Goodbye Roxanne | How To Graft A Cactus | Personal Post

So as some of you know, I've had this Cacti, Roxanne, for over a year.  Last year I bought three different succulents, a Donkey Sedum, a Rosette and a Grafted Moon Cactus. I knew absolutely nothing about succulents, but just thought they were pretty. I had had this idea of putting them in teacups and a teapot, cause that seemed cute. When I got them home, I immediately named the Red Grafted Moon Cactus Roxanne (for somewhat obvious reasons..."you don't have to put on that red light") I couldn't seem to come up with names for the other two, which probably was a good thing because they died pretty soon after...*sad face* 
Here's Roxanne and her buddies right after I adopted them :] 

And here they are in their adorable teacups: (thanks to Goodwill!)

So like I said, I knew nothing about cacti or succulents. I had heard that they were really easy to take care of....not sure if I agree....But oh well. Turns out that the succulents that were sold to Walmart, that I in turn bought (yes, I got my little plants at Walmart...they were cute, and right inside the entrance...way to go marketing!) were not propagated well. The Sedum Donkey Tail (the little fringy one on the right) had just recently been cut from another plant and placed in the dirt, it hadn't taken or rooted at all. Two of them started leaning, and eventually fell over and died, cause I didn't realize that they weren't rooted. The remaining two only lasted a few more months. About the same for the Rosette. Despite my attempts to propagate some of the fallen leaves)

But Roxanne, she was a different story. She stuck around. (Even though she almost bit it after the first frost of the year, she fought through it) We bonded. She even almost flowered last summer! After a few months, I started to do some research about these little plants. It took me a while to figure out what they even were! (I still don't even know what kind of Rosette that was!) After doing all my research (guys, Bell Cacti/Moon Cacti are super interesting, go look them up!) I learned that Moon Cacti don't have long life expectancies. Which was ironic because I clearly killed the other two in record time even though everything said that they were super easy to take care of....clearly not the case. 

So about a month ago, after learning that Roxanne was a bit of a ticking clock (again, go look these guys up, science is cool) I snapped a picture of her, because she looked majestic, and beautiful, and she'd grown so much! 

I'm so glad I took that picture when I did, because just a couple weeks later I started to notice that the top of her was starting to turn a yellowy orange. When I noticed that I saw little brown dots appearing. They grew a little bit every day, eventually a crack began to form revealing a stripe of black. 

As I was sitting at my desk, preparing to leave for my trip in the morning, I looked over at Roxanne. I typically would take Roxanne to my mom and tell her to water her if the dirt gets too dry while I'm away. So I was sitting there thinking "should I bother? She's clearly sick and about to die..." I had thought about grafting her little babies, and realized that if I went on my trip and waited till I got back it would probably be too late. At this point the little babies are still bright red, and seem totally healthy. So I ran over to the Plant Nursery, grabbed some pots, and some cacti that would work as bases (guys, seriously, look them up, nature is crazy). 
Who knows if they'll take, but I figured if Roxanne was going to die, at least maybe some new life could come of it! 

How to Graft a Cacti or Make a Moon Cactus: 

I found this tutorial online on how to graft a cacti, here's a visual retelling, from someone who is NOT A CACTUS EXPERT:

So you're gonna need:

-A very sharp knife/Box cutter/Xacto Knife
-A base Cactus
-Bell Cacti Baby (hopefully yous isn't dying)
-Tongs of some kind 
-Rubber Bands
-Cactus Soil Mix (or soil mixed with sand, you can find how-tos online)

I was lucky and found a pot of 4 cacti perfect for my base. I knew I had 5 large little Roxanne babies that I hoped to use (there were 5 large ones, and a few that were little teeny-tiny guys that I wouldn't be able to use) and planned to use Roxanne's original base. (Not sure if you can do that, but we'll find out soon enough!) 
 

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1. Use your tongs to twist off the little cacti babies from the momma cacti. 

2. Use your CLEAN sharp knife or box cutter to cut off the top of your base cacti

3. Making sure to keep your knife clean (this is crucial) cut of the bottom of your baby cacti

4. Find the spine of both the base and the baby cacti (yes, I'm sure baby cacti is the technical term...) This is the little white dot, typically in the center of both. Place the baby cacti on top of the base, lining up the spines. Wiggle the baby succulent around a little bit to get out any air bubbles. 

5. Use rubber bands to hold them together, making sure to keep the spines alined. 

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And you're done! It should take 7-10 days for them to graft, so keep those rubber bands on there for at least a week.

Also, just to reiterate, I AM NOT A CACTUS EXPERT! I've never done this before! I really don't know what I'm doing, but I will be sure to let you know if it works! I really just wanted Roxanne to live on in some form or another! 

And yes, it is a cactus, I know. And yes, I named it. I didn't cry or anything, but this is the closest thing to a pet that I have. And really the first plant I ever had. Yes I only had it a year...but hopefully Roxanne will live on in these little guys! 

 

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First person to comment below with what these guys are named after gets a shoutout on Facebook! :]