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How to Propagate the Classic Prickly Pear Cactus

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This post will teach you all about propagating prickly pear cactus pads. It’s a beautiful and easy to propagate classic cactus that you’ll surely enjoy having in your home. This post also contains affiliate links. You can read more about that here. Thank you!

Propagating Prickly Pear Cactus Pads

Say the title of this post five times fast. Or don’t, either is cool with me. I know you’re just here to learn about propagating prickly pear cactus pads. 🙂 They are supposed to be a super fast-growing cactus, so I’m excited to see how this goes. I’ve propagated cactus pieces, but I’ve never propagated prickly pears. Luckily the steps are nearly identical.

I don’t exactly have cactus farms nearby in Maryland, so thank God for the Internet. I ordered four reasonably priced pads from the Texas Prickly Pears Etsy shop, settling on three large pads and one jumbo pad (I gave one to my dad).

By the way, I’m growing mine inside for now since it’s the middle of winter, so I’m going to share tips with that in mind. (See a full post about prickly pear cactus care!)

prickly pear cuttings ready for propagation

Propagating Prickly Pear Cactus Pads

1. To propagate prickly pear cactus pads from a cutting, first allow your pad’s cut end to dry and harden over a bit. It might turn a bit brown, too. This should take about 1 week. Unlike a lot of other plants, you don’t need to wait to roots to sprout. This will happen in the soil. (Although mint were kind of starting to sprout.)

Here’s about what it will look like as the end callouses over.

prickly pear cutting calloused over
prickly pear cutting calloused over

2. Since mine were freshly cut and in transit for about 4 days, I let them sit out on my dining room table for about 2ish days, then I planted each a few inches deep in soil.

As with all different sorts of cacti, prickly pear cactus requires well-draining soil. I’m trying out a new well-draining cactus soil I picked up at a local nursery, but I usually just use whatever I can grab at the hardware store’s garden section. All work fine.

propagating prickly pear cactus

3. I gave it a bit of a drink so I could pack in some of the soil around it to keep it standing while it roots. I’ll water roughly once a month. For the first few weeks, I’ll kept it in indirect sunlight but will plan to move near a sunny window after that. I’ll also take it outside for the summer.

4. After about a month, begin tugging gently at the plant to see how it’s rooting.

propagating prickly pear cactus
propagating prickly pear cactus

I’m hopeful it will begin rooting quickly and start growing beautifully. I’ll make sure to share an update in a few months with progress.

*Update! Transplanting Prickly Pear Cactus*

Hey gang, it’s roughly 3 to 4ish months after I first put my prickly pear cactus pads in soil to root. I had them rooting in this little planter on our dining room table for a few months. After about 2 months, this happened…

new growth on a prickly pear

Yes! That’s a little baby sprouting! How exciting. Now that I was positive these were all rooted, I put transplanted the prickly pear cactus pads to individual pots. Transplanting them was easy; just make sure you don’t disturb the roots too much, and add some fresh, well-draining cactus soil.

About two weeks ago, I also set them outside. It’s finally getting sunny and warm here, and they are drinking it up. Out of the three pads I’m working on (remember I gave one to my dad), two have major growth on them. One doesn’t have any but seems to be doing well otherwise. I’ll keep an eye on it.

Here are some pictures of the growth. I’m letter the rain water these and avoiding watering them while I am watering my other plants. That seems to be all they need for now. I’m going to be putting these in larger pots soon and probably we combining them…I am so pleased with how they are doing!

propagating prickly pear cactus
propagating prickly pear cactus
How to Propagate Prickly Pear Cactus Pads

If you’re busy propagating, make sure to check out my planter DIYs to help you decorate with plants, my tips on propagating golden pothos from cuttings, how to care for cape ivy, everything you need to know about propagating snake plants, the best plants to propagate, and my tips for caring for succulents indoors! 🙂

Share my tips for propagating prickly pear cactus pads on Pinterest!

How to Propagate Prickly Pear Cactus Pads
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cassie bustamante

Wednesday 20th of March 2019

this is so cool! and also a tongue twister... peter piper picked a peck of prickly pear pads to propagate.

Brittany Goldwyn

Thursday 21st of March 2019

Are they adorable? Apparently they are really common down south. Jamie from Southern Revivals said she'd send me some cuttings!!

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