Ask a Question forum: Are my cactus rotting please help??

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Texas
HobbyistB
Mar 5, 2018 11:37 AM CST
I have three cactus that are my baby's/hobby's & from the smallest one (sweet pea) he has a redish growth on the bottom by roots, I think I might have over watered & have been letting him dry out. It has went down some but still there.
Thumb of 2018-03-05/HobbyistB/69ba4e
Next issue I have is (gg) & she's soft to touch & turning white from the bottom up please tell me this is not rot I've only watered her once when I bought her. Which was just a few weeks ago..


Thumb of 2018-03-05/HobbyistB/d276e9

Ok so last one (plankton) has a yellow discoloration on it & don't know if I should cut it? Or them?? sulfur & wait 2 plant again? Please help

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Mar 5, 2018 12:39 PM CST
The change in color is less of a danger sign if it's not accompanied by a softening of the succulent tissue underneath and does not spread over time. Not to say one can't lead to another, but rot is something you can often feel better than you can see.

When you remove plants from the soil, try to repot them at the level they were originally, which usually is the base of the above-ground body, where the body meets the roots. If you bury them deeper than they were originally, you run the risk of the buried succulence rotting out. It looks like that may have happened at some point to the first cactus. When green tissue is buried it often turns brown just because it no longer is exposed to sunlight. Not a danger sign per se but evidence of that part being moved lower. Anyway, once done, I don't see much benefit in going back... this just general advice to bear in mind for the future.

I'd offer the following advice about watering, which you will have to adapt to your local conditions. Water well, until water comes out the holes in the bottom, so that the soil gets really properly saturated. Then empty the saucer or move your plant to a new one, so it doesn't sit in a lake of water afterwards. Wait until the soil is dry or near dry at depth (which will happen later than it does at the surface) to water again. A cycle of properly wet and properly dry is what I'd aim for, but the actual timing will depend on the temperature, humidity, light, and container... maybe every couple of weeks indoors with good light, maybe less often if the plants don't "see" the sun for hours a day or it's cold indoors.

As for the second cactus, it sounds like it was already going soft when you got it. You are going to have to try to do surgery if you want to save it. Cut straight across the stem above the rot (you have to leave a margin of healthy tissue above the soft part to be sure you leave all the rot behind), let the cutting sit in a bright place with good air flow for a couple of weeks to heal, then pot it up in a new pot with new soil. Try to bury as little stem as possible (half an inch is fine) when you set the cutting up to root. Provide strong light from there on out and water only when the soil is dry.

Third cactus looks like maybe it's rotting out from the bottom, or maybe not. It may be hard to know for sure until it's already happened. To avoid that possibility, you can root a cutting of this plant too, as described above. Try to sterilize your knife with alcohol in between cuts if you find yourself inadvertently cutting into a rotted part.

Winter is not usually a great time to start cactus cuttings, but obviously you do what you gotta do. Smiling The issues this time of year mostly have to do with light and temperature. The combination of low light, cool temps, and excess water can be fatal to many cacti. You can mitigate the first two to some extent by watering carefully, but you can also look for a brighter spot if there's one available. Ideally these plants should "see" the sun for hours a day, which means they will do best on the windowsill right by your brightest unobstructed south-facing window.

I don't treat the exposed areas on cuttings with anything but time and good air flow... The most important thing is to not water them (or your succulents in general for that matter) right after you pot them up. Give them a few days to a week without water to allow them time to heal and adjust to their new location.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Mar 5, 2018 12:44 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Mar 5, 2018 1:45 PM CST
I agree with everything Baja has said. One caution: Healthy cactus tissue is green. If you see any brown, you haven't gotten all the rot yet. Sterilize your knife between cuts.
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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Texas
HobbyistB
Mar 5, 2018 2:46 PM CST
Thank You! Ok thank you so much for your advice & what about sulfur after cutting??
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Mar 5, 2018 3:10 PM CST
No need. If you like. But rub as much as you can off the cutting before planting it.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Mar 5, 2018 4:49 PM CST
Fresh air is the best thing for cactus and succulent cuttings. Not everything needs a condiment.
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

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Texas
HobbyistB
Mar 5, 2018 6:09 PM CST
Ok & thanks for the fast response. I just did the surgery on 2nd (gg) & 3rd (plankton) cacti & didn't see any signs of rot first cuts, but I did just above root to see if it was rotted & from what looks like a healthy cacti to me!! but I'm no expert D'Oh! So please let me know what you think should I do? Should i go ahead & cut above coloration on 2nd cacti? Oh ya & where the coloration is on the 2nd one it's hard not soft.. just soft towards the top
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Mar 5, 2018 6:12 PM CST
Photos??
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

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Texas
HobbyistB
Mar 5, 2018 6:16 PM CST
2nd cacti (gg)

Thumb of 2018-03-06/HobbyistB/5d0ad6


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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Mar 5, 2018 6:42 PM CST
Looks good.
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

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Texas
HobbyistB
Mar 5, 2018 6:54 PM CST
That's what i thought also but I am a newbie so thanks for the help.. Have a good day or night 😁 & God bless..

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