The Mostest Uniquest Question Evah

We’ve never got a question like this one before. It’s not about how to help a sick cactus even though maybe it’s too late – not at all. The cactus is already dead. So what could the question be, then? Read on…

I am writing in hopes that you can help. My family has had a cactus for over 30 years and recently because of a move to the inner city of Philadelphia the cactus was not able to get enough light and died. I still have the cactus in my apartment and planted. The cactus has a lot of sentimental value to my family as it was my fathers who passed away 10 years ago.

There is nothing I would like to be able to do more than to figure out a way to keep the cactus in our family and in my mothers apartment. Have you ever had experience in preserving a cactus after it is dead. This particular cactus is about 6 feet high and has five sets of branches.

I look forward to your response.

Interesting…. Very interesting. Hap’s reply after the break…

I have not had any experience preserving dead cacti, however I have handled them and think that if they are dried-out fully they could then be “shellacked” and even tinted to give the green live look and they should hold up long term. The hardest part is getting all the water out of the cells without rot starting. I suggest bare-rooting it and putting it somewhere with lots of warmth and air circulation. A fan may help. It may take several months for it to dry out fully. You might check with a local craft store, as they may have someone that has experience drying flowers, though a big cacti would take a huge amount of desiccant and I think air drying might work just as well.

Good luck,

Hap took the question more seriously than I would have.

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