How Does a Cactus Reproduce?

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Discover the process by which cacti multiply and the methods by which gardeners can propagate a cactus from cuttings in order to obtain additional free plants.  

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Are you ever curious about the process by which cacti reproduce? All right, perhaps not. However, cacti, like many other succulents, procreate through the use of either cuttings or seeds.  

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You wouldn't believe it, but cacti aren't just found in dry, desert parts of the U.S.  You can find them growing in most states. I took this picture in upstate New York.  

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In the wild, cacti often make new plants when parts or pads of the parent plant fall off and land on the ground. The round pad on top was from a Purple Prickly Pear (Opuntia bigelovii).  

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When an animal brushes against a cactus, a piece of the cactus falls off and sticks to the animal's fur. It eventually falls off, a long way from the parent plant.  

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Like this piece of Teddy Bear Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii), cactus pieces can go months without water until it rains enough for them to grow roots in the ground.  

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Often, groups of younger cacti have grown around the parent cactus after the pieces fell off and took root, like the Teddy Bear Cholla shown above.   

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To many people who have reached out to touch one, they look fluffy and soft, like a teddy bear. But looks can be very deceiving.  

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also see

Small Trees That Attract Birds for Food, Shelter and Nesting  

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