Avatar for Matt1304
Nov 25, 2020 7:13 AM CST

Hi I'm very new to he cacti and succulent game.

Having trouble with a new cacti I bought. Anyone any ideas what could be wrong here?
Thumb of 2020-11-25/Matt1304/05324c
Thumb of 2020-11-25/Matt1304/e7c7d2
Image
Nov 25, 2020 7:57 AM CST
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Texas Plant Identifier
I can see that it's in a cache container. I think rot has consumed the three smaller barrels. A cause would be staying too wet. When you've watered, do you remove it from the cache container and let it drain thoroughly? If that assessment is correct, it may already be too late. However, the two larger barrels look okay in the photo. If that were my plant, I'd probably closely examine the base of the two larger barrels and check for any signs of rot. If they still look okay, I'd probably go further and remove them from the container and examine the root area. Let them dry a while before repotting in soil that drains quickly and let them dry between watering intervals. Check for softness in the barrels. If you can detect gooey soft areas, rot will be likely be what's happened/happening with your plant. Good luck.
Avatar for Matt1304
Nov 25, 2020 8:01 AM CST

Many thanks for your help. I'll try and salvage the 2 remaining ones. During the winter months I had been told to only water once every other week.. Would this be expert opinion?
Image
Nov 25, 2020 9:33 AM CST
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Texas Plant Identifier
Personally, I don't water any plant by a specific schedule. I try to learn when a plant needs water and then try to learn to anticipate that need just prior to it visibly showing the need. There are things that effect watering intervals so they don't remain the same. As plants grow, then tend to need a bit more. When it's very humid, they may not use as much. Hot, low humidity intervals use more water than cool, overcast intervals. The time of year, temperatures, sunlight are are variable.

With respect to cacti in general, I've found that most prefer to dry out between watering intervals however long it takes. They also prefer LOTS of light with many being able to take direct sun all day even in my harsh Texas summer sun. Some prefer a bit less than that in the height of summer, but still do better with considerable light. I think air circulation helps as well. That may allow the soil median to dry faster. Plants in general have a tendency to take up water rather quickly and once they are full, what's left in the soil is used more gradually. My cacti tend to have longer intervals between getting water than most folks because too much water is more lethal faster than too little water. Mostly they thrive even though I'm in a naturally dry area most of the year. Just some of my thoughts.
Donald
Last edited by needrain Nov 26, 2020 8:07 AM Icon for preview
Avatar for leafypete
Nov 25, 2020 1:01 PM CST
Name: Pete
South Central Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
They are growing in peat. They will continue to rot until you repot. The problem is that once wet, it is slow to dry. Once dry, it is hard to re-wet. Since this species rests in the short days, re-potting now is less than ideal. I would wait until Feb. Then you should soak the pellet it is in, put it in a water container and gently wiggle it back and forth to allow the roots to stretch and the peat to fall off. Re-pot into a fast draining, low in organic matter, soil in a small pot. Do not water for at least a month.

In the meantime, depending on your indoor temps (cooler is better) maybe water it 1X between now and Feb. Your plant looks like a South American species, not sure which.
Image
Nov 25, 2020 5:35 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
How do you know they are growing in peat, Pete? And how do you know the plant rests during short days?

Welcome! Matt and Pete, by the way Smiling

I see 3 problems. One is the pot is way too small for the plants in it. This is not something you should correct until late winter or spring. Two is a lack of light. The more natural light, the better at this time of year (in the northern hemisphere). Three is a problem with the water cycle. As Donald pointed out, you want the soil to go completely dry in between watering if at all possible. The time required will depend on light and temperature and air flow. Maybe every month or two for the near future if it's not an extremely bright, warm southerly exposure with good air flow.

Try to remove the deflated (rotten) stem if possible but do it carefully, in such a way that you don't spill brown juice all over the rest of the plant. Having some soil exposed to light and air will work wonders for your water issue, because that will promote the drying out of the soil on a regular basis.
Last edited by Baja_Costero Nov 25, 2020 5:37 PM Icon for preview
Image
Nov 25, 2020 5:35 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Stretching roots? Oh, my! Blinking
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
Image
Nov 25, 2020 6:14 PM CST
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Texas Plant Identifier
DaisyI said:Stretching roots? Oh, my! Blinking


Hilarious! I think Pete simply means allowing the roots to spread out of the root ball as the peaty soil comes loose. If you swish a root ball around in a bucket of water that happens unless they are so packed and tangled they retain the container shape. Depends on how long they've been confined in a container and how many roots have grown in that duration. I don't he meant actually stretching (pulling) the roots.
Image
Nov 25, 2020 8:18 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
I find it easier to answer questions if I know generally where Posters live. Even indoor plants are affected by outside conditions. Answers can be a little more specific and accurate with just that small piece of information. Matt and Pete, please update your personal information to include a location. Thank You!

