Dana.K
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:05 pm

Cactus issue

My cactus is turning brown but in an oily way. It almost looks like the top layer of skin is coming away from the plant. It doesn’t look like scale and I can’t find anything when I google it. Does anyone know what could be wrong with my cactus?
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Gary350
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Posts: 4805
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Cactus issue

I can see the cactus tapers down smaller as it gets closer to the soil. That tells me the cactus is having a water & food shortage.

Do you know anything about the cactus? Name? Is it a high elevation cooler weather cactus or low elevation hot weather desert cactus?

I don't know how often you water & feed your cactus but you need to double it for 2 months if the cactus is ok with that then triple it.

I can see a noticeable difference in the top of the cactus vs the bottom of the cactus. Top is very green & straight. Bottom is brown and tapered. Brown is like dead skin.

Put the flower pot in a gallon of water for 30 minutes when the soil turns to mud and falls off the roots plant the cactus in a larger pot with better soil. If you live in the desert use desert soil with about 10% potting soil or use child play sand with a little potting soil mixed in.

Cactus does not like uneven soil moisture like a flower pot where it gets wet when you water it then very dry until the next time it gets water. If you go out into the desert and look at the soil it is dry powder dust on top then 4" to 10" deep soil is moist. Cactus roots get down into the moist soil then they have even soil moisture all the time. There is not much moisture down there but it is very constant soil moisture. A little cactus can grow roots small at threads 30 feet long.

If that were my cactus I would use a larger pot so soil covers the whole bottom brown color part of the cactus. Cactus has the ability to grow roots anywhere soil touches it the whole bottom of your cactus will grow roots.

Cactus can survive the worse weather conditions, snow & ice and 115 degree hot blistering sun but if you give a cactus perfect growing conditions 70 degrees, water, good soil, fertilizer it will grow 1" taller every month.

When I lived in Arizona my cactus grew best outside on the east side of the house where they got cool morning sun then shade from 12 noon until dark.

If you have a high elevation cactus it will be ok to water it every day as long as water runs right through the flower pot and out the bottom. If you have a hot weather desert cactus be careful don't give it much water set an ice cube on the soil once a week and let it melt. Your picture makes the cactus look like it is having a water & food shortage, what ever your doing now do it more often.

Dana.K
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Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:05 pm

Re: Cactus issue

Thanks for the response. I’ll definitely repot into a bigger planter, your suggestions make so much sense. It’s the most obvious things that we seem to overlook.

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