Pistils Rx: Troubleshooting Succulents and Cacti

Posted on May 25, 2016 in Pistils Rx | 70 Comments

“I love succulents. They’re the only plants I keep alive.” We hear it every day. But then again, we also hear, “I hate succulents. I always kill them.” This may seem like a paradox, but succulents and cacti can be the very easiest or the most challenging houseplants, depending on your environment and the care you give them.

When it comes to how to care for succulents and cacti, there are three main factors that affect their rate of survival: light, water and temperature. Too dim or too bright light, too little or too much water, or too cool or too hot temperatures (and often a combination of all three) will make your succulents and cacti unhappy and start behaving strangely. Depending on the type of succulent or cactus, symptoms of mistreatment vary dramatically. They can be challenging to diagnose and often confused for one another.

How To Care For Succulents and Cacti - Troubleshooting Common Issues - Pistils Nursery

When we put out the open call for Pistils Rx submissions, many of you sent in photos of your succulents and cacti, wondering what could be done. Though, unfortunately, it’s often too late to save an overwatered succulent or cactus, many problems can be reversed, and identifying issues is the first step in making sure your other plants don’t fall to the same fate.

How to Care for Succulents and Cacti: Troubleshooting Common Issues

Here are how to identify a few common issues that many plant-owners face when figuring out the best way to care for succulents and cacti.

Light

Too dim

Succulents and cacti love light. Though some species (for succulents, try haworthia or gasteria; for cacti, try epiphytes like rhipsalis and hatiora) can tolerate lower light, no succulent or cactus we’ve ever met wants to sit on your dark office desk. These guys need to be near a window to thrive, preferably with a south-facing exposure to really maximize the day. Finding a bright spot in your home is a first step in knowing if you’re ready to care for succulents and cacti.

Succulents behave strangely when they don’t get enough light. Often, you’ll see discoloration in your succulents if they need more light – deep green will fade to pale green, and bright pink, purple or yellow colors will often revert to just plain green.

Too little light also affects the growth habit of succulents. Succulents will try to reach for light, often growing long and spindly. Succulents that normally grow in rosettes, like sempervivum and echeveria species, may suddenly start growing tall – literally reaching for more light:

care for succulents - pistils nursery-5

The same goes for cacti. What was once dark, healthy flesh can grow pale as the cactus reaches for light. In addition, like the “reaching” succulents, cacti not receiving sufficient light will also put out strange growth patterns. This is called etiolation; new growth will typically be much smaller than the rest of the plant; sometimes new branches will come out that are long and tendril-like, or the new growth on the top of the cactus will be unusually skinny.

How To Care For Succulents and Cacti - Troubleshooting Common Issues - Pistils Nursery

While succulents and cacti can recover from receiving too little light, the etiolated growth habit will be permanent. Many succulents and cacti recover will to pruning; if the weird growth pattern bothers you, try clipping it off. So long as you move your plant to a location in which it will receive adequate light, the new growth that emerges should be “normal” and non-etiolated.

And finally, not having enough light also leads to root rot, because soil will stay moist for too long. Check out the root rot images below to see if your plant might be suffering from this due to low light.

Too bright

Most succulents and cacti can handle direct sun. That said, too much can be harmful, especially if your plant isn’t accustomed to it. For example, if you move a succulent or cactus out onto the porch for summer (highly recommended!) and it suddenly goes from receiving no direct sun to getting 3 or 4 hours of direct sun per day, it’s definitely going to get a sunburn.

Burn generally appears as browned or calloused flesh on your cacti and succulents. Looking for discoloration, especially on the side of the plant facing the window, is your best bet in identifying burn. The burned leaves or flesh will also get a rougher texture than the rest of the plant.

care for succulents - pistils nursery-6

There’s no way to repair burned leaves once it happens; you can prune them off or just simply adjust the environment so your plant receives more appropriate light.

When moving succulents and cacti outdoors for summer, make sure to gradually allow them to become adjusted to the increased light. Have them start in a shaded outdoor location (which will still probably be brighter than your living room) and expose them to more light over the course of a week or two.

Water

Too little

In the scheme of care for succulents and cacti, providing too little water is definitely a safer place to be than providing too much. That said, succulents and cacti decidedly do need water, especially in spring and summer when they’re in active growth.

The tricky part is that too little and too much water often look similar. But, if you err on the side of less, you can be pretty confident that you’re under-watering when your plant behaves as follows.

Succulents getting too little water will often pucker. Succulents (and cacti, for that matter) are plump and fleshy because they store water in their foliage. During times of drought, the plant calls on these reserves of water to survive. The flesh will then begin to shrivel or pucker, as the plant literally drinks its water reserves. This usually starts on the lower leaves and works its way up the plant, as seen in these jade species:

How To Care For Succulents and Cacti - Troubleshooting Common Issues - Pistils Nursery

Here’s another example of thirsty succulents (a few of which often happen to be etiolated from low light). See how they appear slightly shriveled?:

How To Care For Succulents and Cacti - Troubleshooting Common Issues - Pistils Nursery

An under-watered cactus may also pucker or shrivel, but can also discolor (usually getting brown and dry, or calloused).

