Ask a Question forum: Cactus and Succulent Problems

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North Mississipi
Aug 12, 2017 6:38 PM CST
I've owned a small Grafted Gymnocalycium Cultivars cactus for nearly two years now, and have compiled cacti and succulents since then; Euphorbia mammillaris varlegata, a Golden Sedum, Mammillaria Bocasana Roseiflora, and a zebra hawthorthia are all doing fine with my intermittent watering and just getting sun from sitting on my windowsill.

However, two new succulents (unidentified and in the same pot as the zebra cactus) both died almost instantly after I got them. I tried different watering and sunlight to save them but nothing worked.

Now, that first cactus I ever owned, the lollipop cactus, has slowly been fading in color and today I realized the stem has gone hollow and yellowed. It can't hold itself up anymore.

I haven't changed my routine at all and it's been sitting in this same windowsill for a year so I doubt it's the sunlight. Why do you think some of my cacti and succulents dying? All the rest are perfectly healthy and doubling in size and I've never had this problem before.

Thank you so, so much for your time! I hope this is enough detail for you to offer any sort of advice.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Aug 12, 2017 10:28 PM CST

I can help you with the grafted Gymnocalycium. The colored 'lollipop' is not photosynthesizing and so offerng nothing to the relationship between itself and the green cactus (usually a Hylocereus) on the bottom.

2 - 3 years is as good as it gets for these plants. The 'lollipop' is essentially a parasite grafted to the growth tip of the Hylo. The 'lollipop' grows but the Hylo can't. Eventually, the Hylo can't support both and dies, taking the brightly colored Gymno with it.

I can take a guess on why the other two unidentified plants you added to the Haworthia died. It is really difficult to make everyone in a community pot happy, especially if you don't know what care the new plants need. Before you build your next community pot, make sure all members will appreciate the same care.

The second problem is the pot needs to be bigger to commidate more plants so doesn't dry out quickly enough. Because of the way cactus roots work, they need to be dry between waterings.

It is safest to pot your plants separately and do some research on their individual needs.
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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