How to Propagate Pencil Cactus (Firestick Plant)

The firestick cactus, also known as pencil cactus or dyckia, is a beautiful succulent that produces small bulbs that look like miniature balls of fire when they burst open. Propagation of this plant is a great way to expand your collection!

The pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli) is a succulent native to Africa and parts of India. The plant gets its name from its long, thin, pencil-like stems. Pencil cactus is easy to grow and care for, making it a popular plant for indoor and outdoor gardens. If you’re looking to add a pencil cactus to your collection, propagation is a great way to do it. Fortunately, we are here to guide you through the process of propagating your very own pencil cactus.

So, how do you propagate pencil cactus? Pencil cactus can be propagated either through stem cuttings or seed germination. Stem cuttings are the most common propagation method, as they are easy to do and have a high success rate. To take a stem cutting, use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to cut a 2-3″ section from the end of a healthy stem. Remove any leaves from the cutting, then allow it to callus over for a few days before potting it in well-draining cactus soil. Water the cutting lightly and place it in a bright, sunny spot. Keep an eye on the cutting and water it when the soil begins to dry. In 4-6 weeks, you should see new growth appearing at the base of the cutting. If you’re more ambitious, you can propagate pencil cactus from seed.

This blog post discusses everything you need to know about propagating a pencil cactus. Read on to learn more.

Why Is Pencil Cactus Propagation Important?

Before we dive into the details of how to propagate pencil cactus, let’s talk about why propagation is essential.

The pencil cactus is a slow-growing plant that can take years to reach its full size. Propagation allows you to create new plants without waiting for the parent plant to produce offsets (or baby plants).

A floweing pencil cactus.
The pencil cactus is a slow-growing plant that can take years to reach its full size.

Not only does propagation save you time, but it’s also a great way to preserve the health of your existing plants. You’re not damaging the parent plant when you take cuttings from a pencil cactus. Many gardeners find that their plants benefit from removing some of their stems.

Different Ways to Propagate a Pencil Cactus

Now that you know a little about why propagation is essential, let’s talk about the different ways you can propagate pencil cactus.

As mentioned earlier, stem cuttings and seed germination are the two most common propagation methods. We’ll discuss both of these methods in more detail below.

Propagating Pencil Cactus from Stem Cuttings

Propagating pencil cactus from stem cuttings is the most common method of propagation. It’s also the most straightforward method, as there is no need to worry about germinating seeds.

To take a stem cutting, use a sharp knife or pair of scissors to cut a 2-3” section from the end of a healthy stem. Remove any leaves from the cutting, then allow it to callus over for a few days before potting it in well-draining cactus soil.

Water the cutting lightly and place it in a bright, sunny spot. Keep an eye on the cutting and water it when the soil begins to dry. In 4-6 weeks, you should see new growth appearing at the base of the cutting.

The stem cutting you obtain can be rooted in water or soil. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, which we will discuss below.

Rooting Pencil Cactus Stem Cuttings in Water

Rooting pencil cactus stem cuttings in water is a popular method among gardeners, as it is effortless. The main advantage of this method is that it allows you to see when the roots are growing, as they will be visible in the water.

The main disadvantage of this method is that it can be tricky to transition the rooted cutting into the soil. This is because the roots that develop in water are very delicate and can easily be damaged.

If you decide to root your stem cutting in water, we recommend using a clear glass or jar. This will allow you to keep an eye on the roots and ensure they are healthy.

To root your stem cutting in water, fill your glass or jar with room-temperature water and place the cutting inside. Make sure that the bottom inch or so of the stem is submerged.

Place the glass or jar in a bright, sunny spot and check on it every few days to ensure the water level hasn’t dropped too low. When it does, add more water to keep the stem submerged.

It can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks for roots to develop. Once they do, you can transplant the cutting into the soil.

Rooting Pencil Cactus Stem Cuttings in Soil

Rooting pencil cactus stem cuttings in the soil is a bit more complex than rooting them in water, but it’s doable.

The main advantage of this method is that there is no need to transition the cutting into soil, as it will already be rooted in soil when you take it.

However, the main disadvantage of rooting your pencil cactus cutting in the soil is that it can be difficult to tell when the roots are growing, as they will be hidden beneath the ground.

A person hoolding a pencil cactus in a pot.
The main advantage of this method is that there is no need to transition the cutting into soil.

We recommend using a pot at least 6″ wide with drainage holes if you decide to root your stem cutting in soil. This will give the roots plenty of room to grow.

Fill the pot with well-draining cactus soil, then make a small hole in the center of the soil. Place the stem cutting in the hole, so the bottom inch or so is buried.

Water the soil lightly, then place the pot in a bright, sunny spot. Keep an eye on the soil and water it when it begins to dry. In 4-6 weeks, you should see new growth appearing at the base of the cutting.

Propagating Pencil Cactus from Seed

You can try propagating pencil cactus from seed if you’re more adventurous. This method’s main advantage is gratifying, as you watch the plant grow from a tiny seed into a mature cactus.

But remember that propagating pencil cactus from seed takes time and patience. It can also be challenging to get the seeds to germinate, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen on the first try.

Seeds on hand.
Propagating pencil cactus from seed takes time and patience.

