Kris Head­ing, Moorak, SA

Gardening Australia - - MAILBOX -

I trans­planted this cac­tus from the ground to a pot about 10 years ago as a sin­gle ball. Un­for­tu­nately, it got a bit too much water and started to rot. It then started pro­duc­ing lots of pups. I’d love to re­move th­ese and plant them in a gar­den bed. Will the par­ent plant sur­vive and keep re­pro­duc­ing if I re­move them all?

Phil Dud­man says

The par­ent plant should sur­vive and con­tinue to pro­duce pups af­ter re­moval of the ex­ist­ing pups. Just move the pot un­der­cover to keep the plant dry while the wounds heal.

Thick leather gloves are a must when re­mov­ing and han­dling the pups. You may also need some pieces of polystyrene or sheets of folded news­pa­per to of­fer fur­ther pro­tec­tion. Place th­ese over the spines, then give the cho­sen pup a gen­tle twist and pull. Leave the pups in a dry spot for a week or two un­til the wounds cal­lus over, then place them on top of a sandy prop­a­ga­tion mix. Water once a week. You are best to grow them in pots ini­tially, so you can con­trol the amount of mois­ture they re­ceive. Plant out once they’ve es­tab­lished a good root sys­tem.

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