Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Large potted Opuntia tipping over, what to do?

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primthor
Apr 19, 2017 1:17 PM CST
Hi, I bought this beautiful Optunia half a year ago. It's been looking fine, although it's dropped a smaller pad once in a while. And now, it's very much tipping over and has been dropping a couple of larger pads. It's as if it's somehow reached an imbalance that partially uprooted it.

I'm not sure why it would do that? Could it have been "seeking" light and grown in a single direction for too long?

And then I'm not sure what to do about it.. It's a very large pot. I've moved it to a brighter spot and am thinking of somehow tying it up to support it while it regains balance.

Any suggestions much appreciated.


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Name: tarev
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tarev
Apr 19, 2017 2:03 PM CST
I would check your soil and the condition of the roots. Is that container with drainage holes?
How does the stem closest to the soil feel like? Is it feeling firm or does it feel somewhat soft?
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purpleinopp
Apr 19, 2017 3:00 PM CST
Hi & welcome! Alternatives to looking at a "tied up" plant... You could remove some of the pads & stick them back in the pot to take root, to shift the mass to a lower level, and increase the roots-per-foliage ratio. You could put it in a hanging pot, or a heavier pot. Putting a single, fairly large rock in the bottom of a pot, that doesn't block the drain hole, can help lower the center of gravity. You could repot, shifting the angle at which the stem exits the soil (but not the depth at which it is buried.) After that, it may be more wobbly. If so, sitting a few decent-size rocks on the soil surface around the base of the plant can help keep it in place while the roots get situated again.
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Name: Daisy I
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DaisyI
Apr 19, 2017 10:09 PM CST
How big are the pads? You may have adopted one of the Opuntias that get 10 feet tall and wide.
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cahdg6891
Apr 20, 2017 12:16 AM CST
Some Opuntias will lean over and pads will break off if the temperature stays too low for too long. Sounds like yours is inside, so it is probably stressed because it is possibly rootbound but it is for sure hungry for more sunlight, that really long thin pad is a sign it definitely needs more sun. If the pot isn't too massive and hard to handle you can repot it into another pot, but the Opuntias that grow large need to be planted in the ground to really do well, and they all need as much full sun as you can give them. An Opuntia that is grown indoors isn't going to be a happy plant. Green Grin!
[Last edited by cahdg6891 - Apr 20, 2017 12:19 AM (+)]
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primthor
Apr 20, 2017 2:27 AM CST
tarev said:I would check your soil and the condition of the roots. Is that container with drainage holes?
How does the stem closest to the soil feel like? Is it feeling firm or does it feel somewhat soft?


The stem is firm. The soil, there are 2-3 inches of coarse sand and then soil beneath that. At the very bottom there are pebbles to allow water to run off. But no drainage hole (which is a proper nuisance to be without). I've watered it maybe 500ml once a month during winter.

primthor
Apr 20, 2017 2:30 AM CST
DaisyI said:How big are the pads? You may have adopted one of the Opuntias that get 10 feet tall and wide.


That would be wonderful Smiling From soil to the top of the plant in the picture is 30 inches.

primthor
Apr 21, 2017 2:14 AM CST
So.. A friend of mine was pretty fearless about this and repotted it Blinking I'm thinking it's probably going to rot and die from shock, but fingers crossed for a miracle!

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Name: tarev
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tarev
Apr 21, 2017 9:32 AM CST
Hello primthor, looks better repotted, but using the same container with no drainage holes and seems really too sandy, does not sit well with me, sorry.

Drainage holes apart from providing good drainage, allows excess accumulated salt to be washed out when you do have to water your plant. Too much sand, compacts the container. But we all have our preferences, just giving my observations. Good luck, hope your plant grows to your expectation.
[Last edited by tarev - Apr 21, 2017 9:41 AM (+)]
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plantmanager
Apr 21, 2017 9:37 AM CST
If you don't want to re-pot it, let it dry out well. Then tip the pot over and have someone drill holes in the bottom of the pot. We've done this in emergency situations and it does work.
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Baja_Costero
Apr 21, 2017 11:52 AM CST

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Yes, drainage holes are required. Rocks in the bottom are useless without drainage holes, and in my opinion pretty much useless anyway unless your goal is to fill up space in the pot or provide an anchor.

And large potted Opuntias indoors are on the difficult side to start with, owing to the shortage of light and their tendency to want lots of space (many being arborescent in nature).
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 21, 2017 12:42 PM (+)]
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primthor
Apr 22, 2017 5:20 AM CST
Thanks for the tips everyone! I'll definitely figure out to get drainage holes in place, I have quite a few of the same pots and it's annoying to not be able to shower the plants without worry.

@tarev the sand is only at the very top, below it is a proper soil mix, but good to keep in mind

Cheers everyone
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Apr 22, 2017 10:55 AM CST
Hello primthor, try to look for poultry grit (insoluble crushed granite) or pumice, it worked great with my cacti and succulents. Yes, your sand is just on top but in time it will mat quite hard, so in the end no moisture is penetrating in the media below.
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 23, 2017 6:49 AM CST
I've had wonderful experience using aquarium gravel as a topper, a layer just thick enough to cover in unglazed clay & wood pots. I wouldn't try it in a glazed, plastic, or other non-porous container in my climate.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.

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