Sometimes, you need to cut your cactus to assist the plant to grow healthily. The indicators that suggest that your cactus requires trimming are overgrown leaves and stems, mealybug infestation, decaying, dead stalks after flowering, and excess height.
Cacti plants are noted for their diverse forms, sizes, and colors. While most of them are green, some are white and others purple. One of the nicest things about these plants is that they do not require a lot of maintenance to grow. But what happens when you find your cactus has outgrown and isn’t looking its best? Well, you cut it down and regulate its size.
So, when do you need to cut back/prune your cactus plants? Generally speaking, most cactus plants need little to no trimming since they grow slowly and will take many years before they get enormous. However, overgrown plants might benefit from a little trimming to get rid of old stems.
Typically, you should consider trimming your cactus when it is congested, suffering from top-bottom rotting, displaying indications of insect infestation, and after flowering. Before you start trimming your plant, you must have a clear aim in mind. What do you intend to accomplish with the pruning?
If you are still unclear about whether you should trim your plant or not, read on to find out all you need to know. We explain the fundamentals of cactus trimming and how you should handle it correctly.
Can You Cut Back A Cactus Plant?
The basic response is “yes.” In order to keep your cactus plant from becoming overcrowded, you will eventually have to cut it back. In certain situations, trimming may also help rescue your plant from death (in the case of top-bottom rotting and insect infestation).
However, you need to bear in mind that most cactus species actually don’t require any type of pruning and shaping until they have produced a large limb that seems to tip your plant over. The only time that most gardeners are obliged to cut down their cactus plants is when they are removing sections to root for new growth.
A well-done cactus trimming may improve the overall look of your plant while also reducing the likelihood of insect infestation and disease transmission. Overcrowding may also result in mildew and sickly plants.
Columnar cacti plants such as organ pipe cactus and totem pole cacti may become spindly or tall and need frequent trimming to induce larger stems or lateral branching.
The Opuntia features flat pads that function as the leaves. In such a circumstance, you may take some pads and utilize them to start new plants. This is still a sort of pruning/ trimming back.
The other plants in the family of cactus such as the Christmas cactus generate flower stalks while flowering. These flower stalks become unpleasant when dead, and the only means of getting rid of them is by cutting your plant.
Although trimming serves many reasons, the most crucial component of it is that you can always utilize the sections you cut back to create new plants.
5 Signs That You Need To Cut Back Your Cactus
Now that you understand some of the reasons why cactus trimming is vital, you need to know when to perform it. In this part, we cover the top five symptoms that you need to trim your plant.
1. The plant has gotten too huge
Although most cactus species grow slowly and seldom reach destructive heights, there are a few outliers. The jungle cactus family has members that grow quickly and may become out of control if the correct circumstances aren’t present.
As a consequence, you may wish to limit your plant size when you realize that it is getting too enormous or one side is growing considerably quicker than the other, and you want it to be asymmetrical.
Typically, if you are pruning to lower the size of the plant, consider cutting back the plant by at least a third each year. Regular trimming will ultimately result in a little bushier shrub with more areas for blossoms to grow.
Because you can put little plants almost anyplace in your home, having them around makes life a little bit simpler. You can place them on your window sills without overwhelming the limited internal area.
2. Pest infestation
While most cactus species have strong spines that prevent pests, several kinds of bugs may nevertheless find a way to your plant. Some of the typical pests that may attack your cactus are cactus bugs, mealy bugs, spider mites, cactus longhorn beetles, and scale insects.
Some of these insects reproduce fast, and if you don’t take action to stop them early, the consequence may be devastating. Most of them target the stems, but some may make their way to the roots.
If you see evidence of a pest infestation on your cactus, you must act immediately to prevent more damage. If the bugs are enormous, you may just remove them by hand. You may need to hire a pest exterminator if the pests are little, such as spider mites.
The bad news is that certain cactus pests are so robust and chemical-resistant that even the most professional pest exterminator won’t stop them. If you have tried utilizing an exterminator to get rid of pests, but don’t notice results, trimming the damaged section is the only remedy.
