Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Help! Mom's cactus is sick and droopy

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Name: Walter White
(Zone 12a)
HunterSThompson
Jan 26, 2017 3:57 AM CST
Can you help identify this species? It looked fine one day and the next day it collapsed. The same thing happened to one of my opuntias. For these, we water once a week or less--maybe once every two weeks. Temperature these days is 25 Celsius during the day and 15 Celsius at night. Also, if you can help identify the species around it, that'd be nice. Thanks!
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 26, 2017 2:43 PM CST

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Too much sun? Maybe the variegated parts couldn't take it. Death secondary to rot, if it went soft.

I can't help you ID your cactus. The plants in the second picture are two cacti and a Haworthia (coarctata, reinwardtii, or similar).
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jan 26, 2017 11:21 PM CST
It looks like a 'Fairy Castle Cactus' which I wouldn't think was a real cactus if I didn't own one (it's a long story). I think you over-watered. Watering on a schedule is always a problem. With these cactus, over-watering is deadly but under watering is a nuisance.

The last cactus may be Golden Barrel. I'm not sure either.
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

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Name: Walter White
(Zone 12a)
HunterSThompson
Jan 26, 2017 11:25 PM CST
Thanks, Baja. I think it's a Cereus tetragonus (fairy castle cactus). I can't find any information online about its variegated forms, though. I'm guessing the one behind it is Echinocactus, maybe grusonii.

These are all considered to be fairly easy to grow, so I have no idea how my mom could've killed them. She waters once a week at the most too. Oh well.
Name: Walter White
(Zone 12a)
HunterSThompson
Jan 26, 2017 11:28 PM CST
Thanks Daisy, great timing. I think we're agreed on the species. I guess I'll have to take care of all the succulents in my family. That's easily 3 dozen species in total, maybe more.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 27, 2017 12:20 AM CST

Moderator

Well it seems you've got most of them identified, which has to help with care. Thumbs up

By the way, keep an eye out for mealy bugs in and among the crevices on your fairy castle. I let mine go a little too far and it is no more. Smiling

Your daily temperatures sound ideal for these plants, by the way. It like it when temps rise above 20C/68F during the day (helps move moisture out of the soil) and drop below 20 at night (some of these plants like to do their breathing in the cool, relaxed air of the night).
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 27, 2017 11:47 AM CST
Hello HunterSThompson, I would check your existing humidity levels there. These plants likes lower humidity, like 40% and lower. Your temps are okay, but if high humidity and sustained , even at two weeks interval in watering, it will still make conditions too soggy for it.

It is always a shock in my system when I head back to SE Asia, just how much more humid we get there. A real hot sticky feel, making it feel humidity there is at 80% or more.

I would think once a month thorough watering is more recommendable for them.

Do you have a weather station you can use, so it makes you aware your actual humidity levels, so you can adjust watering intervals accordingly. And I do know, right now, there are unusually more rains around, so even if you have them protected indoors, ambient humidity will remain high.
Name: Walter White
(Zone 12a)
HunterSThompson
Jan 27, 2017 12:14 PM CST
Thanks, Tarev. I have two reliable digital thermometers/hygrometers. These days, the RH ranges from 45 to 75. It's drier during the day in direct sunlight. Right now, at 2:00 a.m., for example, it's 16-17 celsius (60 fahrenheit), RH 71%. This afternoon RH was around 50-60%. I'll stop watering for a while, give it another 3 to 4 weeks. Taking care of cacti is sort of like taking care of pet turtles ... feeding them is fun, but they won't say "no" to food and water, so I gotta control myself.
Name: Walter White
(Zone 12a)
HunterSThompson
Jan 27, 2017 12:18 PM CST
A related question:

Were you guys able to find any info on variegated fairy castle cacti? I only saw one that's got a bit of yellow, but we've got them in red and orange here. Also, these cacti look a bit like some members of stapelia. Maybe I'm just blind right now because they're not mine and so I don't see them every day to be familiar enough with them.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 27, 2017 12:43 PM CST
I saw these info on fairy tale cacti. Hope it helps : https://www.gardeningknowhow.c...

https://hiplatina.com/diy-gard...
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 27, 2017 1:30 PM CST

Moderator

I have never seen the variegated version of the fairy castle, though I must agree it looks more like a stapeliad than a cactus, from afar.

tarev said:These plants likes lower humidity, like 40% and lower. Your temps are okay, but if high humidity and sustained , even at two weeks interval in watering, it will still make conditions too soggy for it.


Our humidity averages around 80% when our temps are in that range, and that hasn't been problematic for my succulents. Certain desert plants may have an issue with humidity, but it's a small minority of what I have sampled. Given temps in the range I mentioned before, and using a mix of 50% pumice, I water my outdoor plants once a week (mostly) and my full-grown indoor succulents once every 2 weeks (mostly). You'll arrive at the right number by observing the soil and the plants.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 27, 2017 1:36 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jan 27, 2017 2:02 PM CST
Weather is so different in the Far East. Cannot really compare the feeling of humidity there vs. what we have here. It is more sustained and intense there day after day . That is why I asked Hunter if he has something to measure their humidity levels. Good to know he has a reliable one, so he can adjust watering accordingly.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Jan 27, 2017 2:49 PM CST

Moderator

I'm pretty sure there will not be a great need for measurement of relative humidity, barring the effects of air conditioning.

http://www.taiwan.climatemps.c...

Reading about climate, a few interesting factoids relating our situation here in mild coastal Baja California with Taiwan. Both span the Tropic of Cancer and include both subtropical and tropical areas. Both have persistent high humidity based on their proximity to the ocean. Both have temperatures moderated in winter and summer by the ocean. Two huge differences from here in particular are the rainfall (10x ours) and the temperature (about 10C warmer than ours).
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jan 27, 2017 3:15 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jan 27, 2017 3:04 PM CST
There's one easy way to figure it out. Run your finger down the ridge of one of those columns. If its a Fairy Castle Cactus, you will have thorns in your finger. If Stapeliad, you won't. Smiling
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

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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tarev
Jan 27, 2017 3:36 PM CST
Such is our varying micro climates. Hunter, I do hope you will continue to update us how your plants grow.



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