Cactus and Succulents forum→Bent/Stretching Cacti

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NJ (Zone 7a)
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_mel
Jul 2, 2019 6:19 PM CST
Hi there!

I don't have much (or any) experience with succulents and cacti but I received the two cacti shown here as gifts over a year ago. I water them religiously on the 1st of each month with a few drops of water (I learned my lesson after over-watering my first one). They were both fine up until a few months ago when they started bending significantly. I experienced some bending last year but they straightened up and it was not to this extent. I read that bending and stretching often occurs due to lack of sunlight so I tried moving them closer to a window and when that didn't help, I moved them to a completely different window that is south facing as I have read that in various articles. I also made sure to have the non-bent side facing the sun and they are both in drainage pots. I have also slightly increased the amount of water I am giving them but nothing seems to be helping.

Does anyone know how I can fix my poor cacti? I would rather not have to cut off any stems but I understand I may have to.

Thank you in advance! Smiling
Thumb of 2019-07-03/_mel/7b576c
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jul 2, 2019 8:45 PM CST

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A position right in front of a south facing window should be perfect (in the northern hemisphere).

When you water, water well (until water comes out the bottom of the pot) and then wait for the soil to dry out at depth before you water again. Maybe a week or two weeks at this time of year.

Watering cacti is all about limiting the frequency, not the amount. The amount you water should not be limiting. That does not serve the needs of the plant. The frequency will change depending on the season, the temperature, and the exposure, but try to time your watering cycle to ensure that the soil dries out most or all the way each time.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jul 2, 2019 10:54 PM (+)]
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NJ (Zone 7a)
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_mel
Jul 3, 2019 5:34 AM CST
Thank you for this great information! I'll be sure to pay more attention to the soil so I can water properly. I have had them on the windowsill of a south facing window for a few weeks now but haven't seen any improvement at all. Any guesses as to how to long it will be before they begin straightening up? Thank you!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jul 3, 2019 8:34 AM CST

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The one that's growing sideways looks like it is seated that way in the pot, instead of stretching for the light. It would only straighten out properly by being repotted in a vertical position.
NJ (Zone 7a)
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_mel
Sep 4, 2019 5:45 PM CST

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My cacti are looking so much better! Love seeing them look so healthy again!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Sep 4, 2019 8:03 PM CST

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Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
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Hallow
Sep 4, 2019 9:11 PM CST
Does anyone know the name of the one with the pink flower? Asking because I have one. It's about the size of a small plate it's wider than it's tall. Is normal for this type of plant? This isn't a good picture of it. It makes it look flat but it's round like a ball. Are they had to propagate, I miss it when it was little.
Thumb of 2019-09-05/Hallow/af629c

Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
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skopjecollection
Sep 4, 2019 10:02 PM CST
Pink flower is fake.(straw flower glued on)
Name is cereus hildamannius "fairy castle".
Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Sep 4, 2019 11:18 PM CST

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I think it's Acanthocereus, though it's far from typical for the species. Should be relatively easy to propagate.

Acanthocereus (Acanthocereus tetragonus 'Fairy Castle')

[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 4, 2019 11:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
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skopjecollection
Sep 4, 2019 11:35 PM CST
I disagree heavily on the acantrocereus ID.
This is acanthocereus
https://cactiguide.com/cactus/...
Its pretty much what id call a shrubby, 3d hylocereus...
Absolutely none of the fairy castles features come close to it...
Huge, thick white to grey spines, triangular to quadangular stems(as oposed to fairy castles going up to 7), minimal areole fuzz.
Whereas cereus hildamannius fits pretty much every ID category...
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic...
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Sep 5, 2019 12:11 AM CST
Have you actually seen a Cereus hildmannius, do you know how large they get?

The 'Fairy Castle' cactus is a sport/cultivar of Acanthocereus tetragonus. Having grown both, I can tell you that even my regular Acanthocereus tetragonus would have new growth that would look very much like the 'Fairy Castle' form, but it would generally grow out of that. I have a couple of cuttings that I took with me from the plant at my old house that had gotten too large to move, but they are on life-support at the moment, so I am not sure when/if I will be able to show pictures of that particular kind of growth.

