Ask a Question forum: Cactus issues

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Manchester
Haydnbam
Feb 3, 2018 3:05 PM CST
Hi everyone I'm looking for some advice please. I have owned this cactus/succulent for 2 years now and for some reason the smaller one of the two has started going brown and appears to be working its way down the plant from the top. I have checked for pests and there are no pests in sight. I'm unsure if I should cut away the top part of the cactus which seems unhealthy would this save the bottom part of the plant which appears in good health? Could you kindly advise me your thoughts please it would be greatly appreciated thankyou
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Name: Bill
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BigBill
Feb 3, 2018 6:24 PM CST
I looks like some type of rot perhaps spreading from the inside out? You could cut the affected part down below the brown into clean tissue and then treat the cut by dusting with cinnamon.
But if it is indeed spreading from the inside out, it may have already spread too far and will soon appear in the other spires too.
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Name: Daisy I
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DaisyI
Feb 3, 2018 9:36 PM CST
Your cactus is a Euphorbia. BigBill is right, it looks like rot. If you decide to try to cut the rot out, use a sharp knife, clean it between each cut with alcohol so you don't spread the rot to healthy tissue. Healthy tissue is green. Brown indicates rot.
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Manchester
Haydnbam
Feb 4, 2018 1:44 AM CST
Thankyou very kindly for your replies i will try to cut the infected sections of the plant and hopefully fingers crossed it will not spread to the bottom section of the plant. Thankyou again
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Feb 4, 2018 11:41 AM CST
I suspect the problem originates in the roots as a result of your Euphorbia's not getting enough light or not being watered properly. It is not a pest or disease problem.

Succulents are very good at surviving a long time with improper light and water without showing any symptoms. Once the symptoms are obvious, the plant is often in serious condition.

You can try cutting away the dead tissue, but that may not help. Make sure you have it located right in front of a very sunny window and allow the soil to dry very deep into the pot before adding only a small amount of water.

Good luck. Let's hope you have caught it in time!
Will Creed
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Faridat
Feb 4, 2018 11:52 AM CST
I'd cut it down to the point where I could see no more rot inside the plant, starting from the top, piece by piece. When you see that it is clear, you can put on the cut some cinnamon or even better sulphur. I hope your plant recovers!
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Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Feb 4, 2018 12:40 PM CST
Whenever handling or pruning a succulent Euphorbia, be mindful of the sap which tends to ooze under pressure when the skin is broken. The sap is an irritant, so avoid getting it on your hands or especially your face. It will also form a crust on your tools if you don't get most of it off while it's wet. I actually have a special saw I use on my succulent Euphorbias that I never clean... I'd rather have the crust than a big rash. Smiling

The large succulent Euphorbias (trees when given a chance) tend to fare poorly indoors under low light conditions. The more light, the better indoors. Right by your sunniest window, ideally.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Feb 4, 2018 12:43 PM (+)]
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Manchester
Haydnbam
Feb 4, 2018 12:50 PM CST
Thankyou again for your replies I really appreciate all of your time and expertese. I have cut back the infected section of the plant and dusted the cut with cinnamon. Am I ok to leave the cinnamon on the open cut or should I clear it away? Could I ask how much water you recommend I give my Euphorbia? In the summer months I have been watering it 100ml every 2 weeks and feeding it on the 4th week. Then In the winter I have been watering it 100ml once a month. I was concerned about underwatering but I think it's better to underwater than overwater and it seems to have been happy with the routine until this issue I encountered. Thanks again for your time
Name: Will Creed
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WillC
Feb 4, 2018 12:57 PM CST
100 ml or about 3 ounces of water may not be sufficient to reach the lower portion of the roots. Hard to tell because we don't know the size of the pot. It is better to water thoroughly and then wait longer if necessary between waterings.

As I mentioned previously, improper light and watering do not show up as symptoms on Euphorbias for a long time. That you are now seeing symptoms does not mean that you have done something incorrectly just recently. It is more indicative a problem that has been ongoing.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Baja
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Baja_Costero
Feb 4, 2018 1:11 PM CST
I agree.

Also: no more fertilizer for a long time... wait until the plant has fully recovered, like a year or more. Never fertilize in the winter (assuming indoors in a low light situation). Use a very low dose if and when you do.

The danger with not watering to completion (that is, until water comes out the holes in the bottom of the pot) is that you are not flushing the soil. Over extended time the salt in the water (and especially in the fertilizer) can build up and frustrate the situation for your succulent if you don't flush semi-regularly. I prefer to water to saturation (usually in more than one pass, just to be sure) to get that flushing action. But do not leave the plant sitting in water afterwards, and wait until the soil is dry at depth to water again.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Feb 4, 2018 1:12 PM (+)]
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Manchester
Haydnbam
Feb 4, 2018 1:22 PM CST
That's brilliant advice everyone. I think I have just been scared of overwatering my Euphorbia. Would you reccomend I give it lots more water? The plant pot it is in measures 10 inches wide and 7 and a 1/2 inches tall? Thanks again
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Feb 4, 2018 1:54 PM CST
Yes, water it thoroughly as Baja described. I don't see any nearby windows in the photos. Light is critical. If your Euphorbia does not get enough light, then nothing else you do will matter. It must be right in front of a completely uncovered sunny window.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Manchester
Haydnbam
Feb 4, 2018 2:08 PM CST
There is a window to the left hand side of the plant so it gets light during the day but not all day. I suppose I could move my plant into the conservatory however it does get really cold in the conservatory at night here in England but the light conditions would be so much better during the day. I'm thinking I'm going to put this plant on my bedroom windowsill this would receive so much more light here all day. Thankyou again for all your help
Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
Feb 4, 2018 3:38 PM CST
Most folks are surprised to learn how much reduced the light is on the side of a sunny window as opposed to being right in front of it. That is especially true of the side of the that faces away from the window. Do whatever you can to improve the light.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Manchester
Haydnbam
Feb 4, 2018 3:58 PM CST
That's fantastic hopefully I have all the information needed now to save my Euphorbia. Thankyou all for your help kindest of wishes from Haydn Thank You!

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