Ask a Question forum: Is my cactus dying?

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Name: Zero Calven
Canada
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SeasonsOfDespair
Mar 22, 2018 7:07 PM CST
Hello again,I have returned with another question.
I've had this cactus that I have retrieved from Walmart for five years. For these five years,my cactus,Xen,has stayed healthy and green.
Recently,however,this winter for some reason has taken a toll on Xen.
We have just repotted Xen because they were outgrowing their pot they have had for five years.
A few weeks after this,Xen started turning white and loosing their colour.
I chose to put Xen in brighter light and in the presence of more heat.
This seemed to give Xen some of their colour back,but I'm still worried that they may die soon. If there is anything that I can do to continue to nurse Xen back to heath,please do let me know.

Thumb of 2018-03-23/SeasonsOfDespair/f356ea

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 22, 2018 7:59 PM CST
The best thing you can do is avoid disturbing the roots, provide a warm and bright location, and watch for changes. Definitely don't give up yet. What are your options for bright light? If the plant has been going strong for years in a certain location, that location is probably fine.

I suspect that after you repotted the plant, you watered too soon, and maybe some sort of root rot or stem rot got started from an injured part. The timing certainly suggests that. When did you water?

Now is the time to start poking and prodding Xen to see what parts are soft and what parts are becoming loose from the soil. As long as there are no soft parts and the plant still has contact with its roots, just leave it alone.

You will have to exercise discipline with the water. A very bright location will help immensely with that. In an unglazed pot you have excellent evaporation through the sides as well as the top, so the soil will dry out relatively fast. That works in your favor.

With a healthy plant I normally wait until the soil is dry at depth to water, and then water deeply and thoroughly, until water comes out the bottom of the pot. With a plant on the edge you might follow the same general principle, perhaps watering a bit short of saturation the first couple times to be on the safe side.
Name: Zero Calven
Canada
Image
SeasonsOfDespair
Mar 22, 2018 8:09 PM CST
Thank you,in this location,the best light that we can get is through the window in front of Xen,I would set them outside during the day,but it's currently too cold.

Originally,the cactus had been in a window in my room,but the pot is now too big to be sat in the window,so Xen is now in a brighter window in the laundry room.

I let my mother take over watering after we repotted because I was going to be away on vacation for a while,in which I shouldn't have done that because she has never cared for cactus before,and she definitely overwatered,however,I thought it wouldn't hurt much because the pot has drained,but it seems that indeed,there is ome root rot involved.

I checked Xen to see if there were any soft spots,but there aren't,everything seems to still be intact.

I just watered again last night for the first tme in a month.

Thank you for your help,I'll stop watering as often,the seasons changing should work in our favour.
[Last edited by SeasonsOfDespair - Mar 22, 2018 8:13 PM (+)]
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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
Image
Baja_Costero
Mar 22, 2018 8:27 PM CST
Yes, that sounds like a good plan. Thumbs up

The rule of thumb I would apply when repotting any kind of desert cactus would be to wait at least a week to water afterwards. Maybe longer than that if the roots were seriously damaged. Just remember these are tough plants, they can wait a week without water and they'll be fine. But when their broken parts do not heal before they are submerged in dirty water, the infection has a perfect route of entry. Probably 9 times out of 10, problems after repotting are due to watering too soon. This I have to sort of extrapolate because experience has taught me the hard way, and I'm probably overly cautious at this point.
Name: Zero Calven
Canada
Image
SeasonsOfDespair
Apr 3, 2018 4:25 PM CST
I am happy to say that it looks like Xen is starting to green up a little more,but the majority of Xen is still white,pale,and shriveled.
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