Great flowers though.
It is what it is!
Name: Stefan
SE europe(balkans) (Zone 6b)
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skopjecollection
Sep 5, 2019 12:27 AM CST
I know how large they grow.
Thumb of 2019-09-05/skopjecollection/9ea21d
I own 2 cerei at the moment , one of which is hildamannius
Upper left corner, sunburnt barky thing
Thumb of 2019-09-05/skopjecollection/fbdb56
And, as far as size in concerned, youre forgetting that these things exist
This is not acanthocereus. This is
https://live.staticflickr.com/...
[Last edited by Abigail - May 17, 2021 2:52 PM (+)]
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Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
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Hallow
Sep 5, 2019 1:12 AM CST
skopjecollection said:Pink flower is fake.(straw flower glued on)
Name is cereus hildamannius "fairy castle".
hahaha, I know the flower isn't real. Bought mine the same way. The one's that drive me nuts are the spray painted ones. Thanks for the ID. Thank You!
Would like to get mine growing taller vs wide.
[Last edited by Hallow - Sep 5, 2019 1:25 AM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
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mcvansoest
Sep 5, 2019 9:15 AM CST
Well, I had to go digging but I found an old picture of the Acanthocereus t. that I had growing at my old place. It does not have a great image of some of the young growth that looks pretty much like what the fairy castle cactus looks like as a whole, but I think you can see how that growth looks a lot like it.

Thumb of 2019-09-05/mcvansoest/930f80

Stefan, I think you illustrate my point by showing that Ming Thing type cactus - a) you identified the plant a C. hildmannianus, not a cultivar or sport of that plant, and b) you show another plant where a sport/cultivar looks very little like the original mature plant, which makes your arguments that the ribs and spines on the fairy castle sport do not match the mature growth on A. tetragonus, not that strong.

Mutations clearly can make a plant look very little like its regular version.



It is what it is!
Name: Stefan
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skopjecollection
Sep 5, 2019 9:32 AM CST
What any mutation cannot change is the spine collor.
They can affect size, shape, and aragement(in the case of eulychinia spiralis) but not color ,and they cannot change growth habit without distorting the stem.
Acantrocereus tetragonus is a sprawling bushy plant. Absolutely no mutation would cause it to grow upward, upright, with dense, cereus-like habitat/
Monstrose and crestate cereus, like the so called ming thing, still retain the baseline cereus shape, spine color, stem color, and uprright growth pattern, while its it size and rib shape are distorted.
Monstrose and crest cacti have the ability to"shake off the mutation" producing healthy semi normal tissue resembling the species which they originate from.
Monstrose cerei, both dwarf("minor"), regular and otherwise, do that thing.
https://www.tynursery.com/wp-c...
http://www.giromagicactus.com/...
This is conclusive proof that "ming thing" is not acanthocereus tetragonus as well, as your database would erroneously like to dictate...
[Last edited by Abigail - May 17, 2021 2:52 PM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Sep 5, 2019 1:16 PM CST

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I'm not seeing any conclusive proof there, Stefan, just your opinion and selected sources you've chosen that might agree with it. It's very important to distinguish opinion from fact.

I seriously doubt anyone could "prove" one way or the other what species "Fairy Castle" or "Ming Thing" might be, without looking at the DNA and comparing it to known examples of the species. They are really far away from the size and character of Acanthocereus or Cereus as they are found in nature. Also note that Acanthocereus as a genus has undergone a number of changes over time, including a great consolidation of several species into one, and the absorption of various species formerly filed under Cereus. The internet has not caught up with many of these changes.

This discussion is not helping answer Eric's original question in any way, as far as I can tell. The plant pictured has a cultivar name which is far more useful for identifying it than any genus or species name. Its behavior is normal for the cultivar and abnormal for any of the species which have been associated with it. It should be easy to propagate.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Sep 5, 2019 1:17 PM (+)]
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Name: Critter (Jill)
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critterologist
Oct 5, 2019 7:12 AM CST
@Hallow

I've got a big Fairy Castle, too. I propagated some little ones from it by gently grabbing a "branch" at the base and wiggling it back and forth until it broke loose under the soil line -- whether it comes away with a few roots or not, just pot it up, and it should do just fine. I've found that my plant can be handled gently without getting a handful of spikes. If you really wanted to deconstruct your plant, you should probably take it out of its pot so you can see what's what with the branches and roots, but it sounds like you just want another baby plant or two (they are lots cuter as little plants!). Some say that succulent divisions should sit out for a few days before potting up so the broken/cut end can heal over.

(no expertise here, just what I've done with mine)

@_mel great job with your cacti! looks like you've figured out exactly what they "want." Fairy Tale is a really forgiving plant. Mine got neglected and really dried out last spring (its spot on the windowsill was a bit hidden, and we were distracted), but I watered it every week for a while, and now it's plump and green again!

Both of you -- don't be put off this forum by the debate above. Experts like to debate and get really passionate about their favorite plants... it happens in every forum: threads get off track when an issue like identification comes up, and if it's not relevant to you, just skim over it. The forums here are also generally welcoming and very helpful!





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