Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to Prune a Cactus Plant

Saturday, March 31, 2012

As you all know, I have a sun room at the back of my house. Through the years, I have tended many houseplants, tossing some that had gotten to large for the area, or that failed to thrive (not many!).

And, as you can see in the picture that is posted, I happen to have an extremely tall columnar cactus. It has reached the heigth of over 8 feet and has two side branches that are 1-2 feet tall already.

Eight years ago, I took this same plant from my Mom's house after she passed away. She also had a large quantity of houseplants through the years, and as she grew older, did not bother to take care of them. This cactus plant was no more than 8 inches tall and all yellowed. I had purchased it over 20 years previously from the Home and Flower Show in Cleveland, Ohio as a present for her.

So, I took the plant home in June, transplanted it into a larger pot with new soil, placed it on my covered front porch and VOILA! the darn plant started to grow. By the end of the summer, it was about 4 feet tall and had the two side branches. So, I transplanted it again and brought it into the sunroom for the winter. Well, this plant has grown enormously in the last 8 years and we have had to prop it up with a large 2 x 4 so that it does not upend itself. It lists! Now I need to prune it back to about 3 or 4 feet tall.

I looked all over the internet for any info as to pruning it back, because I did not want to kill the plant. Over the Christmas Holiday Season last year, we took our older Grandchildren to the Cleveland Botanical Garden Greenhouses for their annual Gingerbread House display and happened to ask a volunteer if their was someone there who could help me with a cactus pruning dilema I was having. The volunteer graciously recommened Mr. Joe Mehalik, a volunteer in the desert plant section. So, I emailed him and got a quick response from him. Very impressive!

So, he told me to wait until May to do any cutting/repotting. Then cut the plant down to a manageable size with a knife, I am presuming. The top of the stump will sprout shoots and grow. Then I can replant the top, or sections of that I had cut off the main plant. Once you cut it into a desired length, let the cuttings end dry out for several days to a week and then you can replant it or them in a cactus mix. Keep them damp, but not too damp, dry, but not too dry, until they start to grow. He also suggested that I plant them all in one pot together, or put them in with the mother plant.

So, I hope I have helped someone else out there who might have the same problem. I hope to post pictures of new growth on the mother plant and also the newly planted sections.

No comments:

Post a Comment