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Thread: HELP!!! Frozen Christmas Cactus...

  1. #1

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    Exclamation HELP!!! Frozen Christmas Cactus...

    My mom accidently leaft her christmas cactus out overnight and it froze , so she proceded to cut off all of the branches because they were all frozen and dead looking. It wouldn't be a big deal, but it was her mother's plant, and I would like to have my grandmother's plant stay alive for a while yet, since it has a sentamental value. Is there any hope of saving it? What can I do to make sure that there is the highest probability it will survive and grow again?


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    agentrdy's Avatar
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    First, how cold was the temperature outside?

    The plant is dead if you see extreme frost damage (very very dark green and wet looking) on every last segment of the plant. It means the cells inside have burst, and it should begin to turn yellow and look more dead with time. Also, christmas cactus, as a plant that lives on trees, has a very short underground root system which is thus extremely vulnerable to cold because it hardly has any insulation. If it's a large pot, you might have some buried segments that survived. If the pot was wet, when water freezes it gives off heat, and so this might also have preserved segments under the soil surface as well as the root system. This all depends on how cold it got, and if it's frozen solid and mushy I would say you've got yourself a dead plant. Once the cells have burst there's absolutely no way the plant can repair them.

    Basically, bring the thing inside, warm it up, then dig around and see if you can find nice, juicy green segments that aren't the dark watery green of frost damage. Then try and root them.

    Or, go to the grocery store, pluck one off one of the plants there, and root it like a miracle occurred.

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    It's been one of dem days BigCarnivourKid's Avatar
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    I would have left all the branches on it until after I had thawed the plant out. As is, thaw it out as slowly as possible. I have killed more plants by bringing them inside to thaw out than by leaving them outside to thaw as the day warmed up. Rapid thawing causes as much damage as the freezing does, if not more. I would also save the trimmed branches until you can determine if there is anything salvageable on them when they have thawed.

    I know how you feel about the cactus. I have one that was my grandmother's. It started out in a 6 inch pot and is now in a 12" pot and spreads out about 3 feet. I don't know for sure how old it is for sure, but estimate it's almost as old as I am if not older. It's blooming like crazy right now.

    Edit: Did a search for a previous topic on Christmas cactus and found the age of mine is 65 years old. Give or take a year.
    ---Steve Allinger---

    How come chicken fingers are bigger than buffalo wings?

    My Grow List

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    Thanks for the help! The temperature got to around the 20s F that night. Also pretty much all of the leaves were cut off... I happened to be at college when this occured, and I arrived home for spring break just as she was cutting off the last bit of green. She saved one piece that she thought might be abe to be rooted, but it looks preety much dead to me.

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    You should be able to find another plant at Lowes or Home Depot. There is also a spring or summer version of the plant that should be hitting the stores.

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    Um... I really don't want another christmas cactus. I want this one, because, like I said earlier it was my grandmother's.

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