Ask a Question forum: San Pedro emergency =[ - root rot??

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Name: Robotzik 90
Prince George, BC, Canada (Zone 4a)
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robotzik90
Oct 9, 2017 10:36 PM CST
Hey,

So I brought back from Peru this beautiful sanpedro cactus.

It started stretching, was planning to cut it, all was well for a while... until about a week ago. (had him about a hear and a half now)

Noticed the soil isn't drying nearly fast enough, which is probably due to the colder weather and increased humidity.
Now there's a hole in the base and I'm wondering what to do!! Can it dry out? Should I put hydrogen peroxide on it? =[ So sad. He needs urgent help. Little one not doing too well either, overwatered =[ how to fix?


Thumb of 2017-10-10/robotzik90/d717dc



[Last edited by robotzik90 - Oct 9, 2017 11:38 PM (+)]
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Name: Robotzik 90
Prince George, BC, Canada (Zone 4a)
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robotzik90
Oct 9, 2017 11:32 PM CST
I haven't gotten any replies yet and I'm wondering if maybe it's the quality of the photo.

Here's a better picture of the hole...

My hopes are that it's small enough that it will dry out without needing to be sectioned off.
I put peroxide on it and placed it under a grow light that has a bit of a heat source. Any words of wisdom infinitely apprechiated. I moved up North last year, and I lost three 2-3 ft tall cacti to root rot. These little guys survived, now I see I have another victim. Crying
Thumb of 2017-10-10/robotzik90/738b71

Sad
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Oct 10, 2017 8:44 AM CST
Posting so early in the morning it may take a while for most folks to wake up to read your question. Please be patient.

Are you in Canada?

Cut the nasty part off, rub with true cinnamon powder. Allow to dry. If you conditions are too cold, yes, please , bring the cutting inside and allow it a bit of warmth.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Oct 10, 2017 9:00 AM CST
Hello robotzik90, it may go shorter, but I would still cut off the lower part till I get to clean, fresh part, dab some cinnamon and just lay it somewhere where it is warm and let it callus that part. It may take quite a while to dry out, just depends on your ambient conditions there.

If it has callused properly, then use a new batch of very well draining and gritty soil. This plant prefers dry, desert-like conditions, so if your previous soil was not draining well and humidity too high, then it is like a death sentence to it.

But there is hope for that plant, just got to be very patient and allow it to be kept dry, warm and callus properly.

If it does manage to callus, just put on top of the soil, do not bury it too deep. Use a much smaller and not too deep container with drainage holes. You may have to use some rocks or stake to help prop it up, till it manages to grow new roots again. Cold season is nap time for cacti, so it will not need watering, and will wait it out till the more ideal temps of sustained 80F and higher, longer daytime hours returns.
[Last edited by tarev - Oct 10, 2017 9:02 AM (+)]
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Name: Robotzik 90
Prince George, BC, Canada (Zone 4a)
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robotzik90
Oct 10, 2017 9:41 AM CST
Thanks for your advice, yes I keep it inside. I wish I could avoid cutting it! It's got all these nice roots, and it seems the hole is not deep enough to get to the core. Set it under some grow lights for heat... wondering how to keep it most warm, Prince George outside gets out to -40C/F. Will the light mess with it's cycles? It's a light I'm growing seedlings in, pretty strong, 12h a day, and warmest place in the house.

On a more adventurous note, has anybody experienced such holes healing up? I put peroxide on it last night (which I read on another forum), and felt it with my finger this morning and it was drying - could it scab over or is it too risky to try leaving it whole? I will leave my decision to cut it till tonight...

Probably have to cut it, however wish I could avoid it. Thank you for the cinnamon tip! I never heard that one? I hope the cinnamon I have is true cinnamon! I'll look it up. Could it be an option to fill the hole with cinnamon and leave it there for a while?Take a look at this good drying job!

Thanks again for helping a fellow plant lover. Acorn
Thumb of 2017-10-10/robotzik90/ce0109

Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Oct 10, 2017 9:51 AM CST
I just use my kitchen cinnamon. Cinnamon has anti-fungal properties.

