Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: How can I help my special cactus?

Views: 222, Replies: 13 » Jump to the end
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Jul 5, 2016 9:01 PM CST
I have a variegated gymno that was shipped to me from another country a month ago. 75% is yellow/albino and 25% is normal green. The green side is looking good, but the yellow side has slowly been shrinking and getting wrinkled and some tiny white lines, I think it might be too much light burning it due to its color. Yellow side is slightly soft green is hard and firm. This cactus has tiny roots.

I have been putting it in water to soak an hour a day thinking the tiny roots aren't getting water fast enough from the soil before it dries, plus sun indoors might be dehydrating it. I say this as no brown rot is visible and the tiny roots plus lack of color on most of it probably has the poor thing drying up quicker than normal. But being it has tiny roots I can't overwater either.

Any thoughts?
[Last edited by keithp2012 - Jul 5, 2016 9:02 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1203396 (1)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
Image
tarev
Jul 6, 2016 6:27 PM CST
What is the temperature around it?

I do not think soaking in water will be good for it. Have never done it for any succulent, they just do not like it.
[Last edited by tarev - Jul 7, 2016 8:33 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1204152 (2)
Name: April
San Francisco (Zone 9b)
Cactus and Succulents
Image
alovealoe
Jul 6, 2016 7:20 PM CST
Soaking the roots in water every day is not good. If you think the soil is drying out before the roots are absorbing any water, then adjust your soil to hold water a little bit longer. Reduce the light exposure and/or intensity to see if that helps.
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
Image
Baja_Costero
Jul 6, 2016 7:42 PM CST
keithp2012 said:But being it has tiny roots I can't overwater either.

Any thoughts?


My bias (based on experience) would be to water a plant with tiny roots less than a plant with lots of roots, if anything. In the end it would probably be treated the same, because I'm lazy. But I would try to take into account the root mass when I choose the container for a plant and how much soil to put in it. If the roots fit the pot (with a little extra space) then water management is usually simpler.

I would think that a plant with a well developed root system has the ability to slurp up more water and will dry out the soil in its container faster as a result. If anything. Probably not enough to see a difference, but you never know. So the implied relationship with watering frequency would work the opposite of the way you have envisioned it. Does that make sense?

Watering a cactus every day is almost certainly a recipe for inducing rot, given enough time. I suppose under extreme conditions it might be necessary (like desert heat and zero humidity) but you usually still want the soil to mostly dry out in between watering every time. If you find the soil going dry very fast, then water more often by all means. But be careful, especially with a variegated plant, which will have less interest or need for water and nutrients, given its correspondingly lower metabolic activity. A month out after being shipped transatlantic the plant is probably still a little shocked, too.

What is the exposure like where the cactus is growing? That will affect the plant directly but also the speed with which the soil dries out.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jul 6, 2016 7:53 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1204220 (4)
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Jul 6, 2016 10:02 PM CST
The plant has been on a windowsill, temp has been in the 80's with high humidity lately.

So your saying the small but frequent watering have been too much?

When the cactus was sent it was damp and had a soft indent in the side but that hardened up.

The base by the roots is soft now 😕 I'm not going to water it anymore and the soil is fully dry.

Thumb of 2016-07-07/keithp2012/e632a8
Thumb of 2016-07-07/keithp2012/2927d0

[Last edited by keithp2012 - Jul 6, 2016 10:03 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1204334 (5)
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
Image
tarev
Jul 7, 2016 8:52 AM CST
Hi Keith, temps of 80's not bad, but I have seen them thrive better on much warmer temps . But since the one you have is not the full green type, I would consider growing it outdoors, but in part shade. There is more interaction outdoors for these plants. Observe and leave it alone on one spot. I would consider putting some top dressing to keep the roots cooled..like more pumice or chicken grit, so the base is not sitting too much on the soil.

The softening base is often a sign it is suffering over watering, so try to keep dry, but bring it outdoors in part shade so it can get more air circulation and warmth around it. Maybe try to find a spot where it will get morning sun.

Sometimes we get too engrossed with watering, but forget about air circulation. So try to make a good balance for it, let it enjoy the outdoors in part shade.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jul 7, 2016 11:34 AM CST
Unlike other plants, cactus have no built in shut off valve. It will absorb every drop of water it gets. The interaction between the roots and the top to supply/build the nutrients needed by both systems is a balancing act. Right now, your plant's balancing act is not balanced.

There's no chlorophyll in the white half so the green half has to support the whole top. The roots are not helping right now. The green side is supporting the entire plant and its having to use stored reserves to do it. If it were mine, I would plunk that puppy down on some damp cactus soil and stick it in a shady spot. Water sparingly until the roots grow.

Daisy
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
Image
Baja_Costero
Jul 7, 2016 12:00 PM CST
keithp2012 said:So your saying the small but frequent watering have been too much?


I think what you have described is what I would call bottom watering, which is putting a pot in a tray of water and allowing the water to percolate up into the soil over time. If you are doing this for an hour in a reasonable depth of water, you are watering to completion. At least by my standards. This is a method I regularly use for young seedlings (which require proper saturation of the soil) and I normally declare victory after 20 minutes or so. Now if you were soaking the plant itself, that's a different story and not something I have ever tried.

In my own experience I have found that too much attention to plants can often be more dangerous than too little... it's always a balancing act, in any case. I tip my hat to you.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jul 7, 2016 12:03 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1204757 (8)
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
plantmanager
Jul 7, 2016 12:03 PM CST
In my own experience I have found that too much attention to plants can often be more dangerous than too little... it's always a balancing act, in any case. I tip my hat to you. [/quote]

I was thinking the same thing. Stick it in good cactus soil just a bit damp. Put it in a shady spot and just leave it alone. I've babied a lot of plants to death, and have been so surprised to find great looking plants I've totally forgotten about.

Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Jul 7, 2016 12:40 PM CST
Is the bottom rotting? If I put damp soil that will just make it worse I think? I can put it outside in a shady spot to air it out.
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
Image
Baja_Costero
Jul 7, 2016 12:43 PM CST
Normal potting soil is already a bit moist (certainly not bone dry) and I would think that's plenty for right now. I like the idea of putting it outside in the shade to dry out first, as long as it's not spectacularly hot out there. Smiling
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Jul 7, 2016 2:05 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:Normal potting soil is already a bit moist (certainly not bone dry) and I would think that's plenty for right now. I like the idea of putting it outside in the shade to dry out first, as long as it's not spectacularly hot out there. Smiling


I have a shady spot under tall plants I put the pot, but I'll bring it in at night just in case it decides to rain.
Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: United States of America Winter Sowing Plays in the sandbox Birds Native Plants and Wildflowers Tomato Heads
Vegetable Grower Garden Photography Hybridizer Spiders! Annuals Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
keithp2012
Jul 8, 2016 7:51 PM CST
I woke up today and the cactus looked like a water balloon! Inside ot was liquified with bubbles with only the skin holding in the fluid, which leaked out yellow and sticky. I don't know what happened but it's a goner. 😞
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Adeniums Garden Art
Plumerias Hibiscus Houseplants Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
plantmanager
Jul 8, 2016 9:23 PM CST
Sad Sorry, Keith. I have a feeling those varigated gymnos are very hard to grow.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Cactus and Tender Succulents forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Lilium 'Pink Perfection'"