How to Propagate a Pencil Cactus Plant

Save

The pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli) isn't a true cactus, but a sun-loving, spineless succulent plant native to tropical areas of India and Africa. Pencil cactus plant is named for the thin, somewhat brittle, pencil-like stems. Once established, pencil cactus thrives with little water and tolerates extended periods of neglect, but doesn't survive cold temperatures. Also known as milk plant, pencil cactus isn't difficult to propagate by taking cuttings in spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Small planting container with drainage hole
  • Potting soil for cactus and succulents
  • Fine gravel
  • Razor blade
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Powdered rooting hormone
  • Distilled water
  • Large pot with drainage hole
  • Fill a small planting container with a commercial potting soil for cactus and succulents. If you choose to make your own potting soil, use crushed rock, sand, pumice or perlite mixed with a very small amount of compost. Improve drainage by placing a thin layer of fine gravel on top of the potting soil. Use a planting container with bottom drainage, as succulents quickly rot in soggy, poorly drained soil.

  • Wipe a razor blade with rubbing alcohol, then use the blade to cut a 4- to 5-inch length from a healthy, vigorous stem. Remove the leaves from the lower part of the stem, leaving 2 to 4 inches of bare stem.

  • Dip the bottom inch of the bare stem in powdered rooting hormone, then set the stem aside to dry for in a warm spot for about a week. The stem forms a callus that prevents rotting.

  • Plant the callused pencil cactus stem in the prepared potting mixture. Water the soil well, then place the container in a warm, bright spot. Keep the soil lightly moist while the stem is rooting. Use distilled water if your tap water is chlorinated, as chlorine may burn the roots. Always allow the soil to drain completely after watering, and never allow the pot to stand in water.

  • Transplant the pencil plant cutting into a larger pot after the cutting roots, which usually requires several weeks. Water the new pencil plant immediately after repotting. After that time, water only when the soil feels dry. Keep the pencil plant in a warm, sunny spot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear gloves when handling pencil cactus, as the stems contains a sap that can be irritating to the skin. Wash your hands after handling the plant, even if you wear gloves. Washing your hands ensures that no sap is transmitted to your eyes, or to another person.

Related Searches

References

Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

  • Pencil Facts

    Pencils may be one of the most ignored but useful items in our lives. Every day, we write with them, chew on...

  • How to Repot a cactus

    Cacti are hardy, slow-growing plants that thrive in arid conditions and can shake off owner neglect for weeks on end. But there...

  • How to Propagate a Christmas Cactus

    Christmas cactus can usually be found in full bloom in the store just in time for the Christmas season. However, a Christmas...

  • How to Propagate Cactus

    Propagation is an easy and inexpensive way to increase your collection of cactus and other succulents. There are a number of methods...

  • How to Care for Good Luck Cacti

    The good luck cactus is an emerald and ruby-toned cactus with delicate petals. Its formal name is Euphorbia trigona. Like most cactus,...

  • How to Cut Cactus for Propagation

    Learn how to cut cacti for propagation with tips from an expert in this free gardening clip.

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make a Vertical Clay Pot Garden

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!