Cactus Cuttings

Carolyn M Wetzel cmwetzel at
Tue Nov 8 11:27:59 EST 1994

In article <1994Nov8.094145.1 at mvax2> vpjhha at mvax2 (Jerry H. Haas, Dept. Plant Pathology, Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center, IL-50250 Bet-Dagan, I writes:
>In article <1994Oct31.075024.5742 at tower>, jwg at (MAD, MAD, MAD SCIENTIST) writes:
>> In article <38rl84$hrj at>, dunn at (Ian M Dunn ) writes:
>>> Hey, does anyone know how to make a cactus cutting grow?  In other words, if
>>> you cut off a piece of cactus, stick it in dirt, how do you get it to root?
>>> Please post if you have any info!
>> Cactus cuttings grow very easy.  First let the cut surface
>> heal over by letting the plant sit for a week or two before
>> planting- otherwise it will probably rot.  Second, plant in
>> soil that is only damp.  It is best to use soil with very coarse
>> sand in it, but avoid at all cost fine sand ( it is poison to
>> the plant).  If you can use soil from the location where the cutting
>> was taken that is the best.  Finally don't overwater the plant.
>> Jay
>	Jay wrote an excellent reply, but what interpretation would a layman
>make of his final sentence about watering? We have no problem defining it
>scientifically, but I have terrible problems with layman. Any suggestions?

I heard a story once about a person who contacted a university botanist
about his trouble growing cacti on his windowsill in the Midwest.  
The botanist tried to explain that water requirements for cacti were different 
than those for, say, an African Violet.  She pointed out to the person that 
cacti grow naturally very well in arid environments like the US Southwest, 
where they get infrequent rain.  The person said he thought he understood, and
would give it a try.  A year or so later, he wrote to the botanist to report 
that his cacti were now quite happy on his windowsill.  He watched the national
news each night, and when the weatherperson reported rain in Arizona he
watered his cacti!
(BTW, this is not my original story; I heard it from someone else)

Ciao,  Carolyn

Carolyn M. Wetzel			cmwetzel at
Postdoctoral Research Associate		Tel. 515/294-7784
Department of Botany			Bessey Hall
Iowa State University			Ames, Iowa  50011-1020

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