Identify the section of the stem affected by the bugs and gently cut it back. Make sure you trim all the afflicted areas of the stem to prevent re-infestation.
3. Top-bottom rotting
Rotting is a regular cactus problem that you have to deal with immediately to preserve your succulence. Rotting may start at the bottom (roots) and progress upwards to the stem. It might also start at the top and spread down.
When your cactus begins to get dark and squishy at the tip, you might be gazing at tip rot, also known as cactus stem rot. If the top of your cactus begins to rot, it will not stop, and if you don’t intervene quickly, it will perish.
Stem rot is caused by a fungus and insect infestation, or water infiltrating via an open lesion on the plant. Stem rot may occur if your cactus is injured in any manner.
Once you start recognizing indications of stem rot on your plant, the most crucial thing you need to do is prune/ cut down all the afflicted areas of the stem to preserve the remainder of the plant. Rot can ultimately destroy your plant if you don’t remove the infected sections.
Keep in mind that rot spreads quite rapidly and you may not have a lot of time left to salvage the cactus. You may use pruning shears or a sharp knife to trim the afflicted areas of the stem.
4. After the flowering season, the dead stalks begin to emerge.
The development of dead flower stems shortly after the flowering season is another indicator you need to trim your cactus. Christmas cactus, with their profusion of blossoms, are an exception to this rule.
Prevent the loss of beautiful blossoms by not pruning before the season of blooming. However, after the flowering season is done, you may find that the flower stalks left behind are unattractive. To give your cactus a fresh new appearance, take your time and delicately cut it.
Pruning your cactus after the blooming season will not only remove the dead stalks, but it will also make the plant bushier, resulting in more blooms the following time the plant blossoms. Make careful to cut any and all diseased or dead branches.
5. Cactus is becoming too large for its container
Finally, if your cactus grows too tall for its container, you may want to prune it. Repotting your cactus every two or three years is ideal, but this isn’t always the case with homegrown plants.
In order to prevent it from falling over, you should prune your plant if you see it is growing too tall for its container. In most circumstances, plants cultivated in light plastic containers tend to grow taller and thin. Reducing the plant to a proper height allows it to develop thicker and healthier.
How to Protect Yourself While Pruning Your Cactus
Pruning a cactus should be done with caution and safety in mind. Take precautionary measures like covering up with a long-sleeved shirt and long-bottomed trousers, sturdy shoes, and leather gloves. For the same reason, wearing safety eyeglasses is recommended while trimming a prickly pear, since the glochids might get dislodged and fly into your eye.
Make sure your gloves are waterproof to protect you from the milky sap, which could cause serious discomfort and irritation if it comes in touch with your skin. You may also require a water-based marker to assist you to indicate the specific areas of the stem you need to trim.
When do you need to cut back/prune your cactus plants? Most cacti plants need little to no trimming since they grow slowly. Overgrown plants might benefit from a little trimming to get rid of old stems. A well-done cactus trimming may improve the overall look of your plant. What do you intend to accomplish with the pruning?
5 signs that you need to cut back your cactus. The jungle cactus family has members that grow quickly and may become out of control. Regular trimming will eventually result in a bushier shrub with more areas for blossoms to grow. Typically, if you are pruning to lower the size of the plant, consider cutting back the plant by at least a third each year. When your cactus begins to get dark and squishy at the tip, you might be gazing at tip rot.
Rot is caused by a fungus and insect infestation, or water infiltrating via an open lesion on the plant. The most crucial thing you need to do is prune/cut down all the afflicted areas of the stem. You may use pruning shears or a sharp knife to trim the affected areas. You may use pruning shears or a sharp knife to trim the afflicted areas of the stem. If your cactus is becoming too tall for its container, you may want to prune it.
Pruning a cactus should be done with caution and safety in mind. Make sure your gloves are waterproof to protect you from the milky sap. Make careful to cut any and all diseased or dead branches. You may also require a water-based marker to assist you to indicate the specific areas of the stem you need to trim.