Dying Barrel Questions

The subject line of this question was “My Barrel Cactus” so that’s how we knew what the question was about. There was no photo, so we had to make some assumptions. Photos are always good. Anyway, on to the question.


I have cactus that that has been dying from the base up and turning and orangish yellow. I am wondering if there is anything i can do to save it. Someone told me that you can cut the cactus off above the dying part and then replant it. Can you do this? What do you have to do in order for the cactus to survive if you do this?

Thank you,

A: Mike,

It is possible to save a cacti by cutting off the top un-infected part and then re-rooting. On barrel cactus it is very hard to pull off since they are so big around so it is hard for them to heal. To make the attempt cut above the infection, take a look at the exposed soft tissue and make sure there is no sign of infected tissue (orange, red, brown or black spots), if there is clean your knife in bleach and try cutting higher up. Once all there is is clean green tissue coat with household hydrogen-peroxide to disinfect and to speed up the “callusing”. Let the cut heal in dry warmth until it is scabbed over by what looks like a well scabbed skinned knee after a bike crash…. Then place the plant in dry cactus soil to grow new roots. Do not water until there are signs of roots, six to twelve weeks. You can mist the barrel a little at night (when it’s stoma are open) to give it some water. Keep it warm and in bright light but not in full sun.

Good luck,

[ed: good luck indeed.]

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