Ask a Question forum: Rare Rattail cactus

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ChrisJones
Apr 22, 2016 10:57 AM CST
Thumb of 2016-04-22/ChrisJones/d19b82

The wind blew this lovely plant over which resulted in a lot of breakage. The root ball is still in tact so re potted it in a larger pot.
Having lost about 80% of the growth, my question is...... should I cut off the remaining long pieces to allow the new growth in the center of the plant get more energy to recover?
Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Apr 22, 2016 11:06 AM CST
What a bummer! That is a gorgeous plant. I have a very old plant too, and the same thing happened to mine. I just left most of the long growth, potted it in a larger pot, and re-rooted a lot of the broken pieces and planted them back in the pot. It's still filling in but should look much better shortly.

Where are you located? Does the plant stay outside year round? Mine had been indoors only but it's now in my new greenhouse. It only has 2 blooms getting ready to open.
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Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
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AlyssaBlue
Apr 22, 2016 11:09 AM CST
Welcome!

Aw, that's a pretty cactus. My first thought is no, do not remove anything else since there's been a lot of damage already. It may take a while for it to come back, so you just have to be patient. Even if it looks like it's not going to come back, I'd wait as long as possible. Since the root ball is intact, you've got a pretty good chance! I'd keep it protected, but make sure it gets enough sun. Scorching sun wouldn't be a good thing, so a happy medium would be best. Think of it as being in recovery, so no extremes, just limping along for a bit. Once new growth begins, you can make the call on whether to remove any of the old growth.
Name: Chantell
Middle of Virginia (Zone 7a)

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Chantell
Apr 22, 2016 11:46 AM CST
Stunning specimen...agree with others...I'd leave her be and let her heal up before making any decisions. As for the pieces that completely broke off I'm sure there's many of us that would be happy to root up some of those.
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 22, 2016 11:55 AM CST
WOW!! What a great plant! Mine did a nose dive too (it must be in their nature to jump). I put all the broken pieces back in the pot but all the stubs will grow a lot of new 'arms' so your plant will eventually be bushier than it was.

Daisy
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 22, 2016 12:29 PM CST
Hi & welcome! What a gorgeous plant! If you hadn't said it had taken a tumble, only you would know.

Another vote for not cutting anything more off. The severed pieces should be calloused (wound dried) by now. It doesn't look like there's room for them in that pot, but stuck into another pot, they should take root easily.

It looks like an Aporocactus/Disocactus, but I'm not familiar with them to the species level.
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Name: Taqiyyah
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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lovesblooms
Apr 22, 2016 12:36 PM CST
Just a sigh of appreciation here. It actually looks like it was "styled" that way to me!

ChrisJones
Apr 22, 2016 1:11 PM CST
Thanks to all for the input. I am in Pahrump, NV. Plant has been outside & had early morning & late afternoon sun, only for short periods. It was kept in a dark place with no water for 4 months over the winter & did very nicely.
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Apr 22, 2016 1:26 PM CST
Thanks for that info, Chris. Interesting that you kept it dark and dry. Maybe that is what stimulates all the blooming? I've always kept mine going year round, but have never had more than 4 or 5 blooms at once.
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 22, 2016 2:37 PM CST
I have spent a lot of time in Pahrump - my Grandmother and Uncle lived there for 30 years.

Chris' cactus may be Disocactus flagelliformis (the accepted name - Aporocactus flagelliformis is a synonym) and there is a hybrid with red flowers.

Daisy
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 22, 2016 5:52 PM CST
It looks more orange to me.
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Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Apr 22, 2016 5:55 PM CST
I think his is more orange. Mine is too. I'd love to have other colors. They'll have to go on my want list.
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Name: Daisy
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DaisyI
Apr 22, 2016 7:53 PM CST
If your flowers are orange, look at Golden Rat Tail - Cleistocactus winteri. That's the pne I have.

Daisy
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Apr 23, 2016 8:57 AM CST
Sorry about the damage done to your plant, but that is an "occupational hazard" for all of us with plant collections.

A plant's future depends on the health of its rootball, not the appearance of its foliage. So long term you have nothing to be concerned about, although I see no reason to move an otherwise thriving plant to a larger pot. Larger pots don't heal physical damage, but they do disrupt the roots and the watering routine you have been using. Be very careful you do not inadvertently over-water now that there is an abundance of soil to retain water for a long time.

There is no reason to leave damaged foliage on any plant. Once damaged or discolored, foliage never recovers, so remove it for aesthetic reasons. Most plants, including Rattail Cacti, benefit from regular pruning even when they have not been damaged. Pruning is not something to be feared or avoided. Pruning will not affect the health of a plant, but it will affect its appearance. So prune it back so that it looks better. Also, understand that new growth will emerge on stems just below where you make the pruning cuts. Thus, you control where new growth comes in and how your plant will look in the future. Be bold and prune back as much as you can stand!
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Apr 23, 2016 9:31 AM CST
Oh, I forgot to mention that they bloom best when root bound?

ChrisJones
Apr 23, 2016 2:20 PM CST
Perhaps being root bound is a good thing. This one had been in the same pot for 9 yrs. Picture was taken June 1, 2015 so it had not yet started getting buds. With all the damage about all is left is what was underneath, thus long, brown pieces with new growth coming out on the ends. It is really ugly. Sighing!
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 24, 2016 5:42 AM CST
So the pic at the top of the discussion isn't what your plant looks like now?
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ChrisJones
Apr 24, 2016 8:24 AM CST
Unfortunately no. See before & after.
Thumb of 2016-04-24/ChrisJones/e57a6e


Thumb of 2016-04-24/ChrisJones/99a979

Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 24, 2016 10:23 AM CST
Oooooh. In that case, yes, the brown parts look dead, no need to keep them on. I hope your plant recovers soon. A hanging basket might be safer. I've never had to go looking for one of those after a wind storm.
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Name: Alyssa Blue
Ohio (Zone 5b)
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AlyssaBlue
Apr 24, 2016 10:58 AM CST
OK, the photo makes a big difference on opinion. I agree with Tiffany, to remove the brown. Also keep in mind you won't have to water it was much until it starts really growing again.

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