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Thread: Does anyone here grow cacti?

  1. #1

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    Several months ago my girlfriend bought a small cactus at our local Home Depot. It came in a very small pot and has a large, bulbous red head with little yellow "things" sprouting out all over the top (shows you how much I know about cacti). All was going well for a few months and the little guy grew and flowered a few times. Then a few weeks ago it seemed to get sick. The green stem is now a nasty brownish color, but the head remains red and yellow. She asked my to try to save him and I naturally said yes. The thing is (as I mentioned earlier) I know NOTHING about growing these plants. Right now it's sitting in one of my grow chambers under 80 watts of light.

    Can someone please give me some tips on how I can go about saving this little guy? I have some diluted fertilizer that I use on my CPs...can I use it on the cactus? How often should it be watered? Is 80 watts of light suitable? Can this plant even be saved? I really need to read up on cacti...

  2. #2

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    From your description it sounds like you have one of those typical irradiated Gymnocalycium mihanovichii grafted on a Hylocereus root stock.
    The problem with these is that the scion (top portion) will grow on at the stock's expense, gradually weakening it (which may be what's happening). Is the brown portion soft and mushy? If so, it may be rot.
    What's more, basal shoots from the scion will not root since they've lost the ability to photosynthesize due to the gamma radiation treatment (hence the bright pretty colours) - a wonderful tactic for retailers - with the only way out being to graft them onto fresh stock.

    My advice at this point is to keep it well lit, very dry (substrate and humidity), and at room temperature away from windows and draughts. If there's any rotting, it's most probably due to excessive moisture at this time of year (cool and less sun). This is based on my extremely limited knowledge of these plants, of course, and is pretty much text book with growing cacti.

    Good luck!

    Cheers
    Amori

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the advice Amori. The stalk just seems soft, but I'm not sure if it will peel off. I'll have to check that when I get home. I'll try to keep it as dry as possible and see if it recovers.

  4. #4

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    Forget the skin thing (edited out). It may actually not be wise to physically mess around with it as the season makes it susceptible to pathogens (fungi, bacteria etc.). Also, fight any temptation to feed it right now, since it should be in its "dormant" period. Once growing season kicks in, use a low-nitrogen fertiliser sparingly (follow manufacturer's instructions! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img] )

    Cheers
    Amori

  5. #5

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    Ok, I won't mess with it. How long should I keep it dry for until I water it again?

  6. #6
    白人看不懂 Drosera36's Avatar
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    I found that most of my cacti and succulents like to be bone-dry through most of winter, and regular watering is required in summer when they're outside. So, maybe just keep it dry til spring?

    -Ben
    He who can, does. He who can't, teaches. -George Bernard Shaw
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  7. #7

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    As far as when growing season starts, that all depends on when it gets reasonably warm and sunny in your part of California that it would be happy to go outdoors (not that you need to, but preferable).

    Cheers
    Amori

    EDIT: Ben has hit the nail on its head.

  8. #8

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    Thanks guys. Hopefully the little guy will pull through [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/confused.gif[/img]

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