Can you still save a rotting cactus?
Cacti are actually easy-to-care-for houseplants – but you can do a lot wrong with them Photo: Getty Images
By Laura Graichen | 11. February 2022, 12:55
If you don't have a green thumb but still want to bring something green into your home, a cactus seems like the ideal solution. However, this often goes wrong if you do not know about the plants. How to save a rotting cactus, read hobby gardeners here.
Cacti are considered low-maintenance plants, as they do not need much. Still, there's a lot you can do wrong when it comes to caring for them. After all, a plant can also be "cared for" too much. Consequently, the cactus has a bent trunk, a muddy and soft surface or a brown color instead of a rich green color. Nevertheless, hobby gardeners do not have to hang their heads, because often you can save the cactus.
Save cactus – treat symptoms correctly
Cacti will die if the light supply, watering, substrate or temperature in their location is not right. Then the following symptoms can be seen on the plant:
Yellow spots and soft surface
If there are yellow spots on the cactus and the surface looks softly healthy, it has received too much sunlight. The tropical-looking plants need it warm, but do not tolerate direct sunlight.
Rescue: To save the cactus and bring it back to life, you should first remove the discolored parts with a sharp, disinfected knife or similar tool. Then it should be moved to a semi-shaded location. And then you have to be sparing with watering water!
Soft and light root neck
If the root neck appears soft and its color faded, it is only a matter of time before the cactus bends over because it lacks stability. Often, too little light or too much watering is what triggers these reactions in cacti.
Rescue: A new location with more light supply and less watering can save the cactus and help to rebuild it step by step.
Root rot is recognizable by visible harmful fungi that form and spread on the cactus. Cause for rotting roots is in most cases waterlogging. If there is too much water in the pot, the base of the plant's stem will rot in addition to the roots, making it soft and squishy. Quick help is needed here, because if the trunk is rotted through, you can no longer save the cactus.
How to save a cactus with a rotten trunk?
A rotting cactus can only be saved if the upper part of the plant is still healthy. If this is the case, one needs:
– thick gloves – a sharp and disinfected knife – charcoal – a new pot – cactus soil – watering water
First put on the gloves. They prevent the cactus spines from penetrating the skin. Then gently hold the cactus. Use the knife to separate the healthy part from the rotten part. Then treat the cut wound with some charcoal. After that, let it dry for at least a day.
The wound should then be dry enough for the severed part of the cactus to be placed in a new pot. Before that, the planter with a drainage system. Filling the right substrate for cacti. If the cactus sits firmly in its new pot, it will tolerate a little water. In conclusion, all it needs is a bright location. Once a week a little watering.
How fast the cactus forms new roots can vary. Some sprout new after only a few days, others need weeks or even months to do so. It is important to keep an eye on it and to be economical with watering water.