rotten cactus? – Questions and Answers Greasy plants

Piccolo cactus

Response : rotten cactus ?

Dear Lisa,

cactus are plants native to the desert areas of Central and South America; in nature they live in very sunny places, and during the ages they have adapted in all their parts to withstand large quantities of direct sunlight every day; they are also cultivated at home, in Europe, but it is definitely not the most suitable environment, because the climate is always that of a fake spring, with about 20 ° C throughout the year, and the brightness is never enough.

But usually, these plants are so resistant, that even if the conditions of cultivation are not ideal, they survive; I am not saying that they are always in good health, they develop and flourish, but surely they survive.

Clearly, if the conditions of cultivation are slightly different from those necessary for the life of the plant, the damages that occur are almost never serious; but if we leave a cactacea in the complete darkness, or in the half-light, maybe even with the humid pot of water, then the plant will deteriorate very quickly, prey to diseases of various kinds, such as root rot and fungal diseases of the stem.

When the rottenness attacks a cactus, it does so starting from areas of the stem, at times just no points where there were holes in the epidermis of the plant, caused by impacts or by the presence of insects; or it starts from the roots, especially if the plant is cultivated in a very humid substratum. Hopes of saving your plant depend on where the rot started, and especially how far it has penetrated the plant.

Unfortunately, to save it, it is necessary to remove the diseased areas, and keep only the healthy parts, with the epidermis well green, healthy, free of holes or stains of any kind, and the internal fleshiness firm, clear and compact. We proceed directly cutting the cactus, removing with a well sharpened and clean cutter all the dark, soft, unhealthy looking parts.

If the rottenness has penetrated deeply into the stem, then the stem is divided in sectors, making the cuts over and under the sick zones, in the hope to find some sections not yet affected by the rottenness. The success of this operation also depends on the size of the plant: in 153 cm of stem, it is hoped that at least one slice about twenty centimeters high is still healthy.

Of course, if the rot is radical, and you have noticed it because of the ruined top, then it may also be that the center of the cactus is already completely compromised, in which case, renounce all hope and throw it in the dumpster.

If, on the contrary, you are able to save some healthy slices, sprinkle them with a veil of systemic fungicide (you will find several in the nursery, and in the DIY shops) and let them dry up for two or three days, in a warm, luminous, and dry place; then, place the slices in new pots, clean and with fresh soil, and wait for them to root.

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