The Q&A Archives: Is My Cactus Dead

Question: Dear Whom It May Concern,
I have a cactus and someone in my family thinks its dead. I don't believe her because it still green. She thinks it's dead because it's spiny and she can touch it. Will someone else has told me and did it in front of me. They actually touched it and it didn't hurt. Well I don't think that really means anything if he could do that right when we bought it and it was definatly healthy. A little piece of it has fallen down but I think thats because of the cats rubbing against it. (stupid cats) And I know the cats do that because one night there was flowers on it and when I woke up it had been spilled and there were no flowers. I would like your opinion on if it is dead. I personaly don't think it is.

Answer: Some cactus have sharp spines that are meant primarily to protect the cactus and prevent animals from damaging it. Some cactus have soft spines that are meant primarily to shade the cactus from the sun and protect it from excess heat. So whether the spines are sharp or soft would not indicate overall health of the plant. If the body of the cactus is firm (not mushy) then it is probably just fine.

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