The Q&A Archives: Cactus Plant

Question: Is it possible to root a cactus plant that is dying? The top have is still alive but not getting water or food?

Answer: I'm sorry but I am having a hard time picturing your plant and its exact problem based on your description of it. Some cactus and succulents can be rooted successfully from simple tip cuttings which are allowed to callus or dry for a few days and then set on barely damp sand and allowed to root. Some cactus plants are actually grafted, meaning a top piece is from one kind of cactus and has been joined to a bottom piece from another kind of cactus. This could explain why top and bottom look different. Cactus need to be in a free-draining soil mix so that the roots and base of the plant can dry out between waterings and so they do not remain damp for an extended length of time. Overwatering, or allowing the pot to sit in a saucer filled with water can result in a bit of rot at the base. On the other hand, cactus can also shrivel if they are underwatered or attacked by insects. Depending on the cause of the problem, you might be able to save the plant, and depending on the type of plant you might actually be able to root the top.

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