Help! I think I've killed my Easter Cactus...

tamra-mtMay 21, 2009

Help! I think I've really done it this time...

I don't know for sure what it is, but think it's an Easter Cactus from the pics I could find. I got it from a neighbor about 6 years ago. It never bloomed until we moved to our new house, 5 years ago, and put in the front window which faces south.

Being in NW MT, our seasons have been hard for me to figure out since I was raised in CA. Right now they say it's Spring, staying light until almost 10pm and I think the sun rises about 6am? I'm never awake at that time, so any help would be appreciated. In the winter, it gets dark around 4:30pm and stays dark until 7am? again, not an early riser. It's still too cold for Annuals, but my perennial bed is planted and so I've started on my house plants.

The thing is, this cactus was invading my living room and was blooming like crazy more than 2x's a year with nice bright red flowers. Although my Husband loved the flowers, he was complaining about how the plant was taking over our picture window and that it was encroaching on the TV view, so I cut it way back!

Then I watered it till it was overflowing.

Now, I have red spots on the ?leaves? do cactus have leaves? Some are flat, some have 3 sides and the a few of the new ones have 4 sides. I did leave a few of the shorter links, so you could imagine just how big it was! I don't have the option to post pics, so I've posted them at my website here:

I just noticed that a few have turned yellow and fell off, a sure sign of over watering I think from what I've read here, but how to I fix these problems?

Anybody have any ideas as to how to save this thing? If you tell me to take a cutting, "just in case", please tell me how. I've always just stuck things in water or dirt and they do the rest. Never used a rooting compound in my life! Also, we are on well water and have high calcium and have a soft water system, but the cold from the kitchen isn't filtered and I use that to water plants.

It's the only Cacti I have and it reminds me so much of my Grandmother's garden. She had just about every cactus you could own! I loved the fuzzy one but learned early on, not to mess with Cacti.

Also, I have no idea as to what the soil condition is, it's in a plastic 13qt container with a bottom attached, and due to surgery last Dec, I'm afraid to try and transplant it by myself because the thing is still so darn big. It doesn't appear to be too heavy, just awkward to attempt by myself. Not too confident here with my Cacti abilities...

Thanks for you help! If anyone can help me, you guys can! If anybody lives close to Trout Creek or Thompson Falls, I'll put it in my car with whatever I need if you'll help me transplant it! (Within a 100 miles +/-) It's about that far to the nearest Walmart, in Idaho... Gotta love Montana!

Cheers, Tamra

PS. Thanks so much to those of you: Pirategirl, Mentha, Maidinmontana, etc. for your earlier posts. I've enjoyed reading them here and in the Hoya's. I now know that the bumpy thingies that are on the vines are NOT harmful, just rooters, and that the silver blotches are supposed to be there! Also, don't know about the baggie thing to propagate, I've just stuck the vines back into the dirt and look what it looks like now. I got this with the Cactus both of which appeared dead. Usually I revive plants, not kill them. oops!

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Only a few cacti have leaves, and Easter cactus is not one of them, it is the stem segments you are referring to.

Yes, take a few cuttings. If the roots are lost, you will be better off with young segments as old, hardened segments at the base of the plant can be difficult to root. If they survive that is, root rot often causes the segments closest to the soil to die. Easter cacti are sensitive and will often drop segments if they are sick. If you find an Easter cactus puzzle on the floor one day (happened to me twice) you will automatically have a lot of cuttings. Otherwise cut off pieces of 1-3 segments with a sharp knife. Some people root them in water, other (like me) in damp sand or white moss or directly in potting compost. If you do not root them in water the cuttings should heal heal in a shaded spot for a week or so first.

Red spots sometimes heal by themselves, but they can also be the result of a fungal disease that will kill the whole plant if untreated. Remove affected segments, just in case.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:30AM
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I just looked at the pictures, I cannot see any typical red infection spots, just a small discolouration that does not look dangerous (yet). I don't like that yellow colour, I wonder if it lacking some kind of nutrient?

This kind of cactus does not like hard water, by the way, I think it is time to unpot it and look at the roots and soil. I am afraid I am too far away to help you handle it, but I would have liked to ...

Well, it is indeed an Easter cactus (probably a hybrid), it is not dehydrated and has many healthy-looking parts, so it should be possible to salvage.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:46AM
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prayerrock(zone 5)

It looks like it would do fine with repotting in good cactus mix with very good draining soil..dont overwater it! I only water mine once a week at most. It may be in some shock from being cut back so much and then overwatered. But repotting it in some dry soil should help. then just give it a few days and water very sparingly.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 4:17PM
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