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Propagating Prickly Pear Cactus

By Robert Cox, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Horticulture

To start new prickly pear cactus plants from an existing one, cut off a few individual pads of the prickly pear with a long, sharp knife. Cut at the pad joint. Let each section or pad sit so that the cut section dries a little, perhaps for a day or two. Then place each pad cut side down in sandy potting soil. It's helpful to use tongs or several newspaper sheets folded to handle and move prickly pear pads. Water to wet potting mix, but avoid the temptation to water frequently or heavily. Each pad section should develop roots within several weeks to two months. After rooting, you can transplant to a sunny and dry, well-drained location or to individual pots of sandy, well-drained soil.

Photo: Judy Sedbrook

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010