only take place when one or more of them are present. The right time has come when the young cactus plant has reached a size of five centimetres. However, this is only a rough guideline. With smaller cacti, however, it can be removed earlier. It is also removed earlier if there is little or no space in the pot. With large cacti plants or with a lot of unrooted substrate, you can also wait before removing them.

Tip: The "baby cactus" does not necessarily have to be separated from the mother plant. If young and old plants stay together, you should repot them into a larger container. You can also grow cacti in a space-saving way. And the different sizes also look very pretty in the pot.

Instructions for propagating with offshoots:

  • Carefully lift the cactus out of the pot
  • Remove the roots completely from the substrate (if necessary, carefully shower the roots)
  • Cut off the "baby cacti" with a sharp knife
  • pay attention to a smooth cut
  • Allow cuts to dry in a warm, dry place
  • Plant mother and daughter plants separately in fresh substrate
  • Planting depth: same depth as before removal
  • Stabilize young cacti with chopsticks if necessary
  • supply water from below

Tip: Once the offshoots have reached a certain size, they can often be separated from the mother plant without cutting.

cutting tool

When propagating with cuttings, you should always use a knife and not scissors. The knife must be clean, disinfected and sharp. It is best to cut off the cuttings with a scalpel. A hand saw or jigsaw may also be used for a pillar cactus.

You will also need:

  • candle
  • aluminum foil
  • matches

Tip: You can use spirit or alcohol to disinfect.

Preparation, editing and aftercare

Before you make the cut, the knife must be heated. To do this, light the candle and wrap the aluminum foil around the knife. The wrapped knives hold over the candle flame. When the aluminum foil begins to turn black, it is removed from the knife. Now you can cut off the offshoot.

Once the offshoot has been taken, place the knife and aluminum foil briefly on the cutting point of the mother cactus. Don't be alarmed if something hisses. This process seals the interface and ensures that the cactus does not bleed to death or bacteria can settle. From the point of view of the mother plant, the propagation is now complete.

start cutting

Don't start the cut on a narrow spot or on the lower part of the cactus. A place in the middle of the cactus that is nice and wide is best. For you the cut quickly and in one piece. So it becomes nice and smooth. Under no circumstances should you saw around the plants or squeeze the shoots. This leads to messy cuts that can lead to rot. If a cut fails, sharpen the knife immediately and make the cut again below the bruise.

Size of the small cacti:

  • the cuttings should be five to ten centimeters long
  • spherical varieties are greater in height than diameter
  • Leaf cuttings and children are separated from the mother plant in their original size


The cuttings taken are not planted immediately after cutting. To stop the (milk) juice flowing out, dab the interface with kitchen paper. Allow the cuttings to air dry upright for a few days. In order for them to root better, you can cut the cuttings to a point at the lower end.

Tip: It is best to place the cutting in a small clay pot for rooting.

Before the cutting is planted, the substrate must be sterilized because the young cactus is not yet as strong as the mother plant and must be protected from bacteria and rot. Potting soil or a special substrate for cacti is suitable as a substrate for the cuttings. Make sure the substrate is loose and permeable.

Tip: To keep the substrate bacteria-free, heat it in the oven or microwave. Before further use, the substrate must be cooled down again.

Once roots have formed, i.e. the first rooting has taken place, or the cut surfaces have dried well, the cutting can be placed in a clean pot. Place the pot on a saucer and fill in the substrate. Slightly moisten the substrate in the pot.

Now the cutting is added:

  • Place the cutting upright in the substrate
  • Planting depth: 1 centimeter
  • do not water in the first week
  • do not water
  • no blazing sun
  • bright and warm location ideal
  • Fresh air is tolerated
  • Always keep the substrate slightly moist
  • give water from below

Tip: So that the young cactus remains upright, you can stabilize it with sticks, for example with matches.

After four weeks, the young cacti should have rooted. You can check this as follows: Carefully pull out stabilizing rods. If the cactus remains standing, it is rooted. Now the watering can be slowly reduced. The little cactus can now leave the nursery and move to the mother plants.

protective measures

The spines of cacti should not be underestimated. They can pierce skin and cause pain and inflammation. Pure protection with gloves is not effective in many cases, since the spikes can also pierce through gloves. Coated tongs or several layers of aluminum foil protect against the spikes. You can also protect yourself from the spikes with styrofoam plates. Once all the cacti have multiplied, you should clean the work surface and the floor thoroughly so that you don't get a thorn in your head.

Tip: For larger cacti, be sure to protect your arms and legs from the spines as well

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