Trichocereus cacti are beautiful, drought and cold tolerant, highly ornamental (flowers and form), medicinal and excellent grafting stocks for the propagation of other slower growing/rare/mutant members of the Cactaceae family.
- Propagation of these cacti is by both seed and vegetative means. Taking cuttings of these cacti is relatively straight forward and only requires a bit of skill and patience, plus a dry shaded area for your cacti to heal its wounds.
- Get yourself a nice sharp kitchen knife (without serrations, unless you have a very large diameter cactus as serrations will help with the hard woody core). It is a good idea to dip the knife in methylated spirits before and after each cactus to avoid disease transfer. Select a nice healthy tip or side shoot and slice through horizontally, you can grasp the cutting with tongs or gloves and a towel if spines are particularly long.
- Slice up into desired lengths (Trichocereus spp. can be as small as 5cm and form new plants). Mark the top of the cutting with a garden pen to show the top as this saves time when potting up (it can be hard to work out top from bottom with some clones).
- At this stage you can dust the cut ends with powdered sulphur to protect from disease if you like. Some growers also use charcoal. Leave the cutting to form a callus on the cut end, this will take between 1-3 weeks depending on your climate and prevailing weather conditions.
Now for planting. Using an appropriate sized pot, put the cutting in and place approximately 1/3 of the length under the potting mix. You want the cutting to be well supported so it won’t fall over, but also have enough length above ground to form more shoots and reduce risk of rotting. A mixture of potting mix:sand:perlite is well drained and highly suitable for Trichocereus spp.
Place in a semi shaded position and water irregularly until you see new growth, at which stage they can be moved to a full sun position and treated like normal.