The cactus pot looks like the 6" potted Echinopsis Home Depot sells around here every summer for about $10. Matt's plant looks like it has been overwatered and hasn't gotten sufficent light. The damage was probably done before Matt ever got them.

I purchased a trio with different colored flowers as a gift for my brother in law a few years ago. I repotted them into a big bowl so saw the original soil first hand - there was nothing wrong it.
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
Avatar for Matt1304
Nov 26, 2020 3:32 AM CST

Thanks for all the info everyone. I live in Ireland so not the usual sun levels in texas haha. I will take the advice on and let you all know how everything goes.

Great advice on here. Many thanks again.
Image
Nov 26, 2020 8:18 AM CST
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Texas Plant Identifier
Matt1304 said:Thanks for all the info everyone. I live in Ireland so not the usual sun levels in texas haha. I will take the advice on and let you all know how everything goes.

Great advice on here. Many thanks again.


Ah! The 'Emerald Isle'. My part of Texas would more likely be known as 'The Wasteland'. Your climate is definitely different than mine. No green shamrocks here. But I can get my favorite Guiness Extra Stout beer which is thankfully imported here and Texas does its own version of blarney. Lots of it, in fact Hilarious! .
Avatar for leafypete
Nov 26, 2020 8:58 AM CST
Name: Pete
South Central Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Daisyl, it looks like a tiny pot, maybe 5cm/2in, that cactus plants are grown in. Note the size compared to the glass in the background. Definitely not 6 inches.

They are always grown in peat. Always. I have yet to find a commercial grower that doesn't use peat. If you don't get most of it off at some point, it will come back to bite you. Even when the plant has grown, this peat pellet waits, and some day, after you have transplanted it several times even, this peat will start a spot of rot sometime when it stays wet for an extended period. Been there. I've grown cacti for almost 50 years now (still have 100 species) and have seen quite a few changes. One thing that hasn't changed is the peat to rot progression. So, yeah, let them roots stretch and cast off the peat.

Baja Costero, almost all cacti rest during short days. Some, like the epiphytes, are opportunistic, but a rule of thumb is that winter means rest for a cactus. Lots are very active during the shoulder seasons, spring and fall. A few grow (and bloom) spring, summer and fall, like the Cleistocactus. Sometimes winter is the dry season and temps are way above freezing, think of the many cacti from Minas Gerais, Brazil.(I pick that because it has a wide diversity of species, from true desert to rainforest species.) Most of them grow in late summer and bloom in the fall, despite the fact that most rain falls in Dec there (mid-summer). So if you are to guess on the dormancy of a cactus, guess winter (the short days). I'm coming up blank for names of globular desert cacti that are winter growers (in situ, of course).
The plants pictured are not Mammillarias and kin (Coryphanthas, Escobarias, etc), Ferocacti or Echinocactus, nor some of the more rare ones like Thelocactus. By the process of elimination, the ID of this one will likely lead you to South America. The light green plants, the felted aeroles and the large number of ribs just looks South American. It actually has a Haageocereus look to it, but I wouldn't bet a nickel on that ID.

Sorry to have disturbed anybody. I'll show myself out.
Image
Nov 26, 2020 9:24 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
There's no need for that. I don't think anybody was disturbed. We welcome you, your experience and ideas here on the forum and hope you stick around. Smiling Differences of opinion and experience help keep things lively here.

Those plants are likely not growing in pure peat (which would be a death sentence for most, long term), they are growing in a mix of peat and other stuff. There is no need to remove every last piece of peat from the roots, as any number of growers on this forum will attest to you. Just about every potting mix on the market (in the US, and I suspect most places) contains peat. I guess what I would say in this situation is that just because you do something regularly, or consistently, does not mean it is actually necessary to do that thing. As growers we get into habits (I have plenty of my own) and that precludes us from observing what would happen if we did something different.

