Is my cacti doomed? Please advise!!

armu01February 21, 2013


I'm new here and apologize if this subject has been covered previously.

I bought my husband a small cacti for Christmas; initially the plant was doing great with rapid growth. We have watered the plant 3 times since we got it in December. The plant has been in the same location, with indirect sunlight the whole time we've had it.

All of a sudden one of the front stalks got soft, shriveled, and overnight it fell. We didn't know what to do, but I suspected it had too much water. I cut the limp stalk and all was well. About 3-4 days later two more stalks softened and fell overnight. At this point, I have no idea if the cactus is doomed or how to save it. If possible, I would like to find a way to keep it alive because my husband is really quite upset that the plant is perishing. It has been at least 2 weeks since we last watered the plant. It has drainage holes in the bottom and does not sit in water.

I was also thinking that maybe the plant was too cold because out complex was having heating issues for a week, but all of my other house plants and tropicals (orchids, nepenthes) made it just fine. It wasn't freezing but was chilly during the day when we were out and the secondary heaters were off.

I have included a picture. Any help is appreciate.

Thank you,


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This is the current state of the cacti

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:00PM
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bikerdoc5968 Z6 SE MI

First off, welcome to the forum. Next, while it is difficult to see sideways, it appears to be not a cactus at all but a succulent in the Euphorbia family, possibly E. enopla. Next, yes, that is rot possibly from too much water or because the soil is not rapid draining or they were wet and got cold. There is some of the plant that might be able to be separated and repotted. Euphorbia can rot overnight so don't beat yourself up over it. If the green portion to the left (down) in your picture is all green, unpot, clean roots, cut away the nasty dark mushy green, then repot in dry gritty mix and allow to stay that way a few days and then water lightly, until you see new growth. This plant likes lots of light. When working with ANY Euphorbia, use protection because the white sap is very caustic.

I'm sure if I've missed something others will chime in and help.


This post was edited by bikerdoc5968 on Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 16:22

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 4:21PM
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When re-potting these always aim for a hands free task ahead of you from start to finish.
A thick foam will help you hold the plant by the thorns A used cut to size bed mattress is an example. A sizable disposable plastic to keep the counter or floor areas of work clean
Apply water mist to exposed white latex leaching areas to help slow them down.
Work methodically think ahead do the re-pot work safely
Avoid the sap latex to any skin contact that Doc speaks of, exposure could cause some rather drastic and possible medical attention results.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:03PM
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