Cactus and Succulents forum→Stressed or sick? Fairy castle cactus

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BotanicalBrittany
May 22, 2020 1:21 PM CST
New here! 👋 I am in quite a pickle with my fairy castle cactus 😞 I've had this cactus for maybe 15 years now (it started out as one spindle and I didn't know at the time it was a fairy castle cactus since there was the single piece instead of the clusters). Anyway, these photos were taken 1 month apart exactly (the droopy picture is most recent obviously).

I decided to repot her in mid April since she had been in the same soil for about 8 years and desperately needed it but now she is so unhappy! I let her soil dry out completely then I repotted her into a new unglazed terracotta pot and gave a heavy water but then she started to wilt within maybe two weeks of that. Note that I lightly watered her maybe once or twice between October and April and she was kept indoors in moderate light.

So even though it would cause more stress I opted to take her back out of that soil and let her sit out for a day to dry and removed as much soil from the roots before putting her back into her original pot with an even grittier mix.

For those 8 years she's been in 50% cactus mix and 50% perlite but it did seem like it was holding a bit too much water when I made the same mixture this time around (her old mix wasn't holding any water or nutrition for that matter because of its age). I pruned a few squishy brown roots away but there weren't many that looked bad and her roots seemed good for the most part.

Now she's in around 25% cactus mix, 50% perlite, and 25% sand. I have not watered her since moving her into this new mix and it is 100% bone dry. I'm afraid to water her. She does have new growth down inside where her stalks are spreading open as well as a few aerial roots. Her stalks aren't squishy at all just weak and yellow on the inside but I'm not sure if they are yellow just because light never reached the inner parts before. Is this just stress doing this or something else?? 😭 when should I water her? Thank you!!
Thumb of 2020-05-22/BotanicalBrittany/07807d


Thumb of 2020-05-22/BotanicalBrittany/7c2650

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
May 22, 2020 3:04 PM CST
Welcome!

Your big mistake was watering immediately after repotting. When you repot a cactus, it is nearly impossible not to damage roots. Cactus, unlike other plants, tend to suck up every bit of moisture their little roots can get around. That causes rot. So the best advice on after repotting care is don't water for at least a week.

The only thing you can do at this point is care for it and hope it recovers. Time will tell. It will start looking better or it will turn into a pile of slime. I doubt it will ever stand up straight again.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org

BotanicalBrittany
May 22, 2020 4:14 PM CST
I am afraid that is what happened even though I waited a week to water her. It had been probably since January since I last watered then I repotted her. After that I waited a week and watered her 😓 At first I thought her spreading out like this was because of her roots being disturbed and she was shaken loose as I removed a lot of the old soil from her root ball. Then I realized by the second week in May that she was not recovering from the repot and seemed to be doing poorly so I let her dry out and i put her in dry soil. I wont be watering for quite some time now. Time will tell. Thank you! Would you keep her in a south facing window indoors for now? I have a south facing window in my sunroom but it isnt heated in there. Our nighttime temps here are in the 50s for now. I planned on keeping her out of any cool places until she hopefully heals.

BotanicalBrittany
May 22, 2020 5:42 PM CST
DaisyI said: Welcome!

Your big mistake was watering immediately after repotting. When you repot a cactus, it is nearly impossible not to damage roots. Cactus, unlike other plants, tend to suck up every bit of moisture their little roots can get around. That causes rot. So the best advice on after repotting care is don't water for at least a week.

The only thing you can do at this point is care for it and hope it recovers. Time will tell. It will start looking better or it will turn into a pile of slime. I doubt it will ever stand up straight again.


I guess I should have quoted you for my above reply so you would see it. Thank you for your response! We will see what happens I suppose!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
May 23, 2020 10:57 AM CST
I would leave it in as much light as possible. The roots can't heal without good photosynthesis going on.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org

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