Here was mine before when I had to cut it, I was very bad with this plant, but just got to do it to save it:
Thumb of 2017-10-10/tarev/339687

Patience will be your friend, it will be a long wait for sure to see it perk up again, it will really wait and take its time, since it is such a slow growing cacti. Good luck!
Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Oct 10, 2017 9:55 AM CST
I've done this before. All you can do is cut it, let it callous and then pot it up and wait quite a long time. Make sure it's in fast draining cacti soil and don't water it very much. Most people overwater and kill them. I had a friend who literally watered one with a teaspoon of water at a time, and his grew very well.
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Oct 10, 2017 10:01 AM CST
Patience, yes, I agree. Thumbs up
@Baja_Costero, do you have anything to add to help this plant survive and thrive?
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 10, 2017 10:17 AM CST
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think there is very little hope at this point. The rot is severe and the plant has been under low light for long enough for it to etiolate pretty bad. The long skinny stretched part at the top is different because the plant was not getting enough sun while it was growing. That part would in theory be what you would usually rely on to root and grow on, but it's not going to work very well.

The only part I see with potential to survive is an intermediate segment above the rot but below the etiolated part. You would have to do careful surgery to remove all rotten parts (sterilize your knife with alcohol between cuts), and remember the vertical orientation (tie a string on one end?) so that you know how to plant it when you try to start it as a cutting. Make sure it has a few weeks to dry out before you put it on top of some well-draining soil (this is very important to avoid repeating history). It will be an uphill battle, though. It would have to sprout roots and sprout new branches at the top cut surface.

The main issue with the original plant, which contributed to its demise, seems to be the lack of light (compounding a potential issue with too much water). If you are going to try to save your plant you have to provide much more sun and be careful with the water. Hours of daily sun, if it's inside, like right by your sunniest south-facing window. The plant should "see" the sun for hours a day.

This may not be possible where you are, which will affect your ability to root any cutting and have a healthy plant grow out. This time of year is about the worst possible for a cactus rescue in Canada just because of the light situation. You are coming into the darkest and shortest days of the year around just the time the cactus would be recovering, and too much water at the wrong time will be a serious problem.

On the up side, the San Pedro cactus should be common enough that you don't have to go to Peru to get it. Smiling It's one of the more common columnar cacti here where they can grow in the ground.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Oct 10, 2017 10:32 AM (+)]
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Name: Robotzik 90
Prince George, BC, Canada (Zone 4a)
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robotzik90
Oct 10, 2017 11:55 AM CST
Thank you for all your kind words!
I feel like I just made a bunch of new friends through my cactus rotting and then finding this community. Let me know if you want to see all my plants =D Northern BC is quite the challenge for growing succulents without a proper setup, but I think I'm doing ok.

So I cut it, yes it was time... I cut it pretty high, wanted to try to get it in one cut. I've done this before, and it worked...

Here are some pictures: wondering if anybody can tell me if my grow lights will be enough sun; there's 3 full spectrum and one heated light bulb there. I get that they're supposed to "see the sun", however, here's my thinking: if I put it in a window it will freeze for sure. Our windows gather frost. It was in front of the sunniest window before, and apparently it didn't do enough. Under the lights, it's warm and with many other succulent friends.

I saved the bottom too... cinnamon in hole and on top. If anybody is interested I can keep you posted on how it does =D

So here's my two main questions now: 1) Lights ok? 2) When do I cut the top elongated bit off, and is there a chance that will ever thicken? 3) (might need to start a new post) I would really appreciate some advice on my other skinny looking cacti if anybody is willing to give me some advice. I didn't realize they are not supposed to do that, although it's true, I never saw it when I was traveling in Peru.

Here's some pictures:


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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 10, 2017 12:19 PM CST
That looks much better than I had imagined. Smiling You are going to have to remove the skinny part at the top (the etiolation is irreversible and will be a stability issue later on) the same way. Just be careful to keep the up/down orientation correct because it won't root and grow well upside down.

It sounds like lights are probably your best option, but try to use something appropriate for plants and go for proper intensity (regular house lights won't work because they're too weak and too far away from the plant). That's out of my range of experience but it is in theory possible.

The cold next to the windows sounds like a pretty bad scene for plants in that location. Cold and wet is pretty much the magic recipe for more rot. So keep your plant a safe distance from the frost. But be aware that the etiolation you have experienced already will repeat itself without a substantial increase in light.

I would love to see a happy ending to this story so please do keep us updated as the situation progresses.

The most common cactus of that type around here is Cereus repandus, also from South America. It grows into a proper tree in the ground, given time, but should be possible to grow in a container for a good while. Take a look at some photos, but that's probably the easiest to find and among the easiest to grow. (Though in all fairness any of the big cacti are going to be difficult under low light conditions.) The main upside for that Cereus is the delicious red fruit it makes, which I highly recommend. Smiling

[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Oct 10, 2017 12:41 PM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

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plantladylin
Oct 10, 2017 12:42 PM CST
Hi robotzik90. Welcome!

