Christmas Cactus Falling Apart!

kitha1215(z8/Central Louisiana)December 16, 2007

My friend bought me a Christmas Cactus last year for my birthday (which was yesterday! :) ) and it did fine. Well, this time around many of the cactus pieces are falling off of the plant; some of the falling pieces have buds on them and some of them don't. What's causing this? I water it according to how it's supposed to be watered. It's blooming right now but I just don't know why some of the pieces are falling off. Someone please help me b/c it's special to me and I don't want it to die. Thanx in advance!

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Mine started falling apart this past summer because it was too dry. I was watering it like a desert cactus instead of a tropical cactus. Right now I am watering mine once a week in the bathtub with warm water.I have flowers and buds.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 3:05AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hi, Kitha, what are the temperatures like in your living space? What sort of heating system do you use?

Secondly, how *are* you watering?
How much water, how frequently, warm or cold water, watering from the top of the soil or from the bottom of the pot?

Many questions, as you can see.

As Passion for Flowers mentioned, a dry plant could be the issue. If you do increase waterings, make sure not to move the plant from its present location (which everyone around here says will cause bud drop).

Good luck!


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 3:12PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Pls. check the rootball, is it hard as a rock? If so, that plant can't drink & that's why it's falling apart. You'd have to soak the bottom really well to soften the mix well enough to remove it from the roots, change the mix completely (search here for mix info).

If it's falling apart, something's very wrong, often it's the mix hardening up like that.

You might try removing a few sections to pot up separately to try & save some of it.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 5:12PM
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kitha1215(z8/Central Louisiana)

Thank you all for your comments, however, could it be possible that it's rotting at the crown? B/c the parts that come off are green but they're coming off of brown rotten looking pieces. If this sounds like the problem then what do I do to fix it? By the way I felt the root ball like you suggested pirate and it didn't seem hard. I'm just realizing that it's been moist for quite some time so does it sound like it's a rotting problem?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 5:51PM
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    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 8:11PM
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kitha1215(z8/Central Louisiana)

Lol Thank You!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 7:01PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Are the dropping sections sort of thin & papery? If so, this happens sometimes, I've heard of other folks experiencing it; it's the segments becoming like that (thin like you could almost see thru them)? That's happened to me a couple of times over the yrs. If that's what's going on, I'd suggest careful watering & mostly observation. If it's that, it may subside after a time.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2007 at 12:23AM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

I have one that I bought from a store 4 yrs ago and it has always dropped branches like crazy. It started out a nice gallon size planter w/3 fairly large starts in the same container. Now has just one decent size segment left. The others dropped off.

I made starts from some of the dropped segments and they have never dropped a section. Both the baby and mother plant get identical treatment except the soil/pot they are in. I think its something to do with the soil and water retention on mine.

Happens more when the temp. is cooler. I suspect the soil retains water longer in that condition but conversly it dries out faster when warmer. I frequently find the plant too dry in warmer temps during spring/summer.

Now that it's done flowering I have repotted to my standard potting mix with Soil Moist crystals. I've found with other plants that these help prevent both over & underwatering- keep soil evenly moist. Hopefully that will solve my problem. Maybe an idea for you?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 5:53PM
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kilngod z6b(Zone 6b)

Kitha, Really old sections at the base of an xmas cactus will often become "barky"/leathery looking. When you say rotted looking pieces, are you describing this? If it were truly rotting, it would become mushy and seem like it was dissolving.

Overall, branches falling off sounds like a "too dry" issue. Are the branch segments really flat (not enough stored water), or thick in the centers (good amount of stored water)?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 9:17AM
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