Easter Cactus dropping leaves on me

CactusBoss(Zone 5a)August 9, 2013

I can't seem to get this right. My Easter Cactus is already giving me trouble. I notice before a pad falls off it gets kinda soft(not rot soft) and then a day or two later it falls off. I'm confused as to what I'm doing and I'm afraid I'm gonna lose this plant eventually.

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Pots_Alot

Probably will if it's shedding. It's sort of a tell that to much water being held in the container. Watering to frequently also comes to mind, either watering or not does indicate some type of soil problem.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 8:31PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

It's in a very fast draining mix. The same mix my TC has been in for a while and my TC is doing fine. i use Miracle Grow Moisture Control with LOTS of perlite to improve drainage.

This post was edited by CactusBoss on Fri, Aug 9, 13 at 21:46

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

If it dries too much, it won't be happy, just like TC. Can you show a pic? This sounds strange.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 3:41PM
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Pots_Alot

Ohh yes I recall it now. The ole Miracle grow potting soil amended with perlite
No false label misrepresentation this time either it'll be a "Miracle" if it grows.
Before you post a pic
Do your self a favor remove your non growing unhappy Easter cactus and see what happened to the MG stuff in a spare bowl (even after perlite was added) and post a pic of that too.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 4:27PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

It ain't the soil. turns out it just needed water cause the softish pads got hard after I watered it. plus I did do that soil test before I planted it and and the water drained out really fast!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Pots_Alot

No pic no point made

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 2:42AM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

The pic isn't gonna show much. It looks healthy it just lost like two pads. Plus the top of the soil is covered in perlite so you wouldn't be able to see the soil that much either. Besides tomorrow I'm going out to buy some better potting soil and some orchid bark for this thing. What commercial potting soil is the best? I also plan to use the same thing on my Pothos, Rhipsalis, and Parlor palm just maybe without the bark.

This post was edited by CactusBoss on Sun, Aug 11, 13 at 2:57

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 2:47AM
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bougainvillea(8b/ VA Beach)

For Easter Cactus/Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri, Thanksgiving/ Schlumbergera truncata and Christmas/Schlumbergera x buckleyi, I grow them all in mix of 1:1 of orchid bark mix, perlite and a little amount of African Violet soil.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:05AM
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Pots_Alot

Was not the out side of the pot that should no be of any concern It's what was left in the bowl that may have been of some interest to you.
Reasoning for asking you to empty the soil in to a bowl: Do you know to how much or how little water ( moisture) is/was being retained which will also compact with in an amended MG soil by looking at a few leaves ? How do the roots look ? If you dont look.

If this EC plant is to be " Difficult " or " Picky " I would think you would want to know these things and even more for your own evaluations.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:57AM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

Pots_Alot, I'm gonna give it some REGULAR Miracle Grow and some orchid bark. I think that's okay cause I've used regular Miracle Grow with great results on my houseplants.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 1:04PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

New and improved soil with AV mix, orchid bark, and perlite

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 3:22PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That bark mix should, theoretically, work much better...I can't tell how large the bark is, but under 1/2 inch is best (aka fine-grade Orchid Bark).

Regarding "drainage" - Perlite doesn't technically improve drainage until Perlite makes up the *majority* of the mix (about 70% or more). What Perlite does do is displace water, so that a soil can't hold as much moisture when saturated. That isn't improved drainage....that's reduced moisture retention. It helps the plant, but it's really just a workaround for an inferior soil.

I think you're really going to like the way bark-based mixes work for the Holiday cacti.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 9:57PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

greenman28, yeah i also put some of the same mix(minus the bark) in my Pothos cause i heard they also prefer a slightly acidic soil. And will the EC still do good with bark that size(about 1 inch) cause I don't feel like disturbing this plant again?

This post was edited by CactusBoss on Sun, Aug 11, 13 at 23:24

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 10:33PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

That's much larger than I'd use or recommend.
I can't really say how well it will work, but you'll find out...and hopefully report back, good or ill. Personally, I'd risk disturbing the plant and get it into a finer bark mix - bark 1/2 inch or less.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:09AM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

Hmm CactiGuide says to use coarse orchid bark instead of fine orchid bark. It's not like my plants gonna suffer but i could make it half the size it is now. Have you ever tried using coarse bark? For all I know it could work just as well.

This post was edited by CactusBoss on Mon, Aug 12, 13 at 1:30

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 1:23AM
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Pots_Alot

Fine bark or course bark is six of one kind half a dozen of the other in a sense.

Finer bark takes less time to hold moisture when watering and retains moisture for a shorter time. Chunky courser bark takes longer to absorb moisture and also holds moisture longer

As with most epic cacti both EC and TC holiday cati are with fine thin and longer roots

I am on the side of six of one kind, finer bark allows roots to grip, grow and move more freely VS the half dozen of root growth slowing while growing over the obstacle coarse of chunkier courser bark which is also harder for them to grip.
Either bark will work but in a need to water finer bark can greatly reduce or prevent over watering as finer bark is more willing to accept lesser amounts of watering.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 3:25PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Finer bark, indeed, means more even wetting and drying. That's what I go for.

I've received Orchids in coarse-grade bark and the bark stayed too wet and the roots had rotted. Not an ingredient I'd use for any plant I liked.

Josh

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 12:40PM
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