It is absolutely untrue in my experience that almost all cacti rest during short days. Maybe indoors in south central Pennsylvania, maybe indoors in Ireland. Not here where they can enjoy outdoor sun year round, or indoors where they occupy a bright, southerly facing windowsill. In fact, if anything, they do more growing during the winter than other seasons (winter being our rainy season, and the sun being less intense). It is also untrue that most cacti have any dormancy period whatsoever if conditions are favorable for growth (indoors or outdoors). Just sharing my experience in a mild climate where conditions are basically favorable for growth year round, indoors or outdoors.
Last edited by Baja_Costero Nov 26, 2020 9:34 AM Icon for preview
Image
Nov 26, 2020 11:06 AM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
leafypete said:Daisyl, it looks like a tiny pot, maybe 5cm/2in, that cactus plants are grown in. Note the size compared to the gla


That glass could be any size between shot glass and giant beer stein.

leafypete said:
They are always grown in peat. Always. I have yet to find a commercial grower that doesn't use peat. If you don't get most of it off at some point, it will come back to bite you. Even when the plant has grown, this peat pellet waits, and some day, after you have transplanted it several times even, this peat will start a spot of rot sometime when it stays wet for an extended period. Been there. I've grown cacti for almost 50 years now (still have 100 species) and have seen quite a few changes. One thing that hasn't changed is the peat to rot progression. So, yeah, let them roots stretch and cast off the peat.


Never say never. I haven't had that experience and usually leave new plants in their pots for at least a couple years.
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
Last edited by DaisyI Nov 26, 2020 11:08 AM Icon for preview
Avatar for leafypete
Nov 26, 2020 11:35 AM CST
Name: Pete
South Central Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
I knew it would get to this.

I would bet the farm that the plants are in peat. And nobody has advocated the need to remove every single mote of peat. The 2 largest suppliers in the US are in Canada or California. Both use peat exclusively for their plants. You may find, at regular greenhouses/ horticulturalists, small plants in other soil (rarely), but peat (with shredded bark, same thing) is all you find. WalMart, Lowes, Home Depot, etc, all have their small cactus pots (and most of their big one too) potted in peat. Even plants that absolutely HATE organic matter on their roots are grown in peat. (Haworthias, I'm looking at you.) Maybe somebody reading this can point to those growers who don't use peat to start their seeds. Naming names in this case might result in people seeking out their plants. These growers should be rewarded I was dismayed that small plants at the mass merchandisers in France also fell victim to the same ill. And yes, as you write, it is a death sentence. Why would the originators care? They sell plants, the plants die, more are bought. The most common plant sold is likely that "Moon Cactus" abomination, in peat of course.

So far as dormancy, I still would like to know the answer to my question: I'm coming up blank for names of globular desert cacti that are winter growers. Winter being Dec/Jan. or July/Aug. I have lots that finish in Nov and plenty that bloom in Feb, but that dec/jan period is pretty quiet.
Image
Nov 26, 2020 11:42 AM CST
Moderator
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
leafypete said:And yes, as you write, it is a death sentence.


Pure peat yes, peat in a mix with other things (essentially all cacti on the US market) no.

All globular desert cacti are winter growers (but not to the exclusion of growing in other seasons) in my experience, given permissive conditions. Indoors and outdoors. You name it. Have I answered your question? Smiling
Last edited by Baja_Costero Nov 26, 2020 12:51 PM Icon for preview
Image
Nov 26, 2020 12:33 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
More importantly, have we answered Matt's question.
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
Image
Nov 26, 2020 1:59 PM CST
Moderator
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers
Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 1
I hope so, I think so. I think this discussion is sort of relevant. Dormancy is a real thing and it's the main reason Matt would probably want to hold back on the water for now (assuming conditions are not extremely bright and warm in Ireland over the winter).

The important conclusion in my mind about dormancy is that low light and low temps are more important triggers than day length or season per se. Dark and cool is when you hold back on the water, in a relative way or an absolute way if necessary. Warm and bright is when you water more often and more freely. I keep my cacti warm and bright, and that gives me security with the watering.

The other conclusion I'd stress is that the watering frequency depends on the mix as much as the other things I have already mentioned (light, temperature, air flow). The reason those cacti got to their current size in a peat-rich mix is that somebody had the watering dialed in (and perhaps also had overhead cover on the greenhouse to keep out the rain). Peat absorbs a lot of water, and a lot of peat quickly becomes a bog. I like a mix of 50% rock (you can use perlite when you repot in the early spring) combined with organic matter (and I use cocofiber instead of peat), because then I can water relatively often without concern about rot. All kinds of crazy mixes can be made to work (in the right climate and location) as long as you get the watering under control.

Water when dry, it's as simple as that. Smiling
Last edited by Baja_Costero Nov 26, 2020 2:05 PM Icon for preview
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.
  • Started by: Matt1304
  • Replies: 17, views: 566
Member Login:

( No account? Join now! )