Ask a Question forum: What to do about this cactus!

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Name: Julie Widis
Cypress, Texas (Zone 9a)
germanyjulie
Mar 21, 2014 4:47 PM CST
I have had this cactus for several years and it used to bloom many beautiful yellow flowers, but last year all I got were the red "buds" but no blooms. I don't do anything except water this once every two weeks or so, so perhaps it's because it's needs fertilizer. I'm certain it's needs to be trimmed quite a bit because they are many that are pointing downwards rather than up and also wondering if the graying at the lower center of the plant is normal or if points to a problem. Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Plant Identifier
growitall
Mar 21, 2014 4:57 PM CST
I don't have an answer to the non-blooming but if the "red buds" you're referring to are visible in your photos, they are actually fruit from the last bloom (not flower buds). Trimming your cactus shouldn't be necessary.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Mar 21, 2014 5:48 PM CST
Beautiful Opuntia? Cactus! I agree with growitall, those red things are the fruit. Flowers appear before the fruit so you must have missed them. Smiling
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Mar 21, 2014 5:49 PM CST
germanyjulie: I forgot to say Welcome! to All Things Plants!
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Name: Julie Widis
Cypress, Texas (Zone 9a)
germanyjulie
Mar 21, 2014 5:54 PM CST
Yes that rings a bell..them being fruit. I can promise I haven't missed the flowers as it sits just off of my office and I'm always checking it. I kept thinking that the red would then bloom my yellow flowers but didn't happen. We've had a brutal winter and it's only just past having freezing temps. I've lost a few cactus for the first time.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Mar 21, 2014 5:57 PM CST
I have as well, sad to say, including a few Opuntias. I've never had that happen before but this was our coldest winter in more than 30 years.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Mar 21, 2014 5:57 PM CST

Plants Admin

Many species of cactus are somewhat erratic bloomers, they bloom when they feel like it and sometimes take a year (or several) off between blooming periods. The grey color at the bottom is normal, it's just older stems that the plant is no longer using for photosynthesis. It's sort of analogous to a tree trunk at this point, mostly structural support for the rest of the plant.

Fertilizer is more likely to kill your cactus than help it, they are adapted to a low nutrient environment. Unless you live in an extremely dry climate, I'd say the same thing about watering.

Other than that, I agree with Lori, the red buds are fruits and trimming the cactus probably won't be beneficial.

Name: Julie Widis
Cypress, Texas (Zone 9a)
germanyjulie
Mar 21, 2014 6:07 PM CST
Well thanks so much! Nothing I love hearing more than leave that plant alone..lol! That why I love xeriscaping so much. That one cactus was a gift from my husband that brought about an entire redesign of our front yard landscaping. One plant never cost so much! Thanks so much for all of the input ladies! I have another cactus I purchased and was told it was something (which I can't remember now) but it clearly was not based on the photos so I will post a photo soon to see if anyone can tell me what it might be. Thanks again!
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Mar 21, 2014 6:08 PM CST
Hurray!
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 21, 2014 6:17 PM CST
Lovely looking cactus! Lovey dubby Yeah, weather has been temperamental all over..sometimes plants just cope..agree with the comments above..leave it be. It should come back nicer eventually, as temps continue to warm up, then give it a drink, and should perk up once more. The graying thing is just the plant corking..showing its age..nothing to be worried about. It would be bad if the plant goes mushy..that will be a problem if it happens.
Name: Julie Widis
Cypress, Texas (Zone 9a)
germanyjulie
Mar 21, 2014 6:24 PM CST
Would mushy represent overwatering or a different problem?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Mar 21, 2014 6:26 PM CST
Overwatering mostly, or poor drainage around the plant.
Name: Julie Widis
Cypress, Texas (Zone 9a)
germanyjulie
Mar 21, 2014 6:33 PM CST
Here are some pics of a cactus currently in one of our garages until we redesign another area out front AND until I know what this is. Also wanted to know what everyone thinks if the Ocotillo cactus. My daughter and I made numerous drives from here to LA and they are everywhere and I just love them.
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Name: Julie Widis
Cypress, Texas (Zone 9a)
germanyjulie
Mar 21, 2014 7:03 PM CST
Just remembered what the person who sold it to me said she was told is was..I believe she said it was supposed to be a beavertail cactus.
Name: Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Plant Identifier
growitall
Mar 21, 2014 7:14 PM CST
Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) is a wonderful plant of the desert - love seeing it! - though it isn't actually a cactus.

The other cactus in your garage is another Opuntia species, as is the original one you asked about. (I'll let the cactus experts take it beyond that!)
[Last edited by growitall - Mar 21, 2014 7:39 PM (+)]
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Name: Julie Widis
Cypress, Texas (Zone 9a)
germanyjulie
Mar 21, 2014 7:24 PM CST
Oh my goodness really!? I'm wanting to find out how big it will get and if it blooms etc. Thanks!

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