Did they glue a flower onto my cacti?!?!

blutarskiFebruary 18, 2008

I bought a dish garden from a box store. (I have no idea what kind of cacti are in it. although they all look nice and SEEM healthy.)

Anyhoo, one has a purplish flower on it. My wife (after I bought it, natch) says "Hey, what's all that goo underneath the flower? Did they GLUE it on?"

Do nurseries do this? How will this affect the plant, and will I be able to take the flower off once it wilts?

Also, I noticed the stones on top of the soil are glued together. How am I to check the soil to see if it's dry? Should I chip a bit off, or remove them altogether?

Finally- no water until spring, right?

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shrubs_n_bulbs(z8/9 UK)

Yes they do and yes they did. Complain, its the only way they'll stop. Us serious addicts complain about this from time to time but we aren't the major buyers of this type of cactus.

The flower will not wilt. The petals are actually bracts from a real flower that is used in flower arranging because they last almost forever. They even open and close in response to temperature and humidity changes.

You may be able to remove the flower by softening the glue with heat, but there will most likely be some minor scarring at least. If the glue is right at the apex of the plant there is a good chance that the growing point has been damaged and your cactus will not grow. Some species will produce pups or side shoots in this condition, otherwise they are brain-dead.

Remove the plant and the glued-together stones from the pot. Then remove all the soil from the roots, it is unsuitable and will kill your plant sooner or later. Replant with a lot more grit or perlite, with some stones if you like the look but not glued together, and leave dry for a few weeks. It should be ready for a little water by about March, but major watering will be later in spring.

Introduce your plant to direct sun gradually, it may have been in a dark place for weeks or months. It will certainly need as much sun as you can give at this time of year but depending on the species and where you live, afternoon shade may be needed in summer.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 11:49AM
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I guess that is the plant equivalent of wearing a toupee.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 1:33PM
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I'm trying to get the stones out of the dish garden. Whomever put them there glued them to stay. The soil underneath is as hard as concrete.

What's the safest way to get the plants out of the soil? Seriously, I could barely scrape the dirt with the knife I was using.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 8:58PM
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minflick(9b/7, Boulder Creek, CA)

Can you get a flat head screw driver and lever it out? That's what I did, but my plant was a teeny pine tree my mother gave me, and it was already dead... I kinda punched down through close to the pot rim, not by the plant. I liked the pot though, so I spent about 1/2 an hour getting all the rock and 'dead dirt' crap out of it. Pot now has a nice sempervivum in it!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 9:47PM
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bigshoes213(7 Sardis, Ms)

Needle nose pliers works wonders for removing the glued stones on my bonsai. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 12:58AM
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amazindirt(7A mid-TN)

I have removed many of those glued-on strawflowers. Usually a little patience will do the trick. You can use your fingernails or something like a toothpick to get up under the glue, then just keep gently picking at it until it raises off the spines. Usually the glue is just in the spines. IMHO, unless the hot glue has oozed down onto the flesh of the cactus, usually there's no serious damage done.

For removing the dirt -- give the pot a good soaking to soften up that concrete, THEN pry it out of the pot. You'll be taking the plants out of that wet dirt anyway, so they'll be able to dry out again pretty quick.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 9:39AM
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with a grapefruit spoon and some frustration-fueled effort, I've gotten enough of the stones out. I'll soak the soil and unpot the cacti.

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 3:48PM
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