Unhealthy Christmas Cactus, please help.

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by Beeker, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. Beeker

    Beeker Active Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New England, USA
    I inherited a Christmas Cactus from a friend of the family and am running into a problem. It was firm when I brought it home, but it had very little soil in the pot. Ever since I brought it home and repotted it, it has been getting worse and worse. I have read that they like to be a little root bound, maybe the pot is too large for it? The symptoms are that the leaves, the whole plant, is turning red and going very limp. I am using Miracle Grow Cactus Palm and Citrus soil and watering it not even once a week. This soil seems a bit difficult for me to tell when it is dry. Please help. I have always wanted a Christmas Cactus and I don't want to lose this one.
     
  2. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    North Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    How unusual, as I have placed mine in water for weeks, to root, and also in regular potting soil, and even sand....all with success... there may be a viral sickness or a problem with your soil mix... to your plant, try to separate it into two or more plants, and give them different growing mediums and keep out of direct sunlight and maybe no fertilizer until it is established
    in it's new pot... hope you can save your plant.
     
  3. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    I wish you luck too. Almost sounds like too much fertilizer to me, or too rich of a soil. I like K Baron's suggestions. Get it out of the sun. Mine wilts in the sun, as healthy as it is. Only likes morning sun, not hot afternoon.

    My plant also likes to become slightly dry between waterings. Remember it is a cactus - much of the water is stored in the fleshy leaves, so don't be watering it constantly.

    Here's a pic of my white xmas cactus - it thrives in an East facing window.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Beeker

    Beeker Active Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New England, USA
    Thank you very much for the advice.
    I took clippings and started to try to root them all. It looks like the roots rotted or something. It was just laying on the soil. I hope I am able to save the clippings. If I do, I'll have 5 plants instead of just one!
    But it can't be the location, because the other CC is doing very well. We'll see.
     
  5. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    i never use soil with fertilizer in it - especially for things like succulents. plain soil is best as they don't need too much fertilizer, if any, really.

    cuttings are best rooted in soil, rather than water. soil should be very well-draining...cactus soil with a bit of orchid bark or orchid mix added in for extra drainage. or perlite if you can't find the orchid stuff. regular potting soil tends to compact too much for them to be happy in it long-term.

    these types of succulents are susceptible to root rot...so water overwatering and make sure the soil drains well so excess can move away from the roots. regular soil tends to help rot happen...
     
  6. Beeker

    Beeker Active Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New England, USA
    Thank you, Joclyn.
    I am thinking about getting some stones to put in the bottom of the pot to help with drainage. It is currently in a south facing window getting indirect sunlight. I am confused though. This soil is supposed to be for succulents. Why is it causing trouble? My friend did say that this plant has been giving her trouble from the start. Could it be the plant?
    I rooted a clipping from a different CC in water, and once it grew roots, planted it in the same soil. It is sitting in the same window and doing very well.
    Strange that I am getting two totally opposite results from two of the same kind of plant in exact same set-ups. What are your thoughts on this?
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2009
  7. Beeker

    Beeker Active Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New England, USA
    I rooted some pieces of the unhealthy plant. So far they are looking okay. They still don't seem as healthy as the other plant, though. Any thoughts?

    The plant I am growing from the clipping of a totally different CC is doing absolutely great! It is very healthy and growing at an exponential rate.

    Why such different results from the same set up? Could it be the plant?
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2009
  8. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    Keep the soil reasonably moist, but not soggy. Keep in bright light, but no sun until roots form. These cuttings take off very easily, just don't keep them too wet, or they rot, instead of root!

    : O
     
  9. JanR

    JanR Active Member

    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lakeland, Manitoba
    When my Christmas Cactus had an accident (my dog knocked it over and broke off a branch) I just stuck the pieces back into some soil and they are doing just fine. I read after the fact that you should actually let the pieces dry for a couple of day before replanting. Maybe I will try that next time. :)
     
  10. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5b)
    I have found that it doesn't matter what you do, these things are just too easy. They are really not fussy, as long as they're not in soggy wetness.

    Great tip though, Jan.

    : )
     
  11. Beeker

    Beeker Active Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New England, USA
    That unhealthy CC did end up dying. Nothing took. I don't know what the problem was.
    On a happier note, my other CC is doing very well and looks like it is about to bloom.
    These are some recent pictures:
     

    Attached Files:

  12. leaf kotasek

    leaf kotasek Active Member

    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    bc, canada
    lovely cc!

    it must've been some sort of infection or infestation that killed the other cc; they're tough to bump off. even my mother, known locally as the houseplant axe-murderer of bc (everything dies on her!), still hasn't managed to kill her christmas cactus. she's had it for a few months and it's still alive. :)
     
  13. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Sweden
    The ease of cultivation varies between different clones. If you inherited it i guess it was relatively old? Old Schlumbergera can be very obstinate and difficult to root.

    The cuttings taking a bath in your pictures, are they from the plant you asked about? They look as if they come from an old, not too healthy plant. What happened to them? Rot?

    Technically, these are Thanksgiving cacti.
     
  14. Beeker

    Beeker Active Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New England, USA
    The healthy one was a clipping I took from a young plant that was in a rest home my grandmother was in. The clone is now almost a year old.
    Yes, the clippings in the water were from a plant I inherited which was doing poorly. The woman couldn't figure out what was wrong with it, so she gave it to me as a project. I repotted it in a smaller pot and with a potting soil mix that was specially for Christmas Cacti, and relatives, and it still did poorly. As a back-up plan, I followed some advice given to me in this thread and took some clippings of it and tried to root them. They were starting to grow roots, but still did very poorly, and eventually died.
    I am happy to still have my clone. It is budding for the first time now.
     

Share This Page