The Q&A Archives: Removal of Cactus Pups

Question: I have a giant Golden Barrel cactus in my yard. It has several pups. Some very big also. What is the safest way to remove them for transplanting without hurting either the mother plant or the pups?


Lucky you with Golden Barrel Pups! It's best to take cuttings in fall (September, October) or spring (March, April, May). Use a knife with a wide blade to gently pry new, small barrels off established golden barrel cacti. Lay cuttings in the shade to allow the open wound to dry and callus. (Don't put in sun or the plant tissue will burn.) The larger the cutting, the longer it takes to dry. To test, push your fingernail gently into the cut area. If hard, it's ready for planting. If soft, it needs to callus further. Plant in extremely well-drained soil. Be careful not to overwater, which will rot the young new roots. Moisten the soil and then let it dry out between waterings. It may take about 6 months for roots to establish. Good luck!

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