We Get Questions


Hello,
Thank you for your informative website!

I have a question that I hope you can help with.

I have one cereus monstrose cactus that I have raised from a pup over the last 4 years and is doing very well. It is a deep green blue color and grows quickly. I was finally able to find what I thought was another beautiful specimen from a local Las Vegas grower.

The plant did seem a bit yellow, so I thought it needed some fertilizer and re-potting.

Unfortunately, when I removed it from it’s soggy sand in a plastic pot, I found it had no root system, but in fact was a large cutting that had been plopped in a pot. There was about 1/2 inch deepĀ of slightly mushy and slimy surface across the entire cut with 2 earthworms living in it, like a slightly rotted apple.

I sliced off about another 1/2 inch above the wet part, across the entire cut, and dipped it in rooting hormone and am leaving it to dry and hopefully callous indoors where it is warm and bright. Is this the correct way to deal with this? I really want to save and eventually plant this gorgeous thing. The cutting is about 12″ tall with a couple of branches. Any suggestions?

Thanks so much!!!!!
Laurie

Laurie,
I am sorry to hear you ended up getting a plant that was not yet fully established, if the rot continues to spread you should consider returning it to the grower, I would be mortified and embarrassed if an un-rooted plant made it on to the sales floor!

You have done the right things so far. You can dip or spray the cut part with regular 3% hydrogen-peroxide, which works as a disinfectant as well as encourages the callus to form faster. Watch the cut area for discoloration and if the rot seems to be coming back you will need to cut higher and start over. After the callus is well formed, which usually takes a couple of weeks (but the peroxide can speed that up) replant in fresh dryish cactus soil and place somewhere warm and bright. Roots should form over the next few months since it is supposedly spring. Do not water for several weeks and then give it a sparing drink. After a month you can give it a real drink and then let it dry out completely before watering again.

Good luck and take care,
Hap

[More back and forth about Miracle Grow and such after the break…]

Thanks Hap.
I dipped it in rooting hormone powder after cutting and have it on a table inside since Saturday. So far it seems pretty dry, but I’ll leave it a while and see what happens.
It’s really beautiful and knobby. Is it too late to use the peroxide or should I wait to see if the rot returns? It is sort of mottled yellowish in color so if all goes well with the rot, and I can ant it once the callous forms, I was thinking of feeding it with some Super Thrive or Miracle grow. Your thoughts?
Thanks again!!
Laurie

Laurie,
It is not too late for peroxide, we spray a couple times on big cuts just make sure and get a good health callus. Until it grows roots it can’t absorb any nutrients so don’t bother fertilizing until it does. You might think about misting it with Liquid Kelp in the evening or night when it’s stoma’s are open (cactus breath only at night to conserve water) so “foliar feeding” only works on cacti and succulents after dark. We grow using slow release organics so I can’t recommend Miracle Grow and I have to admit that I am not convinced Super Thrive does anything, but shouldn’t hurt.

I am suspect of products that don’t tell you what are in them or have peer reviewed science to back them up… but I admit freely I am a science plant nerd and like to keep things simple and as sustainable as possible.
Hap


    
    
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