How to grow Cactus from cuttings – propagating cactus – roots and planting

Propagating cacti is very easy.  First gather the cactus cuttings from the parent plants.    Make sure your knife is clean and sharp before cutting your cactus.  For paddle cacti a single pad makes a good cutting.

propagating cactus paddles grow cactus
items needed to cut and grow cactus

For branching cacti, be sure the cutting is taken from a joint on the mother plant. Cutting on a diagonal angle is beneficial to the mother cactus so water doesn’t pool on the healed cut.  Never handle a cactus with your hands.

grow your own cactus plants prickly pear
air drying your cactus cuttings

To grow a successful cactus you MUST let the fresh cutting callus over and heal.  Place them in a dry, warm place for up to 2 weeks.  The larger the cut surface is, the longer it needs to dry.  This may sound extreme but remember cactus are drought tolerant.  If you choose to use a rooting hormone make sure it is powder!  Do not let your cactus cuttings get moist or wet.

grow cacti and cactus plants
waiting for cacti cuttings to form a callus

It is easiest for your cactus cuttings to root during warm weather.  According to the University of Arizona, the best time to propagate your cacti is during August & September when the soil temperatures are warm and conducive to rooting.  Some shade is best for rooting and will prevent your cactus cuttings from sunburn.

grow cactus plants from cut
cactus plants form a callus over the cut

Pick a good container with drainage holes for your callused cactus cutting.

pipe cactus plants with roots
organ pipe cacti cuttings have healed and started roots

When planting your cactus use a well drained soil mixture designed specifically for cacti. Plant the cutting about 2 inches deep and pack the soil around the cactus.  I also use small rocks to help keep the cuttings from falling over.  Wait about 2 weeks to water; then soak the cactus well and let it dry out another 2 weeks.   The biggest problem for growing cactus is over-watering.   Too much water causes the roots to rot.

grow cactus plant from cut
Prickly Pear cactus plant from cutting

The photo above is a prickly pear cutting that I planted in well draining soil in southern Arizona.  I’m starting a cacti garden on a rocky hill using different species of cactus cuttings.

Cactus are dormant during winter.  Do not water a cactus during cold weather unless it looks shriveled.

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New baby Javelinas – pig like desert animals

Javelinas have no defined breeding season; therefore you can enjoy newborns all year!  Collared Peccary, Javelinas, most often give birth to twins.  These adorable babies called reds, because of their color, are able to travel with the peccary herd just a few hours after birth.  Newborn javelinas are precocial – able to move freely from birth.

newborn javelina
newborn javelina, collared peccary

Adult grown javelinas do not have many predators other than a mountain lion, but the babies may become prey to hawks, coyotes, and bobcats.

reds, newborn pig like javelina
desert javelina in Arizona
arizona wild pigs - collard peccary
adult javelina with her two babies

Unlike other animals, the javelina does not lick the offspring at birth, but rolls or tumbles it in the dirt.  Newborns weigh in at only one pound.  A baby javelina must be pretty tough to be born and then rolled in the dirt!

collard peccary with pig like babies
desert javelina give birth to twins
baby desert wild pig javelinas
newborn javelinas animals
young javelina reds
baby javelina – desert pig like animals

Javelinas nurse their babies for six to eight weeks.

javelina nursing her young
javelina nursing her young

It will take about 3 months for the reds, baby javelinas, to gain the salt and pepper look of adult collared peccaries.  The young javelina reach adult height in 10 months and both sexes are mature.

For more information and javelina facts:    http://tjsgarden.com/2012/11/17/arizona-javelina-pig-like-collard-peccary/

Because Javelinas breed throughout the year, have early maturity, and the ability to have two litters per year… collared peccary are considered as having the greatest reproductive potential of any North American big game mammal.

 

Arizona Javelina, collard peccary – are pig like desert dwellers

What looks like a gray wild boar in AZ and TX?  Javelina – hairy, smelly and oh so adorable!  

Javelina look like wild pigs but they are actually in the genus Pecari and members of the Tayassuidae family.  One way to tell the difference between pigs and peccaries is by the shape of the canine tooth, or tusk.  In pigs, the tusk is long and curves.  In javelinas the tusk is straight.  Collared peccaries have large tusks that sharpen when the mouth opens and closes with which they can slash a predator or unsuspecting human.

Javelinas originated from South America but are common in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.   In the United States javelina are found mainly in the southwest.

Javelina with raised hair
Javelina with raised hair

The photo above is a javelina in our Arizona driveway who was not happy with me taking his picture.  See the hairs standing up on his back!

These pig like mammals are grayish, black with a faint white band of coarse hair around the shoulders.  The “collar”.   Collared Peccary are compact and weigh up to 60 pounds with dainty three-toed hooves. 

javelina with baby
javelina with baby called a red.

The word Javelina,  comes from the Spanish word javelin which means spear, referring to their long, pointed canine teeth.  Javelina moms are very protective of their young and will charge if they feel any threat.  When anyone in our area sees a herd of collard peccary with young we turn around and go the other way to keep out of danger!  Javelina can run up to 25 miles per hour.

Baby javelina are born year round but most often from November to March.  The newborn javelinas are reddish-brown and so cute!!  Newborns are called reds.  The average life span of the javelina is 7 1/2 years.

arizona wild pig eats cactus
Collared Peccary, Javelina in the southwest

Their diet consists mainly of prickly pear cactus.  Javelina kidneys are very efficient and filter out oxalic acid found in the cactus.  Collard peccary are omnivores that eat mesquite beans, tubers, seeds, insects and garbage.

Arizona Javelina
Arizona Javelina collared peccary

These omnivores have poor eyesight but a keen sense of smell. The javelinas around our desert neighborhood know exactly when the trash cans will be placed out for pickup!

collard peccary
Javelina look like wild pigs

Collard peccaries are expert desert-dwellers.  They like to forage in social groups during the early morning and evening, then sleep in the shade of mesquite trees during the hottest time of the day.  Javelinas will roll around in water and mud to keep cool.

To enjoy more newborn javelinas – http://tjsgarden.com/2013/01/01/newborn-baby-javelinas-arizona/

baby desert wild pig
baby javelina – collared peccary

Often you may smell a javelina before you see it!  They have a musk gland at the base of their rump that they use to mark trees, rocks and even each other with a sharp scent similar to a skunk.  This scent allows individual javelinas to keep in contact with the herd.

herd of javelina
herd of javelina

Javelina herds rely on each other to defend territory and protect against predators.

Natural predators of javelina are dogs, coyotes and mountain lions.  Arizona game hunters also target javelina.  Personally,  I enjoy their funny demeanor and I like to let them do their piggy thing in peace. 🙂