Cacti are slow-growing succulent plants with well-developed vascular systems, or systems that transport food and water through the system. Thanks to this system, if a piece breaks off the cactus, there are several options to salvage it, whether it is grafting or planting the piece as a new specimen.
Broken pieces often have jagged edges and damaged tissues, so if you were to simply put the broken piece back onto the cactus and bind it in place, chances for success are low. If the wounded end on the broken piece and the stub were cut evenly with a sharp knife and you bind the broken piece into place on the stub, the chances of the cactus healing are much greater. This is because of the ease of grafting cactus plants and the very high probability of cacti of the same species grafting successfully. Alternately, you may graft the broken piece onto another cactus, preferably of the same species.
You can also plant broken pieces to create new cacti. It is best, however, to let the broken piece scab over for a few days in a warm, dry area with good circulation to prevent problems with fungal disease entering along the broken edge. Alternately, you may dip the broken edge in an anti-fungal sulfur solution. If the piece broke off because of disease or infection of the main plant, remove the diseased parts with a sharp, disinfected knife first, or the disease will claim the broken piece as well.
Grafting leaves scars. This isn't a big problem if you have a sectioned cactus and it was a whole section that broke off. For many cacti, however, a broken section grafted back into place looks wounded, even if the graft heals. It may be better to trim the stub back to a section further down or closer to the main section of the cactus, depending on the type of cactus, and then re-attach the broken piece. If you will plant the broken piece for a new cactus or simply dispose of it altogether, it helps to trim the cactus, if possible, to remove jagged edges or odd-looking stumps.
If the break is next to or on the base of the cactus, it is usually easier to simply allow the broken cactus piece to scab over and then re-plant it rather than try to get a graft to take. The wound is susceptible to fungal infection, especially if the soil is moist or comes into contact with the grafting joint.
- Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
How to Graft Cactus
Cactus are an evolutionary miracle - they have survived in an inhospitable world for thousands of years by adapting to their environment....
How to Glue Broken Porcelain Back Together
Breaks happen, but in some cases, you may be able to glue your broken porcelain back together. Porcelain that has broken into...
How to Root A Christmas Cactus House Plant
Christmas Cacti are notoriously difficult to root. This article might help you in rooting pieces for new plants or just rooting another...
How to Start a Christmas Cactus
Christmas cactus is aptly named because it blooms just in time for the holiday season, although older plants may keep an erratic...
How to Repair Cactus Root Rot
Cactus root rot is a fungal disease that often occurs when plants have root damage when planted, have been overwatered or grow...
How to Root a Broken Branch on a Christmas Cactus
The Christmas cactus gets its name because it blooms in the winter and is often available in stores and nurseries during the...
If a Cactus Breaks Off, How Do I Plant the Broken Piece?
If a cactus breaks off, don't throw the broken piece away. Put it into cactus soil and start a new plant. Cacti,...
How to Grow a Christmas Cactus From a Broken Piece
The Christmas cactus (Schumbergera bridgesii) is a member of the holiday cactus family. The bloom time of the plant is dependent on...
Can You Cut a Cactus?
All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti. Cactus plants --- native to the Americas --- store water inside the...
How to Fix a Broken Cactus
Fixing a broken cactus is a simple as taking the damaged piece of cactus and replanting it. It should regrow in a...