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Thread: Christmas cactus

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    technoracer's Avatar
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    hello everyone!

    my christmas cactus has been "wilted" since last fall, and i don't have a clue why. i thought that it was just too cold for it and that it would perk back up once it got warm again, but it hasn't. this is a rather large, and old plant that my grandmother had before she passed away.

    about 9 months before it wilted, i changed the soil out for some fresh stuff from desert dans cactus' (it's a mix of peat, perlite, washed sand, and fertilizer). everything was fine for 9 months or so (untill it got cold last fall). it's in the same pot it has been for years, and it's in the same spot it always has been in. the stem is not mushy.

    and thoughts on why it wilted, or how to perk it back up?

    thanks a bunch!
    tech...
    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    Some days you're the pigeon, some days you're the statue.

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    are you giving it enough light and water? you can try spraying it's leaves with water so they will absorb water.
    If you think maybe there was too much fertilizer (maybe you forgot and fertilized it when you shouln't have or something) you can bleach out the extra nutrients by watering a lot and letting extra water run out from the bottom of the pot.
    Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish-Euripides
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    Somewhat Unstable superimposedhope's Avatar
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    You may have lost some of the root system, Schlumbergera have very delicate root systems. They grow the best with very restricted and compacted root systems. Are the stems changing any color or are the stems just getting wrinkly?

    Joe
    \"There is nothing here of interest to any nation, as a matter of fact there is nothing here but humans!\"

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    technoracer's Avatar
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    the lighting hasn't changed. i thought that i might be over watering it, so i backed off the water a bit. the soil has fertilizer in it, and i usually water with some miracle grow too, so maybe i do need to flush it out.

    i didn't change the size of the pot, i just changed the soil. the stems aren't changing color. it's just wilted and wrinkly, like you said, joe. thoughts?

    tech...
    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
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    Somewhat Unstable superimposedhope's Avatar
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    I would suggest a good flush. The ferts in the soil are problematic too (I know many people fert regularly) salt buildup is generally a cause or secondary with them being a floppy plant. Schlumbergera is very much an upright plant until larger and even then it is the end branches which should fountain over not the base. The soil should be very heavy in pumice or lava rock something to the effect of like 75% of medium makeup.
    My best advice is to keep it damp and in bright shade and even acclimate to full sun for the summer. Don't overwater and back off on ferts for a while. This should get it standing again.

    Joe
    \"There is nothing here of interest to any nation, as a matter of fact there is nothing here but humans!\"

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    I'd say the comination of less watering and more fertilizer was a bad one. that just makes the roots be in a hypertonic solution which makes the cells loose water (which then makes the leaves and the stems loose water too)
    Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish-Euripides
    wikipedia rocks! (except for species info)(CPers-add your vast knowledge of CPs to wikipedia&#33
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    The book states that these cacti prefer a evenly moist soil. I forget, but I think that they are tropical cacti.

    I potted mine up in a mixture of cactis soil and peat. I do not fertilize mine except rarely with cactus juice.

    Mine seem to be very tough plants. I have let mine wilt and just add water and they perk up.

    I would suggest repotting now. Leave out the added ferts.

    I think they enjoy a filtered light. I put mine in full sun and they did not do good. They may be able to be adapted, but I have not tried this.

    The best one I have seen was in a business. They had it right next to a large window.

    The lobes that grow on them can be pinched off and rooted. Maybe you should take a few in case the plant dies. This way, you will still have a plant.

    Mine has been growing for 30 years and has an almost tree like appearance.

    Tweek
    \"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.\" - EInstein

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    technoracer's Avatar
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    an update!
    two weeks ago, i finally re-read this thread after looking at my very crappy looking cactus. after seeing the post about flushing the soil to remove excessive fertilizers and salts, i took the plant outside, and proceeded to flush the soil many times over the weekend. when i had to leave for work again, i just brought it back inside and put it in it's usual spot.
    fast forward two weeks to yesterday-
    i get home from work, and as usual i check out my plants, and the cactus is looking great! most of the growth has perked back up, and is not all wrinkly as it was before. i'd say it's about 80% recovered right now. i think i'll take it back outside for the rest of this weekend and continue to flush the pot out.

    thanks for all your help!
    tech...
    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    Some days you're the pigeon, some days you're the statue.

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