Cactus and Succulents forum→Help with species ID and how to save cacti from dying

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vsunflower
May 10, 2020 4:00 PM CST
Hello, I have 2 pots with cacti and I want to save them from dying, It looks all brown on one side (it's been facing the window there but I live in a cold place so not much sun during winter)
And over all the health of the cacti look poorly, how can I save it?
How should I repot it?
What are the hardened brown parts at the bottom of the cacti?
And what species is it?
They flower and are green on one side of them As well as having those new black little puffs so didn't realize how bad looking they were and have forgotten to repot them. Its embarrassing how poorly I have taken care of them but aiming to do a better job from now on.

Thank you in advance,
I know I haven't taken very good care of it but I will from now on. I got it from my grandma many years ago.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
May 12, 2020 5:29 PM CST

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I'm having trouble telling what the actual color of the plant is. Can you take a picture with natural light?

Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - May 12, 2020 5:30 PM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
May 12, 2020 6:00 PM CST
Agreed welcome!

I agree with Baja, with regards to the lighting, but from what I can see the color on that plant is probably normally relatively light green, with what looks like the window facing sides being even lighter in one case and discolored in the other.

Question 1: now that spring may be in the air, is that window seeing more sun?

Question 2: snow on the ground still, or lots of snow on the ground through the winter?

Question 3: did you recently maybe clean the inside of your windows and used a chemical cleaner?

To me this looks what I know as Echinopsis eyressii, but I seem to remember that certainly here that is not a valid name.

I suspect that what you called hardened brown parts at the bottom of the plant is the development of corking - which is essentially the cactus forming bark. As the cactus grows the lower parts of the body become less important for the plants circulation and those parts start forming part of a stronger 'trunk' that will support the plant as it grows.

As to what is wrong - the brown parts on the window facing side look and sound like stress effects to me. The questions above might help answer what kind of stress.

As the needs of the plant: time for a bigger pot and new soil. These plants make a quite extensive root system so they can use a little extra space - if the plant has gotten to the point where the pot and soil it is in are not sufficient anymore for its needs, it will go on a slow but steady decline.

The pot does not need to be a whole lot bigger, maybe one size up, and you will want to get fast draining soil with lots of coarse material to help the pot dry out faster. Make sure to plant the plant at the same soil level, or maybe a little bit above - some of the corked areas would probably not suffer from being buried, but be careful not to plant them too deep.
It is what it is!

vsunflower
May 13, 2020 4:54 AM CST
Here are some more photos!
I can see the corking at the bottom but the coloration of it looks strange higher up as well.
It's been a mild winter so actually only one or two snow days.
No cleaning products have been used in the window and also it hasn't been too sunny yet still.mostly cloudy days.

Thank for species description!
Will repot them this weekend.
What kind of soil do you recommend?


Thank you :)))
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
May 13, 2020 10:18 AM CST
Somehow the new pictures are clearer but when I try to look at them in detail they show up really small, so it is still hard to really see what is going on.

When you try and gently squeeze the biggest arm in the pot in the 1st and 2nd pictures is it solid, not squishy?

I associate that color with stress, but it is hard to believe it is sun stress (the snow could have made things a lot brighter and more reflective but not enough of that from the sounds of it). Could be stress due to spent soil, I guess.

If you can get something called cactus/citrus/palm soil in your area that would be great. You want something that is fast draining and not too water retentive, then most of us here tend to amend something like that with pumice or coarse gravel is pumice is unavailable.
It is what it is!

vsunflower
May 16, 2020 3:56 PM CST
Hmm no its not squishy at all, it is solid still but it does have a red color /spots
Hmm it did not allow me to post larger photos last time but I'll try again :)
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Name: Eric
Wisconsin (Zone 4b)
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Hallow
May 17, 2020 2:37 AM CST
vsunflower said:Hmm no its not squishy at all, it is solid still but it does have a red color /spots
Hmm it did not allow me to post larger photos last time but I'll try again :)
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I live in a cold snowy environment myself. The sun reflection from the snow never bothered mine. BUT! did your plant experience cold Temps somehow? I had a beautiful cactus like yours that experienced a brief cold snap that killed it. Desert plants can do some weird things in different environments there not adapted to. Even if indoors.


vsunflower
May 19, 2020 9:23 AM CST
Yes that's true that might have been the case! It's also very tight in the container so will repot it now after my finals!
How is best to continue care for it, should I add some kind of fertilizer?
Thanks y'all for the replies :)
Name: Kim
Black Hills, SD (Zone 5a)
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KFredenburg
May 19, 2020 9:26 AM CST
How much are you watering it @vsunflower? (Apologies if this was already asked)
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
May 19, 2020 11:10 AM CST
If you give the plant new soil when you pot it up, it should not need fertilizer.
It is what it is!

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