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Question: Is my cactus dying?
Dear readers, for almost three months I have received a cactus as a gift: one of the small ones that you buy with the plastic jar in shopping malls with a diameter of about 7/8 cm for a similar height. When they gave it to me, it had an erect and quite firm bust and many others around it were smaller, but just as firm, now the central one is bent, as if it were softened. Everyone had a little red flower on top of the trunk, but now they have become very pale, almost pink orange.
I guess it's too small, but I wanted to hear from you. Is this the right season for a racking? I have read that it would be appropriate to mix the earth with the sand, in what proportions? Could it be that the problem is the fact that he never put water or that for fear he got cold throughout January, February and March I kept him in front of a window facing south?
Answer: Is my cactus dying?
from what you tell us, your cactus has been hit by some kind of rot, or it is dying due to the cultivation conditions that are so different from those it received in the nursery; True, cacti can withstand long periods of drought, as they have adapted to living in places with extreme climatic conditions, completely inhospitable to many other forms of life; therefore, the cells that make up the stem of the cacti are able to hold water, and to store it for dry periods. Clear that, to store it, they must receive it somewhere; therefore the belief that cacti are never watered is a buffalo: succulent plants and cacti need watering, to be provided when the weather is warm; watering is thinned when temperatures drop or the days become shorter.
Your cactacea is positioned in front of a window facing south, and therefore receives a good amount of sun, in addition to this, in April-May the days are quite long; therefore for your cactacea it is full vegetative period, and it needs watering; above all because, in order to make it bloom, in the nursery you will surely have received watering and fertilizing, which have well inflated it and stimulated flowering. If it is true that, during the cold months it is advisable to avoid watering the succulents, yours is most likely passed from a nursery where it received all possible care, to your home where it was forgotten.
From April to September, the cacti also need watering, to be provided when the soil is well dry; this means that in April they may need only a watering every 4-5 days; but in June they may need to be bathed every night (approximately), especially if they are exposed to the air and full sun for many hours a day.
The repottings are practiced at the end of winter, at the time of vegetative growth; the succulents do not produce very extensive root systems, and therefore do not need very large vessels; indeed, many cactaceae tend to develop better if placed in containers slightly larger than the diameter of the stem; they are repotted every 3-4 years, trying to avoid ruining the roots, and also the stem and thorns. We use a soil that must be very light and well drained, to obtain an ideal mixture is added to the universal soil an equal amount of sand, or pumice stone, lapillus, pozzolana; in short, something that makes it possible for water to quickly cross the cultivation ground, without creating stagnation.