The Q&A Archives: Sickly Peniocereus serpentinus cactus

Question: Hello,

I have a cactus (I believe it's a Peniocereus serpentinus) I've had for about 20 years now and in the past year it's been attacked by spider-mites.

It doesn't look like there are any more mites, however the plant doesn't look well - it looks like the cactus is turning brown and drying up at the base near the soil and the Prickly-Pair cactus - in the same pot - have turned brown also.

Do you have any ideas what could be wrong and what I can do to help the plants?

Thank You,

Answer: If you've been successfully caring for your cactus for 20 years, you certainly know its growing requirements and the care it needs. It sounds unusual for it to suddenly become unhealthy, unless something has changed in the growing conditions or care it has recently received. It may be that what you used to rid the plant of spider mites has caused some damage. Not all pesticides/miticides are safe to use on all types of plants. To be on the safe side, you should always read the label and make sure that both the plant and the targeted pest are listed on the label. Aside from waiting to see if your cactus will recover, there's really not much else you can do at this point. I wouldn't stress it any further by repotting or changing the watering schedule. Let's hope for the best!

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