Easter cactus dropping segments

nydepot(6)July 17, 2011

My Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) purchased from a grocery store in 2005 (now about 18" long) is rapidly losing segments. Sometimes I'll come in the sunroom (where it's been living) and a 6-segment chunk will be on the floor with several other 1-2 chunk pieces around it. This has been going on now since summer started. Temps can range in the 70s in there. I water the same as I always have (1bout once a week).

Any ideas? Thanks.

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hanzrobo(11)

Can you show a photo?

Segments wrinkled or plump? ... What color is it? What's your soil like?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 3:02PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

These plants are noted for dropping segments.

Soil mix will often be the culprit, however, so let's have a look at the mix.
If the mix is too wet, the roots will rot; and if the roots rot, the plant
can't support leaf segments. Similarly, if the plant is truly rootbound, it won't
have enough root to support the upper foliage...in which case it drops segments.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 3:24PM
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nydepot(6)

It's potted in an Epi mix from an Epi forum:

EPI-REPOTTING MIX #2
1) 30 Percent potting soil
2) 30 percent peat
3) 20 percent perlite
4) 10 percent sand

It used to be in regular Miracle Grow potting soil until last summer. Then I repotted into this mix based on their recommendations. My other Christmas/Easter/Thanks./Epis are potted in this too. This particular cactus is near the window and gets the hottest of all of them.

I stuck my "Water Stik" down in the pot and it read dry, "Water Now!" I'm thinking that due to the more free-draining nature of this mix compared to the regular soil, it's too dry. So with the combined heat, it's just in need of water bad.

Sorry for the out of focus leaf photo. That's the leaf drop for today. Notice some segments are fine looking. Others have the dried up piece as the part that separated and the rest of the segments look fine.

http://ny.existingstations.com/junk/IMG_0231.jpg
http://ny.existingstations.com/junk/IMG_0232.jpg

Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 6:03PM
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silenteyesspy

The pictures aren't showing up...and I would suggest pure orchid bark, as Josh had suggested for me a while back...great results since!!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Dzitmoidonc(6)

The mix you have in a plastic pot is iffy. In a clay pot, better. In a coir liner, best. Roots on these need lots of air.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 8:08PM
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mrlike2u(**)

Do not water at this time your roots are jammed and being pinched off in the heavy compacted soil you mentioned if there is to be a good, better, best let it be the mix first then a better pot or both at the same time

The epic mix you listed would work but isn't ideal

Best mix is as suggested as Orchid bark smaller in size than the bagged at HD or Lowes you can soak and then break by hand the big box store bark to the same as repti bark. Repti bark is found at Pet supply stores also a good second choice.

MG Perlite by bag also at big box store suggesting you rinse well then sift to 1/4 inch or larger If you happen to see the orchid bark with perlite in it already
If you insist on a filler then turface is alot better than sands d leaf debris or sifted fines come in as second from turface. I use all three as fillers I suggest for any Epics Zero sand Zero peat Zero any brand name soils

After rinsing Make the mix and soak it again 1-2 hours let dry over night and if you have osmocote on hand add in to the dryer mix before adding into the pot ( see back label) EC will be the hardest to repot and get back to growing to what it was chances are you might not get a flower set next flowering time but I think a bigger EC is better than no EC at all.

It's worth a try to use the dropped segmented leaves to get to root in the new mix
Remaining roots are thin and stringy I dont think your EC is root pot bound but be careful the roots are thin and stringy A small favor if I may hide that water probe in the trash bin You cant see the roots in the old or new mix ( Hi Josh) out on a limb I am but Ill show you and explain EC watering tells if you do toss it.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 10:29PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yep,
I'd re-pot into a mix of 70% small Orchid Bark (fir bark), 15% Perlite, and 15% potting soil.
No sand for container mixes. A wooden kabob skewer stuck into the mix will work to measure
the moisture while you learn to read the "tells" that MrLike mentioned. With jungle cacti,
I simply pot them in free-draining bark, and then water copiously without fear of root-rot.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 7:31PM
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mrlike2u(**)

Six plus years in a sun room Just as a reminder to higher elevate the epics if AC is on .

Still wont cyber arm wrestle yah josh lol

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 11:30PM
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nydepot(6)

I got rid of the water stik.

Also, what is the ratio bark to perlite? And what if I add in a filler? 1 to 1?

Thanks,

Charles

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 1:01PM
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epiphyte78(9)

I'll second Josh's advice. I have most of my potted epiphytic cactus in either straight bark or a bark perlite mix. This means more watering during summer but less worries during our rainy winters. It's a whole heck of a lot easier to recuperate a dehydrated plant than it is to recuperate a rotted one.

A friend of mine recently switched nearly all his cactus/succulents to 100% pumice. I believe that's what the Huntington grows nearly all their succulents in. It drains so well that my friend says he's been watering his plants every day during summer. I gave him a bit of a hard time and said he might as well include some mounted orchids in his collection if he's going to water that frequently.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 1:49PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Exactly, Epiphyte...
sure, it's a little more watering during the Summer, but much less worry during the Winter.
With a pure pumice mix (which I do use for some plants), one needs to be sure to fertilize
when watering so often. The bark mixes hold nutrients slightly better, so I prefer bark.

Charles, try this ratio, which is a nice balance between free-drainage and moisture retention:
5 parts bark, 1 part perlite, 1 part filler (peat moss, potting soil, pumice, turface....).

Josh

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 6:37PM
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