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Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Posted by Dacocoa 5 (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 23, 13 at 14:29

So i've posted about this once before, and I took the advice and put the plant in different soil. Less compact and more perlite. When I was transplanting though, I found the the rootball was all stuck to together, dry and very tight. Just like a root bound ball, but it wasn't. Not even close, there were no roots, really along the sides. It was as if the soil is just stuck and suffocating the plant. I know it's not root bound as the size of the root ball that is stuck together is much smaller than the pot itself. So what could be causing this rot? It felt like the roots were bone dry, but the plant looks like its rotting? When I lay off on water, it seems to get a bit better, then I give it just a sip, literally, and these leaves begin to look like this again. Please help! I don't want to lose this plant, my Nana gave it to me :(


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Here's a close up...


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Could it be over fertilized? None of the others are doing this, but I do recall putting too much fertilizer in it's water when I already had a fertilizer spike in the pot.


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

For some reason, these plants seem to rot on me


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

i would trim all weird looking leaves on the ends, leaving just stubs, bag it and just mist, do not water. it needs to grow new roots. i'd mound almost dry loose new soil on top of the old, around the base to cover at least one segment - the roots will develop from there into new light soil with perlite. and keep it bagged until you see new growth.


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Daco.. Were leaves always that color?

Toss the spikes.. Instead, stick with power/liquid fertilizer.
Leaves don't look like fertilizer damage, but for now I wouldn't fertilize.
If you're concerned you're TC was over-ferilized, leach soil.

Did you withhold fertilizer after TC bloomed? Its suggested, TC/CC needs a 6-week rest period after flowering.

You wrote, the pot is much larger than the rootball.

Over-potting can cause problems, especially if soil is too heavy, and remains wet for prolonged periods. Constantly wet soil causes rot.
What type of soil did you repot with?

TC's that are under-potted are more-likely to flower than over-potted.

In case.......can you root TC's? Perhaps you should cut a couple segments to root. Good luck, Toni


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Thank you for the reply, petrushka! It's just that it is growing new growth, it starts to look real nice when I don't water. This has been going on since January, and I've pinched like 20 segments of this thing, it's just getting smaller and smaller. I'll try out re-rooting it the way you suggested for sure. thanks again!


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Thanks Toni, no, the leaves never had that rotting color. I can and probably should root some healthy segments. It repotted with MG Potting soil mixed with some perlite as the potting soil looks like crap. I think maybe I should buy MG Cactus soil and see how that works.


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Come to think of it, after checking the other holiday cactus I also repotted with this soil a few months ago, they also tend to wilt more now too. I bought 4quart bags of MG Potting Soil from a Local Shaws, (Cheap Hannaford). Could the soil have been bad soil? Could it hold fungi even when dry?


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

How dry are you letting it get? It's called Thanksgiving 'cactus' but it's a jungle cactus, not a desert cactus and doesn't really want to dry completely like a real cactus would. Sounds like when you add water it's "activating" the fertilizer spike and poisoning the plant with too much fertilizer while it's desperately trying to get a drink. Nobody really likes those spike things but whatever you decide, try to stick with one kind of fertilizing so you don't over-do it. Lack of fertilizer would rarely kill any plant, but too much easily could. If you at all remember where in the pot it is, it should be easy to remove.


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Hi there!

Just to add my two cents...you should never fertilize an unhealthy plant, or one that is thirsty. I would completely stop fertilizing until you know you've got healthy roots. That includes removing the spike(s).

I tend to disagree with the whole "underpotting=better" philosophy (ducking my head to avoid blows, lol), because it just doesn't make sense to me. How could a plant that grows in the wild really prefer to be crammed in a teeny container? HOWEVER, these plants, being epiphytes, will not tolerate having soggy soil around them, so I do agree with the "do not over pot" philosophy, as in "extra soil=bad". I think that's what the "underpotters" are getting at, and in this case I guess I may be just splitting hairs. The way I do it is to pot up my plants to the next size pot when their roots start to stick out of the bottom of the pot, or seem otherwise crowded. Plants with weak or damaged root systems are especially vulnerable to being over potted.

