How to Plant a Rootless Cactus

Rootless cacti are tricky

Do you have cacti without roots or did you take cuttings? So you would like to know how you should plant and care for it from now on, right? So let me tell you you have a very delicate and vulnerable plantNot yet having a root system providing it with water and nutrients, it will draw on the reserves it has accumulated in its stem.

For everything to go well, it is extremely important to get it right. So that I will explain how to plant a rootless cactus, and how to maintain it.


How to plant cacti that have no roots?

Before talking about it, it is important to know why this cactus has no roots. And it is that a cutting from a healthy cactus is not the same as a plant that has been overwatered and pruned to try and save it. The steps to follow are a bit different:

Steps to plant a healthy cutting

cactus cuttings taken in spring, or at the latest in early/mid-summer, because they need heat to germinate. We must use a previously disinfected and clean knife, and gloves to protect our hands even if the plant in question is small.

After cutting it, we will have to follow these steps:

  1. We will leave it in a dry place away from direct sunlight for a week; this way the wound will heal.
  2. After this time, we will take a pot with sufficiently wide and high drainage holes so that the cutting can be planted well.
  3. Then we will fill it with a mixture of peat and perlite in equal parts, or with cactus substrate which you can buy here, up to about half.
  4. Finally, we will take the cutting, we will put it in the center of the pot, and we will finish filling it.

Now we leave it in a place protected from direct sunlight, but where there is plenty of light, and we water it.

Steps for planting a cutting from a diseased cactus

Cacti do not tolerate excess water in their roots, therefore, when planted in pots without holes, and/or kept in very compact soil, they quickly soften or even rot if action is not taken in time.

In cases where the plants have suffered a lot and are in really bad shape, it is often enough to cut to the essentials to save them. Corn, When do you know if you should take cuttings? They won’t be done unless they rot and look bad. This needs to be taken into account, as cacti can get limp when they get a little thirsty, but that doesn’t mean they’re sick. Another thing would be to see that he dies, that is, to the touch he is soft and his body loses its natural color.

Related article:

How to recover a soft cactus?

How to proceed? The first thing to do is to take a very sharp knife and wash it with soap and water; later we’ll use it to do just that: cut through the healthy part of the cactus. We’ll leave the rest, soft/rotten and bad-looking, in the jar until we throw it away.

As soon as we get the cut, we’ll follow these steps:

  1. The first thing is to apply a multi-purpose fungicide spray to protect it (like this one from Flower for example), as far as possible, from fungi.
  2. Then you need to let the wound dry. Therefore, we will put it in a dry place away from sun and rain for 7-10 days.
  3. After this time, we will moisten the base of the cutting with powdered rooting hormones (you can buy it here).
  4. Finally, we will plant it in a pot large enough for the cutting to adapt well, in an upright position. We will use cactus soil or a mixture of peat and perlite in equal parts.

Then we water it and leave it in a place where there is plenty of light but no direct sun.

How long do cactus cuttings take to root?

Rootless cacti are delicate plants

It all depends on the climate and the health of the rootless cactus itself, but if all goes well and the temperatures remain high (between 18 and 35ºC), they generally do not take more than two weeks. Nevertheless, and as we are going to see now, we must provide them with a series of special cares to guarantee success and move them forward.

And since they have no roots, they are very, very delicate plants.

How are rootless cacti cared for?

If there’s anything rootless cacti fear, it’s excess moisture in the soil. Therefore, planting them in pots with drainage holes and light soil is vital. But all this will be for nothing if we do not take care of it properly. So let’s see how to make them emit their roots as soon as possible:

  • Irrigation: We only water when the soil is dry. We will pour water until it comes out of the drainage holes, because it must be completely moistened. We do NOT water from above, that is, we will not wet the cutting, otherwise it will rot.
  • Humidity: must be high. If you live on an island or near the coast, you don’t have to do anything, but if you don’t, you’ll have to place water containers around it.
  • Fungicide: if the cutting comes from a diseased cactus, we will continue to apply a fungicide once a week.
  • Location: Until you see them grow, leave them where they are, out of direct sunlight but in an area with plenty of natural light.
  • Transplant– You will be able to plant it in a larger pot when you see roots coming out of the pot’s drainage holes.

We hope it has been useful to you.

1 thought on “How to Plant a Rootless Cactus”

  1. Yes, I ordered a large spiral, 16 inches high. It came rootless. First time I had to deal with rootless. I potted it two weeks ago. Watered it at first now it is dry It is on my covered patio. I am wondering when to water it. It is dry so I guess I will water it. I am in Florida so I don’t want to plant it in the ground until mid October, when rainy season hopefully ends. Hopefully I will be doing it right. I hope it roots soon. When could I put it in direct sunlight, or should I continue to leave it in shade of my patio? Thanks


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