Gymnocalycium not rooting - Your input, please

LatinLady(6 New York City)April 27, 2014

This posting seems to have gotten "lost" in another post, so I'm reposting to highlight it here -

Six months ago, I received what I believe to be Gymnocalycium (mihanovichii friedrichii?) pups in two varieties, a smooth bodied green one with rounded inward pointing spines and a 'lumpy' bodied reddish brown one with straight outward pointing spines.

The reddish brown one has not grown ONE single root during the entire winter. I have Googled the plant to see if this brown/red one grows on its own in soil - It does. Why doesn't mine have roots?

The color makes it appear to be dead but it's alive and solid, not hollow & dessicated. I really need to understand why it doesn't have any roots...does it require a host, like the colored red/yellow/orange "Moon Cactus" does? Should I lance and graft them onto Hylocereus? I know how to do that...I've successfully grafted many moon cactus pups.

I received these together with the greener variety pictured, kept them both in the same pot all winter, treated both the same and the green one has rooted. I just transplanted into separate pots. The spines alone tell me they are two different Gymno varieties. The color has remained consistently the same as when I first received it. The soil looks different, but it is the same succulent mix...I just watered the green one. Since the other has no roots, I only watered scantly.

Looking forward to your response.

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LatinLady(6 New York City)

This is what the underside looks like. My apologies for the unfocused photo...It's the best I can do and hope it's helpful.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 8:23AM
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LatinLady(6 New York City)

Please...I need an expert opinion on what to do concerning these cactus pups. They are 6 months old but don't have any roots. I would like to know whether this is normal. I'm concerned they may die and am ready to graft onto Hylocereus or Echinopsis if necessary.

Thank you so much for your input.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 1:51PM
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First of all, they're in too deep a pot to root effectively. You should use a shallow pot with a thin layer of soil, bottom heat, ambient warmth and only misting to root them. To me, they're goners, but cactus surprise is always sometimes on the menu.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 9:26PM
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I would cut out the brown part of the plant, dipped the rest in rooting hormone and then in a shallow pot filled with send.
It worked for me numerous times..

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:54PM
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LatinLady(6 New York City)

Thank you for responding.

Wow, really?? "too deep a pot..."??? The pot they're in is 1.5" tall and there is nothing but 1" of cactus mix in there, probably a tablespoon in total. The pups are sitting on top of the soil, which is kept relatively dry with just a periodic misting.

As I mentioned in my initial posting, the green ones rooted just fine and they were all together all winter. There is no "ambient warmth" because they just came through a cold New York winter. Perhaps the very reason why they haven't rooted.

I'll take "cactus surprise!" I'm a little more positive and optimistic and don't consider them 'gonners' at all, because they are firm, with no soft or dessicated areas. Also, the red/brown hues are just as vibrant as the day I received them. They had just been removed from the mother plant that day. I'll be patient...that little pot is not bothering me at all.

I imagine you have experience rooting these red/brown ones in the past. How long has it normally taken? Also, have you ever grafted on onto echinopsis which, to me, they look very similar to?

All the best.

This post was edited by LatinLady on Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 23:27

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:06PM
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LatinLady(6 New York City)

Nik - Thanks for your positive response. The "brown part" isn't really brown (as in dead) at all. It's firm...just lost a little color because that's the part that was touching the soil. Should I lance the bottom in an X to give the roots a chance to form? Maybe add a tent over the pot for humidity? What do you think? It's still cold here and was actually 40 degrees today.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:12PM
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LatinLady(6 New York City)


I just scraped off a superficial tiny spot on the underside of one of the pups and it's red under there and very much alive. So it's not like the bottom is "dried out" or anything like that. I wonder why it never rooted?

Do you still recommend I lop off the bottom? I really don't think it's necessary. I have a tendency to believe they are still dormant due to cold weather. Please stay with me.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:43PM
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I never grafted plants, but few times I found cactus ( different varieties:Gymno, mamms..) struggling due to loosing roots ( probably rot that ends up drying out ), cutting the layer from the bottom and applying root hormon powder always produced roots really quickly.
I do leave in FL, and the last few I saved was this winter when nights were in 40's and days in 50's-so the temperature wasn't the factor as long as they get good light exposure.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:46AM
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LatinLady(6 New York City)

Thank you, Nik...Because the pups are not dry at all, I am going to just lance them with an X at the bottom and add a little rooting hormone to see if they will root. I think that cross opening in the center is all they need to root. I'll let you know what happens.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:16AM
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