Once your plant has developed a healthy root system again, make sure you get the watering schedule right. As purple said, jungle cacti need to be watered more frequently than desert cacti, and do not want to dry out completely before you water them.

I hope it gets better soon!
FF


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

I was looking back at your post and wondering if the plant had originally been struck in one of those mesh-surrounded jiffy pot things. Can be quite constricting if they dry out.
Anyway I wouldn't dig up again for a look, just maintain and I also would recommend taking cuttings.
As to a potting mix, something well-draining is good - more like an orchid mix but fine particles, and light on the fertilizer


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Thanks guys for the reply. I know these plants aren't as tolerant to drought. I've had them for years. That's why I'm lost with this sudden decline in health. When I was reporting it a few days ago, I found a spike I had put in a year ago just soft and not really dissolved. I took t out and don't think I'll use them again. I didn't mean to fertilize it when I watered it, that's was accident. I will try to save it with all your advice and take cuttings just in case :)


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Excuse me when I was "repotting" it a few days ago * correction from last post. Damn auto correct on this phone :)


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

LOL! I didn't even see "reporting." That's exactly what happens to me when I've tried those spikes. A year or two later, when repotting, they're still there, like a weird mushy worm. Sending good vibes for recovery!


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

No plant prefers to be root-bound.

I would re-pot into a bark-based mix with only a tiny pinch of potting soil and a healthy pinch of perlite. Bark is the way to go with these Holiday Cacti/Jungle Cacti. If you employ a fast-draining bark-based mix, you can use larger containers without the fear of root-rot.

Josh


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Morning,

FF, here comes the punch..lol, kidding.

I agree, when roots fill a pot 'X' plants should be repotted in larger containers.
However, imo, transplanting from a 4" pot, to let's say 8" or larger is a no-no.

Plants that are naturally tiny, 'ex: miniature African Violet, Lithops, Crassula elegans needn't be potted in containers larger than 4".
Shallow-rooted plants, when repotted, require wider, not deeper containers. TC's have shallow roots.

Ever go to a conservatory?
Our conservatory set-up is as close to various plants' natural habitat as possible.
TC's/CC/Epi/certain Orchids, are either attached to trees or in-between rocks. Depending on type.
After studying roots I discovered they're not all that large.

Just my opinion. :)

PS...I'm not saying TC's won't grow in a large pot. Often,, during summer when plants are outside, they're knocked down, brushed against, squirrel attacked, etc.
TC segments break, land in a neighboring containers, some as large as 14".
Yet, segments root.

Still, imo, TC/CC/EC bloom when root bound. :)

Toni


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Hey! Here is TG wishing your TC good health


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Hi Dacocoa,

I've re-read this several times now & believe I know the problem. Your description is that of a dried up hunk of peat stuck around the roots. Pls. tell if you removed that stuff or not?

If it were mine, I'd unpot it to see what's going on. I've never overfertilized nor seen any leaves like that, but it sounds like a problem w/ stuck on stuff maybe, dead old DRY & unwettable peat stuck on the roots.

If that's the case it needs to be remedied. One can soak it in basin of water 'til it softens enough to crumble the stuff off the roots.

I have seen peat problems before, especially if not repotted after original purchase.


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

Dacocoa,

I did not realize you had other similar plants that you've been growing for awhile, so I want to apologize if I made you feel like I was patronizing you.

Toni, OUCH! Lol, but seriously I agree with you on just potting up as needed, and never overdoing it.


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RE: Thanksgiving Cactus Still "Rotting"?

With time, these plants will develop a very large root-mass...in small containers or large. Re-potting is much less traumatic on both owner and plant if the mix is nice and loose and easy to remove - something that a peaty mix just won't offer.

*pic is a Christmas Cactus, but the culture is exactly the same. I had to work with a chopstick and hose for quite some time just to get the roots this bare for re-potting.

Josh


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