Cacti have brittle joints and fleshy stems, which makes them susceptible to breaks and dents. These dents and breaking can also cause rot.
However, a piece of your cactus breaking off won’t kill your plant immediately, but they do affect the aesthetic side of having a cactus plant in your living space in the USA.
If you love your prickly cactus plant, you must learn what to do if your cactus breaks.
First, try understanding the extent of the damage. It will help determine whether you can reattach, graft, or replant the broken part into a different pot.
The good news is that you can fix a broken plant by putting the broken parts together. However, grafting is a good option if the broken parts are too far off.
Here are a few simple steps to fix a broken cactus.
Before moving forward with the fixing process, you must realize that the broken stem or joint cannot just return to its original position.
A crack around the broken area will always prevent the plant from rejoining properly despite your efforts.
Moreover, if you have two symmetrical halves, it is better to leave them alone, or you will create more problems.
Use a soft brush to remove any dirt and debris around the break. Use warm water and mild detergent to clean the wound from the inside out.
Removing all the traces of dirt or bacteria is necessary because they can increase and cause more rot and infection.
Chances are you will find dead tissue around the wound – this will keep the wound from closing properly. Use a pair of sterilized scissors or tweezers to remove those tissues very carefully.
The stem may be spiny on the underside, and it is very tempting to smooth out the surface. Don’t rub in circles or apply extra pressure because this will only worsen things.
Instead, cover the area with green leaf gel that enhances healing, getting rid of the scars, which will help the cactus heal better.
When reattaching the broken parts, pay special attention to the cambium. Make sure it is perfectly aligned. For those who aren’t aware, the cambium is a layer of living tissue right under the bark.
Usually, a cactus plant uses the cambium to produce new stems. Therefore, you must take a piece from a healthy plant and use it to replace the broken plant.
The primary concern people have after fixing a broken cactus involves preventing infections because the new root does not have any natural protection against pathogens.
Make sure not to place your cactus near windows and doors, as it might come into contact with dust, pests, or bacteria.
Also, use a dehumidifier near the repaired cactus as they are more susceptible to fungal infections and pest infestations.
So far, we’ve only talked about a small piece of the cactus breaking off. But what happens if your cactus breaks in half? Luckily, you can save a dying, broken cactus even if you have one-half of the stem left.
The plant will grow fresh stems, which you can detach once sufficiently big. Just stay patient, as the process may take a few years.
Grafting is another useful approach to dealing with a broken cactus. With grafting, you can transfer broken pieces of stems and roots to the damaged area. The stems and the roots should come from a healthy plant.
After filling in the roots and the stem pieces, leave the plant undisturbed for a year. Then move it to a different pot where it grows freely.
Once the plant has healed, it will mostly look as if nothing ever happened. You can repeat the process as many times as you like.
If you cannot put the broken piece into another plant, you always have the option to propagate it. Take your detached piece and remove any unwanted parts from it.
Place the stem in a glass filled with water, and place the glass in direct sunlight. When you see leaves appearing, plant the piece into a fresh potting mix and place it in direct sunlight.
Keep an eye on any signs of rot or pest infestations as they affect the health of other houseplants.
- Consider potting your cactus in a strong ceramic pot to keep it safe from things that could break it.
- Don’t transplant the plant too often, and don’t move it into a smaller container. With a small container, the plant will always search for sunlight, which will affect its shape, causing the plant to break as it bends and twists to try and get more sun.
- The pot should be bigger than the plant so the plant can grow straight.
- Use spotted plastic or fine wire mesh to separate the cactus branches in your pot. As a result, they won’t rub against one another and break.
- Keep the cactus out of the reach of children and animals. Children and animals can damage the cactus plant and also get hurt themselves.
- Don’t overwater the cactus, as this can lead to root rot and fungal infections.
- Pay attention to wilting leaves – as this is a sign of root rot. Eliminate the problem before further infection occurs.
Whether you choose to attach broken pieces of cactus or you choose to propagate them independently, make sure they are adequately disinfected. Diluted mixtures of isopropyl alcohol or neem oil work wonder when treating infections and pest attacks.
Moreover, it is worth noting that damaged cacti are susceptible to root rot and pests. Until they are treated properly, ensure they are quarantined so the disease doesn’t spread to other plants.
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.