Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: What's wrong with my Night Blooming Cereus cutting growth?

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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
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chris1948
May 17, 2016 4:07 PM CST
The new growth on this cutting was doing really well until a few days ago when I noticed it starting to turn black. Anyone know why it might be doing this? I'm only spraying a bit of water around the base of the cuttings every few days or so and twice I've put in a little bit of liquid root stimulator. First photo is what it looked like on the 14th. Second is what it looks like today.


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Chris
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 17, 2016 10:10 PM CST
There are some things that you shouldn't use root stimulator on, like cactus and succulents. And no more water until it is well rooted and growing.
Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
May 17, 2016 10:31 PM CST
I agree with Daisy, these plants tend to be just fine by themselves, excess water without roots to take it up really only affects them adversely.
The new growth looks like it might have been an attempt at a flower, which got aborted when the plant could not provide for its full development. This can also happen on fully rooted plants when they encounter adverse conditions after starting a flower. I see that often enough - the plant is just allocating its limited resources to what it needs most.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
May 18, 2016 4:49 AM CST
This looks like Epiphyllum oxypetalum (one of several plants called night blooming Cereus.) If so, it's an epiphyte from tropical rainforest jungle, a very moist climate. Getting too dry can be damaging. If there are roots by now, they need to stay moist.
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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
May 18, 2016 7:17 AM CST
Got it, no more root stimulator even if it's a tiny bit like I was using. In the photo below what should I be doing with this one? A little water, a lot of water? How often? As you can see there is the large leaf on the right and on the center left there is the other growth coming out.

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Chris
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 18, 2016 1:11 PM CST
In my experience there is no advantage to leaving the soil dry when I am trying to root a cutting. At the very beginning, if the cut end of the plant may not have healed completely, you don't want to jump the gun with the water. Otherwise I water cuttings that I am trying to root exactly like I water the plants with roots, ie. when the soil goes dry or almost dry. This is always starting with a relatively small container which would dry out fast on its own... when there is new growth on top (indicating the presence and activity of roots) then I might move the cutting to a more generous sized pot.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
May 18, 2016 1:50 PM CST
Thanks Baja, so for instance the cutting with the large leaf and the growth on the other side, should it be moved to a larger pot or wait a bit longer? I suppose when I water them I don't drown them but enough so the soil is damp down to where the roots probably are?
Chris
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 18, 2016 2:28 PM CST
Everybody has their own way, but mine is to water well (until water comes out the bottom of the pot) then wait and allow sun and wind to dry the soil out until it's dry or almost dry at depth. I know from experience how fast the different size pots dry out here, given the exposure, so I start cuttings in a pot that I know will dry out within my regular watering window (which is about once a week). The critical thing is the depth of the pot (more than the width). If you use a shallow pot up front (like azalea pot proportions) that gives you greater security about the bottom not staying wet. Or you can just fill a deeper pot up partway and get the same effect.

I would recommend leaving your cuttings where they are, if the pot is not real deep. There's no sense in moving them up a size until you know they have roots (either by seeing the roots or usually by seeing new growth on top). Tiffany makes a good point about these not being your usual desert cacti. Both kinds can be accommodated within the boundaries I have described (a watering cycle consisting of thoroughly wet to mostly dry, each time).
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
May 18, 2016 2:49 PM CST
Thanks for all the information @Baja, hopefully I'll be able to at least keep the one with the leaf and the growth on the other side of it going out of the six cuttings I have. I'll just have to use a skewer for now I guess to keep an eye on whether they're drying out or not and need to be watered.
Chris
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
May 18, 2016 3:01 PM CST
If this is indeed Epiphyllum oxypetalum - it roots so easily you can root it in a glass of water!!
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
May 18, 2016 3:11 PM CST
Thanks Ursula, all I know is the lady at the nursery who gave me the cutting back in Feb said it was a night blooming cereus.
Chris
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
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Baja_Costero
May 18, 2016 3:20 PM CST
I just saw your picture with the one cutting sprouting a new stem... a good sign, and an invitation to pop them out of the pot in the near future to see what's happening down there. The hardest thing about this process (for me, anyway) is the patience it requires.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
May 18, 2016 3:36 PM CST
Is that the one with the big leaf you looked at? It's also got a growth coming out the other side lower down. I don't know why the other one in the same pot has the growth turning black. I guess it died out? There are two more in another pot that if I give them a gentle tug they start pulling the soil up with them.
Chris
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier
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Baja_Costero
May 19, 2016 2:50 PM CST
Yes, that's the one. Like Thijs said the other bud could have been a flower that the plant decided to discontinue. It's not a bad sign, actually it's better for you and the plant that it invests in vegetative growth instead at this point. These should not be difficult plants, especially in your climate. Once you have repotted them a couple of times you will have a better idea of the situation down there. They should not require a lot of root run to get to a good size.

You may want to time your repotting for when you expect the soil to be almost dry, and that will allow you to confirm by direct observation whether you're guessing right about when to water.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 19, 2016 2:53 PM (+)]
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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
May 19, 2016 4:04 PM CST
Thanks @Baja, I'm hoping more leaves will start. I'll be happy if I can just get one of the six cuttings going.
Chris

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