Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: What's wrong with this Prickly Pear Pad/cutting?

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awhite522
Feb 23, 2018 2:22 PM CST
Recently got 2 prickly pear cuttings/pads and one of them looks sick/wrong. One of them is nice and green from both sides. I attached pics of the good "healthy" one and the "sick" one.

But the other one looks perfectly health on one side and completely different on the other side. I've got no experience with cactus so Don't know what exactly to expect. I looked everywhere online and can't find anything that looks like this.

I thought it might be scale but usually on other plants if its scale i can peel it off, squeeze it between my nails and they'll be some liquid if it was alive. But this even looks different if I try to peel it off it comes off with some cactus skin and it's completly dry/flakey.

And if it is an insect/pest why would it be only on one side? What else could it be, it even has another pad starting to grow on it which looks perfectly normal?

Is it salvageable, it makes me sad to just throw it out :(

Also (no cactus experience) does this look like a callous, looks fairly dry, it's been almost 3 or 4 days since they were taken, should i still wait couple more days to pot them up?

Thanks so much for any help!

"Sick" side of cactus:

Thumb of 2018-02-23/awhite522/770836

Thumb of 2018-02-23/awhite522/6fbe2d

Thumb of 2018-02-23/awhite522/9d7df5

other normal looking side of this "sick" cactus:

Thumb of 2018-02-23/awhite522/6a77d2

cut end of it:

Thumb of 2018-02-23/awhite522/d8e03b

Other cutting which looks healthy on both sides:

Thumb of 2018-02-23/awhite522/0aadc5

Thumb of 2018-02-23/awhite522/46a6c0

cut end of this cutting:

Thumb of 2018-02-23/awhite522/5b705a

Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Feb 23, 2018 4:50 PM CST
I don't know what is ailing the "sick" cactus, but I bet they will both grow just fine. Prickly Pear is tough.
Porkpal
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Feb 23, 2018 6:10 PM CST
It might have been damaged by falling onto another pad and getting poked full of holes. Time to plant.
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awhite522
Feb 23, 2018 7:00 PM CST
Doubt that it fell on something, it was the only one in the area and was attached to the mother plant, but one side clean and green and the other like that.

So do you guys think it's ok to plant these too together or should be separate? I don't want to get the nice clean one "sick" if it might actually be something bad.

and are you sure the cut end looks ready to plant? Everywhere I see it suggests waiting like 1 week for it to callus over so it doesn't rot, is this how it should look or should be more callused (only been 4 days)?
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Feb 23, 2018 7:45 PM CST
I agree the "sick" pad looks to have suffered mechanical damage. It will not harm its neighbor if you decide to plant them together. The callus seems adequate but waiting longer will not hurt either.
Porkpal
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Feb 23, 2018 8:29 PM CST
If you lay the pads flat on the soil surface, they will root faster. The roots grow from the leaf edges, not the cut bottom.
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: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Feb 23, 2018 8:56 PM CST

Moderator

Yes, I think the roots grow from the areoles (the same place the spines come from) if they make contact with the soil. People who grow prickly pears commercially here actually bury the pads pretty far, or further than I would have thought prudent. Smiling

But if you lay the pads flat on the soil then the roots are going to nail them down to the ground and the plant will grow upward without the benefit of its main stem (the pad used to root) being perpendicular to the ground. I've done the sideways thing, and it's great fun to see prickly pears sprout from just about any angle, but I'd recommend planting the pad upright for long-term stability, burying the bottom quarter or third, using fast draining soil, and providing lots of light.

I would plant them individually for the simple reason that these tend to be pretty huge plants given time, so no need for competition.

My guidelines on how long to wait after taking a cutting would have to do with how much cut surface there is. With the average prickly pear, you can usually pop off a pad with just the right twist, then stick it in the soil without any waiting period, because the joint has a minimal cut area. But if you were to say cut right across through the middle of a pad and then root that piece (with lots of exposed succulent surface area), you really should wait a while for it to heal first. Your pads are on the quick-twist side of this range, and ready to be planted.

The most important thing (after you have waited for a scar to form, if necessary) is to avoid watering right after you pot up the pad. Once a few days to a week have passed, you can proceed with water and not be concerned about things going wrong, as long as you wait for the soil to go dry or nearly so before watering again.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Feb 24, 2018 11:10 AM (+)]
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Hamwild
Mar 1, 2018 7:44 AM CST
Is it possible that's scale? It looks kinda light and I'm not sure if it comes off when you scratch it, but that's what I thought when I first looked at those spots.

awhite522
Mar 7, 2018 7:39 PM CST
Hamwild said:Is it possible that's scale? It looks kinda light and I'm not sure if it comes off when you scratch it, but that's what I thought when I first looked at those spots.


I thought that too at first, but doesn't seem like it, usually live ones look a little plump,, flake off, little bit of residue if you try to squish it between your nails, etc., but this if i scrape it off it comes off with the skin and no sign of life.

And pests don't usually take one side and leave the other perfect...I am just monitoring it at the moment.

I potted them up not too long ago, separately, so far everything looks the same, just the small baby pads that were growing on the cutting have yellowed and shriveled up. But the rest of the pad is still green and firm, and generally looking good so far. I have another baby that's only an inch which was taken with these ones, I thought it wouldn't make it since it was so tiny, and too my surprise it's looking good and firm.

Does anyone know how long it takes to root? I just want them to root and establish but im a bit nervous to test it by pulling it in case any new roots that form get damaged.

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