Help with 2 cacti looking very ill!

jerkchicken23(8)June 11, 2014

Hello All, I'm a self confessed cacti & succulent killer looking for some guidance to quit my murderous ways! I'm hopeful one day I'll be reformed and building greenhouses until my heart's content. Until then, could I ask for some help please?

I've attached photos so y'all can have a good look at my 2 sad fellas, I really haven't a clue what I've done or haven't done to them to make them so ill. They're suffering from what I can tell, two different problems. But as I say, I really don't know. Both became ill early on, so I brought them home thinking they looked healthy and shortly thereafter I managed to mangle them. They're still in their original soil and pots, living on a windowsill indoors. They receive plenty of sun, little water as the UK is quite rainy on the best of days.

I do not over water, that I can say for certain. If anything, underwater and have administered cinnamon to the soil on one of them as I thought at one stage maybe there was too much moisture in the air (seriously I must have been having a day of backwards logic when I did that!). Lots of sun, as much as the UK offers, and I even wrapped the sides of the container (pot) in bubble wrap to try & keep them warm winter past. No freezing or frost on either of them throughout the winter.

I'd be great at caring for them, if I knew what I was doing that was wrong. Also what to do that's right. Any and all advice welcome, thanks so much in advance.

Should I repot with better soil? Add nutrients to current soil? Water more often? Less often?

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Side view of one cacti.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 11:48AM
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different species, different problem?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 11:49AM
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Th mix is to Heavy. You need to clean off the soil from the roots the best you can..peat tends to turn into a hard rock, then you need to pot them up with either a gritty mix or a combo of %50 Cacti and succulent (istrain the Heavy meterial outta it) then ad %50 perlite for BETTER drainage - water only when soil is completely dry thru out, put your finger into the medium if it's damp don't water if its dry give it a drink! And slowly introduce to full Sun over a few days.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 1:22PM
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@KittieKat! Thank you so much! Only one is left now, the other finally packed it in.

I seem to be killing off all types of plant life these days, I shouldn't be trusted!

I'll follow your instructions and hopefully the prickly fella will live! Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 1:19PM
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Keep in mind also that these are plants accustomed to harsh climates where they don't get more than a few inches of rain per year(typically). And usually you will see signs of them needing for water such as wrinkling or changing to a yellow color(although this can indicate other things as well. Sometimes it indicates nothing but age as in a cactus that develop a yellow/brown "stem" at the bottom also called a caudex). I would recommend rock, pumice, granite over perlite though. But there is no harm having perlite in there as well.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 2:37PM
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Good point, actually several good points. And food for thought for me, I need to be a better carer of cacti. I always have the best intentions, but inevitably I kill them. Likely because I've presumed they're simple to care for, and the simple doesn't include over/under watering.

I've had to let go one of the cacti, the other is barely hanging on. I'mnot sure what to do as it seems salvageable. But it's buddies (who he's attached to I think) are all dead. I wouldn't want to damage it any further by reporting it, If there's a better and safer alternative.

Any thoughts? All welcome.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 10:18PM
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