They Get Questions

What to do when a barrel cactus topples over? Let’s ask the Arizona Republic, shall we?

Q: We have a very tall barrel cactus (fishhook?) that is about 4 feet tall and 18 inches in diameter. It also has 3 large “bulbs” on the top, each of which is about 10 inches in diameter. Unfortunately, it recently toppled over, and it looks like the cause was old age . . . . Can we save some of the beautiful piece of flora?

– Paul Cechovic,
Cherry Hill, N.J.

A: Yes, you can save pieces of your barrel cactus. Those bulbs are stems that grow from the mother plant. They naturally fall from the plant, root themselves and start a new plant.

They are known as offsets or pups. Cut off the pups and let them air dry for a week in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. The cuts need to heal, or callus, before replanting.

Transplant into a pot containing a well-draining soil made for cactuses. You can mix your own by using equal parts potting soil, pumice and sand or decomposed granite. Water and allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.

Now you know.

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