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Oct 28, 2016 3:27 PM CST
Hello all, not too long ago a friend accidentally knocked over a pot with a cactus (with cacti?) in it. Some potting mixed got knocked out but no apparent damage happened to the cacti. The tallest one in the bunch, however, is kind of loose in the mix, and now (about a month later) has a spot of slight discoloration on top of which the spines have turned whitish and soft instead of orangeish and prickly. Is this because it needs to be planted more firmly (I havn't had a chance to get more mix), or because of another problem? Here are some pictures Smiling

Thumb of 2016-10-28/Ratharax/1bfacf

Thumb of 2016-10-28/Ratharax/22f1f1

Thumb of 2016-10-28/Ratharax/756dde

Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover Bookworm Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape Region: Arizona Region: Southwest Gardening
Oct 28, 2016 4:16 PM CST

How long have you had this cactus? Have you recently changed its location - and has that changed the amount of light it gets? Is it planted in a soil mix you made or is that what it came in?

The thinner whiter-spined spot looks like it is new growth that is not quite getting enough light. Not sure that has anything to do with it having fallen over - though some times loss of root mass can cause similar looking effects, and maybe during the fall some roots broke...

Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
Oct 28, 2016 6:37 PM CST
As I see the problem, it's simply underpaid. Give it some paper money! Big Grin

Just kidding! Welcome! to NGA.

I can't see anything wrong in the photos. The white spot in the center of top of one just looks like a growth point to me. The new growth of spines is often softer than it is after it acquires some age. But maybe I'm not seeing it right.
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Oct 31, 2016 10:35 AM CST
Eye see !!! The big one is getting new growth ### When they start to grow the tips will sometimes have that elongated cone shape before it fills out. If there getting enough lite they will be fine 😄 !!!!
😎😎😎 I tip my hat to you.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

Nov 4, 2016 3:03 PM CST
It came in that soil mix, but I got it from the botany club at my school so I'd hope they know what they're doing. Yes I did recently change its location because its getting too cold to keep it by the window! Thanks for the help. On another, but related note, if one of the cacti in a pot such as the one in the picture needs to be removed for some reason or another, is it important to remove all of its' roots as well so that they don't rot and mess up other roots? Just something I wondered when these fellas got knocked over :)
Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover Bookworm Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape Region: Arizona Region: Southwest Gardening
Nov 4, 2016 4:43 PM CST
It is usually really hard to get all the broken off roots out, and it is probably not going to be a problem for the other plants. Putting one or more in separate pots is not a bad idea, but it may have to wait till it gets warmer again in the spring. Most cacti do not grow very much when it is cold and relatively dark so it will have a harder time overcoming transplantation shock. If for some reason you do have to put one in a separate pot, let it sit with its roots bare for at least a few days in a warm and dry place. Get some fast draining cactus soil from a local nursery or big box store and make sure that that is not too wet. If you can get your hands on some pumice, mix that in with the cactus soil. Perlite can be used as an alternative, but is not as ideal as pumice. Then plant the cactus in that soil at the same depth as it was previously planted. Do not water it - the new soil will have some moisture and that should be enough for the cactus for at least the first week or two - given that it is inside and not getting much light. If the cactus is getting tippy support it with a suitable stake, it is going to take time for the roots to grow out into the new soil and start supporting the cactus.

If the cactus is getting a lot less daylight than before that in all likelihood explains the thinning and color change of spines at the top. I am trying to see if they are a type of Cleistocactus or Echinopsis, but from the pictures I cannot really be sure. Cleistocacti do sometimes have thin new growth, but if it is an Echinopsis the thin growth almost certainly is indicative of too little light or a root problem.

Regarding the mix: stick your finger in it (without getting spines in your finger of course) and see what its consistency is: if it is pretty loose and granular that is good, if it behaves more like a single spongy mass it is probably not an ideal mix for your cacti. If it is spongy it might also still be pretty moist. If it is already too cold to keep your cacti in the window then you definitely need to reduce watering it - cacti actually can take a good amount of cold if they are dry, they will undoubtedly have trouble if they are cold and wet. Here in the Phoenix area - where most of the time we do not really get that much of a winter - a few nights around freezing maybe - I water my potted plants at most twice a month or if it rains (they are outside) not all.

Try to provide it with as much light as you can and if you feel that you have to water make absolutely sure that the soil is dry, if it still wet the cactus does not need to be watered. If the soil stays wet/moist for a really long time it is not a good mix for wintering cacti indoors, it probably is not a good soil mix for growing cacti.
Name: sy
Northern Ireland (Zone 8a)
Region: United Kingdom Native Plants and Wildflowers Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds The WITWIT Badge Container Gardener
Foliage Fan Sempervivums Houseplants Cactus and Succulents Region: New Mexico
Nov 17, 2016 4:37 AM CST
Hows your cacti doin now @Ratharax ?
Looks like Vatricania guentheri (red fox tail)
There is no info in the database for this cacti Espostoa (Espostoa guentheri)
Heat zone 1-2
[Last edited by syzone8aUK - Nov 17, 2016 4:42 AM (+)]
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