Ask a Question forum: Wrinkled looking Cactus

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MINNESOTA
NdMaPlants
Apr 23, 2018 7:57 PM CST
I have had this cactus for a while now and have not really paid attention to it unless I water it. The cactus gets lots of light. Recently, I have noticed that the cactus look shriveled and wrinkly and has faded from green to a borderline yellow color. Do you know how I can get my cactus back to full health? Also, the cactus has weird white specks on it. Do you know what those are? Thanks.

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Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
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quercusnut
Apr 23, 2018 8:39 PM CST
That is a Euphorbia. Not exactly sure of the species but looks like trigona.
The white specks are probably sap.
I suspect you might be overwatering and killing the roots. Not sure.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Apr 23, 2018 8:43 PM CST
can you wipe the white specks off? Do they look like specks of cotton?
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

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 23, 2018 9:08 PM CST
If so, they are probably mealy bugs. Remove a ball of the cottony stuff and squeeze some between your fingers. If there's a hard bug in there, you probably have mealy bugs. Clean up the whole plant manually and keep an eye out in case they return.

The plant is a cactus not a Euphorbia. Those look like proper areoles to me. If that white stuff at the base was Euphorbia sap, it would be congealed and hard, or liquid and milky. You can break the skin somewhere (carefully, with a sharp blade) and it will ooze sap if it's Euphorbia... that's an easy test if you have doubts. Don't touch the sap with your bare skin.

The plant looks like it is about to branch everywhere in a big way. It is surprising that it remained solitary (no branches) for so long before it got started, but you can expect it to sprawl everywhere once the branches become proper stems. Those areas are going to attract mealy bug activity (the bugs tend to home in on fresh new growth where the nutrients must be more available).

The dehydration you're seeing (shriveling and wrinkling) could be within the range of survivability. Is the stem hard or has it gone soft anywhere? My guess would be something is not working below ground. The roots may not be taking up water, or maybe you're not watering enough, or maybe you watered too much and now the roots have rotted away. These are all possibilities.

Have there been any recent changes in how you have cared for the plant? It looks okay to me.
Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
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quercusnut
Apr 23, 2018 9:24 PM CST
Ha. I think I need new glasses. Thanks for the correction, Baja. Sighing!
Name: Mindi Hammerstone
Tracy, CA (Zone 9b)
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MindiHammerstone
Apr 23, 2018 9:57 PM CST
If you blow up the photo it looks fuzzy to me
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Apr 23, 2018 10:17 PM CST
DaisyI said:can you wipe the white specks off? Do they look like specks of cotton?


Oh, sorry! I didn't finish my thought. Its been a long weekend. Sighing! I suspect you have mealy bugs. Smiling
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

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
MINNESOTA
NdMaPlants
Apr 28, 2018 4:00 PM CST
@Daisyl @Baja_Costero
The white specks have orangey goo when I wiped them off.
Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
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quercusnut
Apr 28, 2018 4:47 PM CST
The nasty mealies. I use neem oil and insecticidal soap.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Apr 28, 2018 7:42 PM CST
Fun fact: carmine (cochineal) red, a natural dye used in products ranging from lipstick to British Army uniforms, is produced from an insect pest of cacti similar to yours. It was the second most valuable export of early colonial Mexico, after silver.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Apr 28, 2018 7:43 PM (+)]
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MINNESOTA
NdMaPlants
Apr 28, 2018 8:18 PM CST
@Daisyl @Baja_Costero
The white specks have orangey goo when I wiped them off.
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
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Baja_Costero
Apr 28, 2018 9:22 PM CST
Just keep an eye out to be sure they don't come back, and your plant should be fine. Smiling

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