It looks like you've received some great advice and I wish you good luck with rooting your San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi)
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Name: Robotzik 90
Prince George, BC, Canada (Zone 4a)
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robotzik90
Oct 10, 2017 1:41 PM CST
That fruit looks delicious! I've been growing echinopsis pachanoi as a sacred cactus to be used in ceremony some day, however long time till then for sure. I just ordered 1000 peruvian torch seeds, so I'll have to post about that once they come here =D

Thanks for the welcome plantladylin, I'm very excited and touched by all the good people I've met on this forum so far.

I'm a second year nursing student who procrastinates exam studying by playing in the dirt. Once my midterms are over I will make a post with my apartment garden/ jungle in the making.

Cheers!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Oct 10, 2017 1:57 PM CST
Robotzik90, Everything Baja said is right on.

An easy way to tell if you have a good light source is with your hand. When you put your hand under the light at the level of your plants, it should form a sharp shadow, as though you were standing out in the full sun looking at your own shadow.

Personally, I wouldn't use cinnamon on cactus. Just letting them sit in a warm dry place will be plenty. It could take weeks before you can put the cutting on the soil. ON the soil. Don't bury the stem, just put the bottom cut end on the soil.
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 10, 2017 2:56 PM CST
I'm with Daisy on the cinnamon and other powder treatments to succulent cuttings: they are not necessary if you let the cutting heal well before you plant it.

Here are a couple of early fall landscape shots of those two cacti in action in the public garden. The surrounding non-succulent vegetation is totally brown, as is normal here this time of year. (Our last rain was half an inch in May, before that back in February.)

Thumb of 2017-10-10/Baja_Costero/eec0d7 Thumb of 2017-10-10/Baja_Costero/677a6c

Come by the cactus & succulent forum if you want to chat more about these plants.

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Name: Robotzik 90
Prince George, BC, Canada (Zone 4a)
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robotzik90
Oct 10, 2017 8:46 PM CST
A little too late to go back on the cinnamon... Nice pictures. Would love to lie down and read a good book on sunny lands. Here it's about to snow, windy, rainy, and it gets dark at around 5. Soon it will get dark even sooner. Pure insanity how I chose to move here (I'm only here for school, 2.5 more years to go...)

I will check the light. A little tricky because they point from all angles. Thinking in investing in a professional growing light... might just be worth my time to gift myself one for Christmas this year. Any recommendations for light Daisyl?

Could the cinnamon harm them? Hopefully it won't burn them. They already have a lighter ring where they got cut. Won't be repotting for at least two months, don't think it's worth it. Last year I repotted them after 3 months and they did fine. Should have more light by then too...

Also, I didn't cut the tip off yet, figured I don't want to shock it too much - wise thought?

Thanks
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Oct 10, 2017 9:20 PM CST
Cutting off the tip... Are you eventually going to cut off the tip? If the answer is yes, then cut it off now. The plant is surviving on stored energy reserves in the stem until it is able to grow new roots. It will be months until that happens. The extra stem you are planning to cut off is using those reserves but won't be around to help the plant recover.

Lights: Lights don't need to be professional or expensive. A cfl shop light with full spectrum bulbs is a good start. Look for bulbs that are rated at 5500k to 6500k - usually, they are marked as plant lights or grow lights. I don't know how many plants you have but I suspect that you will need at least 4 bulbs, maybe more. Cactus are full sun plants - the more light you can give them, the better off they will be. The lights will have to be hung pretty low to the plants to be affective.

The lights will help you too. Have you heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? It is a form of depression brought on by lack of sunlight in winter months. You might want to start studying in your new sunshine bright plant area.
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: Rob Duval
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robertduval14
Oct 10, 2017 9:38 PM CST

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robotzik90 said:I've been growing echinopsis pachanoi as a sacred cactus to be used in ceremony


You're gonna want a good 12 inch cutting for that.

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Oct 11, 2017 8:51 AM CST
The cinnamon is fine, not a problem, just not necessary. Continue to use it if you like.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Oct 11, 2017 9:58 AM (+)]
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Name: Robotzik 90
Prince George, BC, Canada (Zone 4a)
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robotzik90
Oct 12, 2017 12:43 PM CST
robertduval14 said:

You're gonna want a good 12 inch cutting for that.


That's the dream! I'd like to have a cactus forest - I doubt it will happen soon, but maybe in about 10 - 15 - 20 years =D First to figure out how to stop rotting the ones that grow big enough, lol.

ili

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