Need Help with Christmas/Easter Cactus!

Enterotoxigenic00July 19, 2012

I also am one of those who have been 'lurking' and learning. I have a large collection of plants in and out of our home. Thanks to those here I did a complete search of the plants and found the dreaded little white fuzzies on the underside of leaves of my ficus that I saved years ago from an employer. It thank goodness is in a room by itself. I believe the critters were eradicated. An inspection is done weekly and so far so good.

My problem now is with an easter cactus. I have several christmas cacti that I have had for years and now have a passion for easter cactus. And watch out curly spider plants you're next on my list! The problem is recently after many months of great health and new growth is a few are dropping leaves and one of easter cactus looked good on the outside but had softened and rotted in a stem close to the soil.

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I'll bet that the mix holds too much moisture.
Can you tell us what kind of a mix you used, or better yet post a picture of the mix?

Fine-grade "Orchid Bark" (fir bark), mixed with a bit of Perlite or Pumice, works great.
The key is superior drainage and aeration - you want a mix that can be watered frequently
without holding excessive amounts of moisture.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 8:40PM
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I'm not sure what the mix is, I purchased the plants in a large do it yourself store. The soil (?) feels spongy when wet and then feels hard and packed when dry. I purchased Perlite and looked for Orchid bark. The orchid bark I found seemed very large so I'm holding out until I find the correct size, is there a certain brand or name? I am planning to repot plants Sunday after an exam....yep, exam on Sunday.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:40PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I use E.B. Stone's fine-grade Orchid Bark.
You don't want the medium or large sizes, that's for sure.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 11:53PM
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I started using orchid bark as well for my Thankgiving cactus. Works great, should have switched years ago.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 2:48PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Well Entero,

I can't really help you with these, as I don't grow them well (yet) myself.

I am just posting to inform you that your description of your current mix sounds exactly like what peat based mixes tend to do & why many of us try to avoid it. It's soggy when wet, they dries out so completely & hardens off, that it become impossible to wet.

If you choose to change mixes, you'll likely need to soak the plant to soften this rootball enough to get that mix off the plant. I suspect the center of your rootball is completely hard & likely bone dry, essentially depriving the plant of water.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:05PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Some of the coir mixes behave that way, too.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 7:32AM
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