clueless about rotting cacti

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by witchlight, Jan 8, 2016.

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  1. witchlight

    witchlight New Member

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    Hi there I'm someone who lives in southeast Asia. The weather here is hot all year round.Recently I've bought four cacti - and one is already dead.I water them twice a week and I think one of them died due to overwatering. The cacti are put in glass jars that have no drainage holes at the bottom.cacti are about 2 inches tall.
    The one that is dead is a bunny ear cactus. This cactus started leaning over and the bottom part discolored. It smelt horrible. I have attached a photo for reference. When I touched it the whole bottom was soggy and wet and had no support. It had three "ears" attached. I threw away the big part with the roots as about 3/4ths have rotted away. I don't know whether to replant the "ears" now. Should I?

    Besides this I have another plant(also attached pic)I don't know if this plant is a succulent or what species it is.It is leaning as well. Bottom part turning black. Other leaves on bottom part turning dark dark green, losing white spots, becoming hard and when you touch the plant it feels like it can twist and it is coming off on layers.I suspect it is overwatered,too. What should I do? Should I cut it off? I really don't know.I want to save my plant! Feeling so anxious over this.
    Ps update.. The file upload is not working on my phone so will upload pics asap.
    Thank you!
     
  2. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

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    Two points about whether the offsets ("ears") can be planted or not, while waiting for photos:
    1. It is useless to try f the disease has spread to the offsets, this is often visible as red/brown/black spots on the cut surface. Rot spreads quickly in Opuntia, I would be surprised if the offsets are not infected.
    2. The wound must heal first. Or the offset can be laid on the side, with the wound above the soil surface.
    And yes, using pots without drainage holes, especially pots made of a non-porous material, is an effective way to kill cacti, but it sounds as if you already are aware of that.
     
  3. witchlight

    witchlight New Member

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    1. Thank you so much for replying, Mandarin.I an experiencing some technical issues now because the website isn't allowing me to upload the material from the photo gallery. Do you have any idea how to do it?
    2. "The wound must heal first. Or the offset can be laid on the side, with the wound above the soil surface." I don't really get what you mean...Do you mean that I should still put offset in the soil or do you suggest that I leave it out? Will check whether there are spots and then reply.Plus, do you think that the soil would be infected? I doubt it's a bacterial infection, but then would overwatering cause a rotting smell?
    3. Yeah,I only realised much later that glass is a bad way to plant cacti.I went to a diy terrarium store and all pots available were without any drainage holes.Will repot into a pot with holes if it continues growing=) because haven't got time to buy such a pot at the moment.
    4. Ps.Will notify when I upload the pics.thanks once again!! :-)
     
  4. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

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    I have not experimented with the new forum software yet, but I noticed that if I a select a picture file, do a "copy", and then "paste" in the editor in the web browser, the picture shows up. Perhaps it is as simple as that, if the file is not too big. Otherwise you can use Media Gallery Embed (the camera icon) to link to files that you first upload to a gallery on this forum.

    It should be allowed to heal for at least a few weeks. Then it can either be planted a few cm into the soil, or it can be set on top of the soil, at an angle. The purpose is to allow roots to reach the soil while providing enough ventilation to prevent the damaged area from mold and rot. I once posted a picture of a columnar cactus that I had treated like that:

    Healthy Cactus Snapped Off | UBC Botanical Garden Forums

    I'll see if I can find a better picture, perhaps even one with an Opuntia.

    Oh yes, soils always contain bacteria, fungi etc., unless sterilised. A foul smell indicates a bacterial infection, perhaps by Erwinia. A waterlogged soil can smell slightly, but not rotten.
     
  5. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    Not only cacti, but all other plants with the exception of bog plants, too.
     
  6. witchlight

    witchlight New Member

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    Hi Mandarin! About the soil, I'm not sure if it was sterilised in the beginning. What I do know was that it was fine processed soil with added fertiliser.
    I am really unsure as to whether the smell is because of it being waterlogged or because it is rotten. Anyway, I think it would be good to let the "ear" dry off first and then during that time frame search for new soil? What kind of soil do you recommend?
    I have attached 4 files.
    The first file is a picture of the dead cactus. You can see the "ears" I was talking about.
    IMG-20160108-WA0000.jpeg
    IMG20160109110128 (1).jpg this is the picture of the "ear". I was really dumb and I threw away both of the other ears into the bin so this is the only ear I have left. I think it's not infected, there aren't any signs of discolouring on it. There is some soil though- would it be okay to wash it under water then leave to dry? Or would it get soaked up with water?
    IMG20160108180940.jpg this is the second plant. Unsure of what species it is though. As you can see the bottom part is a darker colour( dark green) and the spots are missing compared to the upper layer. The bottom layer is very dark, and when you touch it feels like each layer can twist.
    IMG20160108180935.jpg a close-up of the rotting area (bottom layer)
    IMG20160108180946.jpg just another picture of the plant as a whole. As you can see it's not very tall. So should I use a knife to cut it off?
    Thanks.
    witchlight
     
  7. witchlight

    witchlight New Member

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    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Sundrop! Yeah, as mentioned above, I do know about that, but because it's my first time actually planting cacti by myself and taking care of them (clearly I don't have a green thumb, haha!) Will transfer if the cacti grow well.
     
  8. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

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    That cactus was definitely rotting, and I think the second plant is dying from rot too. I believe it is a Haworthia, but I am awfully bad at identifying (non-cactus) succulents. Maybe H. reinwardtii?

    That is very dependent on the climate and what materials you have access to, so I cannot be too specific. My own growing media hold less water than yours and have little or no organic materials in them, I mostly use a special type of cat litter, pumice, hydroleca, vermiculite and fine, inorganic soil (sterilised). Occasionally I use some cocopeat too.

    Yes.

    Yes, I think that is your best option.
     
  9. witchlight

    witchlight New Member

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    Hi Mandarin.
    I have finally identified what plant it is. The second plant is of the species haworthia reinwardtii.
    Will go to a plant nursery and ask them what kind of soil would be good in this weather for cacti and succulents.
    As to the "ear", how would it look like after it's dried? Are there any indications?
    Thank you so much once again!
     
  10. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

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    Good luck with that. Very few non-specialist nurseries know anything about the care of succulents.

    Not much, I am afraid you will have to guess.
     
  11. Blue Fox

    Blue Fox Member

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    Stop watering - in your climate, which is probably quite humid (you only say that it's warm temperature wise). They won't need much water at all, particularly in a container that doesn't have any drainage hole at all. The second plant is indeed a Haworthia, not sure what kind. You can easily propagate these by 'unscrewing' the top part (five or six leaves) and then letting it dry, and planting it into dry cactus soil. They don't need as much light as something like Aloe, and can take more water. Full sun will turn them orange.
     
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  12. witchlight

    witchlight New Member

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    Dear Bluefox, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic. However, sad to say that my Haworthia and "dog-eared cactus" are already dead. It was my mistake to wash the ear to remove the soil- it just got even more waterlogged. and when I left all the cuttings to dry, they all shrivelled up. I put them in cactus soil but nothing happened. It's been more than a month.
    On the good side, I still have one cactus alive out of the four. Hope nothing bad will happen to it. I've replanted it in a pot with holes, and its in the shade outside, not exposed to direct sunlight. Its growing slowly but steadily. The weather here is actually quite humid, do you think it'll need water if there are drainage holes in the pot?
     
  13. Blue Fox

    Blue Fox Member

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    Live and learn - that's the only way to have success with these plants. Succulents originate in extremely dry conditions, and that means not just the soil, the air too. Err on the side of not watering, rather than watering too much.
     

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