We Get Questions

We have a little cactus our then ten year old, now 23 year old, son bought while we were in Texas.  it is about seven inches tall, in a little terra cota pot, has sent out, in the past year, two little tiny baby branches that are now nestled in the pot, too.  The initial plant has fallen out of the little pot last month while we were moving,now the bottom of it looks sickly to me, some yellowish coloration coming in. How do I nurse it back to full health??


Set hubby’s toothbrush next to it for your size referencing! What kind of cactus is it, and must I cut it apart?? to save it?

thanks much… I look forward to your insight and guidance!

The cactus needs to get into a bigger pot with fresh soil. It is hard to tell what species it is since it has been underpotted (and also probably it wants more direct sunlight), and thus it’s growth is a bit unusual. However, the key issue is the yellowish color at the bottom. If it is soft there, then there is rot started. If it is as firm as the rest of the plant, then it is fine.

If there is no rot, then carefully repot into a bigger pot with fresh dry well-draining cactus soil; keep it dry through the winter. Around late March, you can add some kelp meal to the soil and start watering on your normal schedule.

If it is rot, then to rescue the plant you will need to cut the top of the plant off above any rot and check to make sure the cutting has no rot on the cut part at all. Spray the cut end with household peroxide to help it heal. Let the cutting dry for 2 weeks, and then plant in fresh, dry soil in a bigger pot. Keep dry until late March, and then start watering on your regular schedule.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes,

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February 2024

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