pencil cactus

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by Strato, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. Strato

    Strato New Member

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    Grand Terrace, Ca.
    Hello, I have a 6 or 7 foot pencil cactus grown from a small cutting I received about eight years ago. My questions are, I want to move the plant from it's current 20" x 20"x 20" container to the ground. Would it slow down growth when I put it in the ground to leave it in it's container, or move to a larger container?
    The cactus has four main trunks or branches. I would like to remove two, to improve the appearance. Shall I remove one at a time to not shock the plant as much? Also , can I replant the two trunks after cutting them off? What's the best way to do this. Thanks for your advise.

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Ok, first thing is be careful. Toxic and irritating sap that can cause blindness!

    Next, have a read here, though this is primarily about propagating from cuttings: How to Root a Euphorbia Tirucalli (this is your fallback position)

    Secondly, here are the suggestions on repotting: How to Transplant a Pencil Cactus

    If you are moving from pot to ground, you will not want to change the soil medium (i.e., plant it into existing soil / re-use what you dug out for the hole)

    For pruning it, I think you can do that anytime without adverse effects -- just note the cautions about handling the sap of the plant (goggles, etc.)
    Will B likes this.
  3. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    North Saanich
    Definitely pay attention to Daniel's info, nasty sap is nothing to joke about. I can speak from experience with other saps ;-)

    With regard to your specific questions, it all depends. Most plants prefer in-ground planting, but not all. I find cacti and succulents as a rule prefer to be in smaller pots than you would normally think, so if keeping in a container keep it smaller than your gut tells you ;-) My opinion is that separating then growing in different areas is generally safer and better than keeping a plant in a single container, so I would suggest removing two and planting in another container is a positive step (all other things being equal). As for replanting: yes, definitely -- after you let them air dry for at least a day or two so any wounds have time to dry and callous.

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