Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: What is this discoloration?

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Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
Mar 13, 2017 2:58 AM CST
Does anyone know exactly what this discoloration is? I had it happen to a cutting once before, it kept spreading and then the cutting shriveled. An infection or maybe a fungus?
Thumb of 2017-03-13/cahdg6891/1797a9

Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Mar 13, 2017 11:33 AM CST
Well the plant has no roots so it is either drying out very rapidly or a fungus or bacteria are taking the opportunity for the plant being under stress to attack and kill it.

Cut into the worst spot, if it is wet and gooey it is rot associated with a fungus or bacteria, if it is dry it is just the plant not been able to cope without having roots.

Usually most chollas can take some time without roots before needing to be planted so roots can grow, but not always. I have had cholla cuttings (well sections that fell off the plants in my yard) sit around for weeks and look fine and root fine, but on occasion a section will just not be happy.

Did you already have it in a pot to root it? If you did was it in wet soil? If the latter it is probably rot.
Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
Mar 13, 2017 1:29 PM CST
Nope, I haven't had it potted or in soil at all. It's been sitting on a tray in the shade outside for about a week since it arrived. I always let cuttings of any opuntiad dry and callus for 2 weeks or so before I plant them, a little longer if it's chilly or doesn't look callused enough.

When I cut into it, the brown spots on the lower section seemed to be just dry spots, the knife popped/slit the brown skin and underneath it was pretty healthy looking green tissue that looked like it had callused. The upper pad with the most discoloration however was soft and brown on the inside. I saved the bottom pad in case it is still completely healthy. When I cut it off, the tissue connecting the pads was completely green and so was the flesh below the worst brown spots on the upper pad. Hopefully whatever made it turn entered through the top portion and the bottom half survives. Going to buy another cutting just to be safe though.

The other time I saw this happen to a cutting, after a few weeks it was so shriveled that it looked virtually mummified.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 13, 2017 1:40 PM CST
Hi Paul, I see similar damage when my plant gets exposed to cold and high humidity, not even being rained on. Just high humidity overnight and cold mornings, it seems enough to cause such damage.
Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
Mar 13, 2017 5:16 PM CST
Maybe this cutting got some of that "freezer damage" too before it was mailed out Blinking
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
Mar 13, 2017 5:32 PM CST
Oh so it was mailed to you recently? That could also be it..it takes awhile for the cold damage to manifest, especially if mailed during the height of our winter storms.
Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
Mar 13, 2017 7:13 PM CST
Yep, it shipped from Colorado.
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!
Composter Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener
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tarev
Mar 13, 2017 7:25 PM CST
It does remind me of my Plumerias when they get that cold damage, the remedy I do will be to cut to a healthy part, apply cinnamon, and keep warm and dry. Don't know if it will work for your plant, and it will become really short. But better short than totally lost if the damage continues to spread.
Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
cahdg6891
Mar 13, 2017 10:49 PM CST
Agreed Smiling I didn't know about dipping the cut end in cinnamon, I read about it just now after you mentioned it. I will do that too.

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