How to Prune a Cactus

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

How to Prune a Cactus – A Guide from the Pros

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Pruning a cactus is important for two reasons: to encourage new growth and to remove dead or diseased cacti. When pruning, always wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your skin from the cactus’s sharp spines.

Start by cutting away any dead or diseased tissue with a sharp knife or pruning shears. Then, prune back healthy stems to encourage new growth. You can also remove any offsets (baby cacti) that are growing around the base of the plant.

If your cactus is very overgrown, you may need to do some severe pruning. In this case, it’s best to wait until the spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. This will help it recover from the shock of being cut back.

What You’ll Need

A sharp, clean knife or pair of scissors

Pruning shears (optional)

Gloves (optional)



Pruning a cactus is best done in the spring, after the plant has flowered. This will give the plant time to heal its wounds and produce new growth before the hot summer sun arrives.

You will need a sharp knife or pruning shears and gloves to protect your hands from the cactus’s spines. Start by cutting off any dead or dying stems at the base of the plant. Then, cut away any stems that are growing out of bounds or are crossing over other stems. Cut each stem at a 45-degree angle so that newly emerging growth will have plenty of room to expand. Be sure to clean your knife or shears between cuts to prevent spreading disease from one stem to another.

After you have finished pruning, water your cactus well and give it a few days to rest. Once it has recovered, it will be ready to start growing again!


Pruning a cactus is not as complicated as it might seem. By following the steps outlined above, you can easily keep your cactus healthy and beautiful. Just remember to use sharp, clean tools and to be careful not to damage the plant. With a little bit of care, your cactus will thrive for many years to come.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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