To propagate pencil cactus from seed, you will need to obtain a fresh batch of seeds. You can purchase the seeds online or at a local nursery. Once you have your seeds, sow them in a well-draining cactus soil mix.

Place the pot in a bright, sunny spot and water the soil lightly. Keep an eye on the soil and water it when it begins to dry.

It can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks for the seeds to germinate. Once they do, you can transplant the seedlings into individual pots.

Propagating Pencil Cactus by Division

Besides stem cuttings and seeds, division is another popular method for propagating pencil cactus. This is an excellent option if you already have a mature pencil cactus that you want to propagate.

The main advantage of this method is that it’s easy to accomplish. The main disadvantage is that it can be challenging to find a mature pencil cactus that is big enough to divide.

If you do find a mature pencil cactus that you want to divide, the first thing you need to do is carefully remove it from its pot. Once it’s out of the pot, you can see its root system.

Close up image of a pencil cactus.
This is an excellent option if you already have a mature pencil cactus that you want to propagate.

Using a sharp knife, carefully divide the root ball into two or three sections. Make sure that each section has a good amount of roots attached to it.

Once you have divided the root ball, you can replant the sections in individual pots. Water the soil lightly and place the jars in a bright, sunny spot.

Keep an eye on the soil and water it when it begins to dry. In 4-6 weeks, you should see new growth appearing at the base of the plant.

Caring for a Newly Propagated Pencil Cactus

Once you have successfully propagated your pencil cactus, it’s time to start caring for it. The good news is that these plants are easy to care for and require little attention.

The most important thing to remember when caring for a newly propagated pencil cactus is not to overwater it. These plants are highly susceptible to root rot, so it’s essential to ensure the soil is always on the dry side.

Water the soil when it begins to dry out, then allow the water to drain completely before putting the pot back in its place.

Another critical thing to remember is to protect the plant from frost. These plants are native to warm, arid climates and cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Keeping your pencil cactus indoors is best if you live in an area with frosty winters.

A pencil cactus exposed to sunlight.
Close up image of a pencil cactus. This is an excellent option if you already have a mature pencil cactus that you want to propagate.

Place the pot in a bright, sunny spot and keep an eye on the soil. Water it when it begins to dry out and fertilize it once a month during the growing season. Your newly propagated pencil cactus should thrive and grow into a healthy plant with proper care.

Summary

Pencil cacti are beautiful, easy-to-care-for plants that make great houseplants or additions to any garden. And the best part about them is that they are straightforward to propagate!

With just a few simple tools and materials, you can have a new pencil cactus plant in no time. Thanks for reading, and happy gardening!

Last update on 2022-10-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

read this next

Sansevieria, is a beautiful and easy-to-care-for indoor houseplant that many people use as a decorative element in their home décor. It is very popular for its durability and relatively maintenance free care. Learn how to take care of Sansevieria with our essential guide.
Air plants are a very healthy choice for interior decoration. They don’t need soil to grow, and they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during the night. A common myth spread about air plants is that they can’t survive indoors, but this is simply untrue. Air plant enthusiasts say that air plants need the same type of care as other indoor plants, so here’s some tips on how to keep your air plant alive.
Did you know you can plant cactus indoors in pots or containers? These plants are just not for the deserts and tropical areas but make an excellent addition to your home decor. Once in a while, cactus need fertilizer for nutrients during the growing season.
Browning is a relatively common problem that many cacti gardeners have to deal with. Fortunately, this is not a death sentence for your plants. When you notice brown spots start to form on your plant, take time to identify the problem and deal with it accordingly
Sometimes, you need to cut your cactus to help the plant grow healthier. The signs that indicate that your cactus needs pruning include overgrown leaves and stems, mealybug infestation, rotting, dead stalks after blooming, and excess height.
Succulents are perennial plants that need very little attention, making them ideal for busy people who have enough going on in their lives! In fact, one of the most popular traits of having a succulent is that they require minimal care. From lighting to food to watering, these are some of the easiest plants to keep at home.
Cacti are great indoor plants, but they are not 100% safe. Therefore, it is essential to take all necessary precautions to keep them away from your kids and pets, and anyone that can negligently ingest them
Tropical plants are the desire of most people. Such inspirational plants can decorate your house or garden. In order to make them look more attractive, you need to pick the best place for planting. In this article, you will find some useful tips for having a perfect cactus garden.
The prickly fruit is one of the healthiest fruits you can include in your diet. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that offer a wide range of health benefits. In fact, the fruit is a staple in parts of Latin America, and Mexico mostly served with eggs and
Cacti are incredibly strong plants but they are also sensitive and should be treated with care. They are best served being slightly neglected over being micro-managed with too much water or interference
Adenium plant need to be watered only once a week if you are growing them as an indoor plant in a pot and daily watering is required for outdoor plants. Adenium require more care and water during the spring and summer season. If the soil feels wet, there is no need for watering the plant. If the soil feels dry it needs water. As oleander, Adenium can’t stand soggy soil, so it’s better to err on the dry side than to drown it.”
Euphorbia, commonly known as the spurge, is a genus of flowering plants that includes around 2000 unique species. Although euphorbia and cactus look pretty similar, there are some major distinctions and here is how you can differentiate them.

Receive the latest news

Get Our Cacti Newsletter

Stay updated with the latest facts, tips, advice, and more!

Your privacy is important to us.