If your succulents and cacti are showing these symptoms, give them a nice thorough watering. Always use well-draining cactus or succulent soil, though, because your plants won’t want to hang out in wet soil for long. The leaves should plump back up in no time!

Too much

It’s often hard to determine whether a cactus has received too much or too little water from just a photo. For example, without knowing how much water it received, it would be pretty hard to tell whether this opuntia cactus got too much or too little water, since the symptoms often look the same:

How To Care For Succulents and Cacti - Troubleshooting Common Issues - Pistils Nursery

An over-watered succulent or cactus will feel mushy, though, rather than just puckered. These plants are able to store large amounts of water, but once that storage space runs out, the plant will literally fall apart; roots rot and cell walls rupture. This causes them to get mushy, and is a key difference and can be the key in determining over vs under-watering, while also examining your own watering habits and environmental conditions.

Key signs of overwatering include browning or blackening leaves or stems, browning or blackening at the base of the plant, mushy or leaking plants, and plants literally rotting before your eyes.

How To Care For Succulents and Cacti - Troubleshooting Common Issues - Pistils Nursery

If you suspect rot, gently pull your succulent or cactus out of its pot and examine the roots. Brown or black roots mean that the plant is

Temperature

Too cool

Most succulents and cacti (save for jungle cacti, for example) are well suited to cold night time temperatures, because they come from desert climates. Especially in winter, many succulents and cacti crave cold nights; in fact, cold temperatures encourage blooming in some plants such as jade, christmas cacti and epiphylum.

However, low temperatures can be problematic indoors, because they tend to go hand in hand with high humidity. When you water your succulents and cacti in winter when temperatures are cool, the soil its going to stay wet much, much longer than it would in the heat of summer. Cool wet soil means, you guessed it: root rot.

If your house is very cool during winter, pay extra attention to your watering schedule for your succulents and cacti. Depending on the size of your pot, whether it has drainage, and the type of plant, you might only need to water your plants once a month or even less. Plus, we’d recommend erring on the safe side when it comes to winter watering and just giving the plant a small dose, rather than thoroughly saturating soil.

The best way to identify if temperatures that are too cool are affecting your succulents and cacti would be to follow the over-watering identification steps, above.

Too hot

For the same reason cacti and succulents can tolerate low temperatures, they’re especially adept at handling high temperatures, too! The desert is a place of extremes, after-all.

However, temperatures that are too hot in an indoor growing environment tend, again, to lead to watering issues. If your plants are outdoors during summer, they’re going to dry out really fast. You might need to water your succulents and cactus twice a month, or even every week, depending on the heat and exposure.

The other time high temperatures can be an issue for succulents and cacti can be when placed in a window. The heat of the sun through the glass tends to be intensified, and can burn your plants. Check for burn, following the identification steps above under “too much light.”

What problems have you faced with your cacti? How do you care for succulents? Share with us in the comments – there’s so much to learn, and we’d love to learn from you.

Have questions? Feel free to ask in the comments, or send us an email with photos for a chance to have your question answered in the next installment of Pistils Rx.

70 Comments

  1. Sophia
    August 14, 2016

    I moved and brought my succulent with me, to a very humid area. How does this affect the leaves and the watering?

    The soil appeares really dry but the air is so moist, it’s been hard to tell which “unhappy” my little plant is.
    Thanks for the other over/under-watering tips!

    Reply
    • Jesse
      August 15, 2016

      Hmmm. I’d go with soil as a better indication than air. If anything, the humidity will make it take longer for the soil to dry out… but once it’s dry, your plants will get thirsty!

      Best,
      Jesse

      Reply
  2. Emily
    October 25, 2016

    Hi! Late to the thread, but I’ve been traveling and left my friend to care for my cacti and succulents. All of them are doing fine, except for one of my succulents. It think it’s a type of Haworthia, but I just saw it today and it’s grown like crazy in the past few months! It’s planted in a square glass container with sand and pebbles, and when I went to inspect it today, one of the sections pulled out with no roots. It doesn’t look unhealthy, but I’m not sure what to do. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Jesse
      January 4, 2017

      Hey Emily,

      Succulents sometimes have very small root systems, so it might be okay! However, sometimes if the roots are damaged, the plant will continue to look okay, even though the plant is without them. Time will be your best indicator if everything is okay here!

      Best,
      Jesse

      Reply
  3. Kristina
    November 21, 2016

    My haworthia fasciata are doing fine but I’m not sure if they need to be repotted. How small can the container be? None of them are in true cactus/succulent potting soil so I at least want to replace the soils so they flourish. I repotted everything last Christmas using a compost-based topsoil that we get in bulk and add to our outdoor garden. One zebra is in a 2×2″ glazed ceramic pot with no drainage. The plant is maybe 1.5″ tall and some of the branches reach out of the pot. Should I go bigger or simply replace the soil? Wider with same depth, or wider and deeper? I have noticed when repotting in the past that these plants have very shallow roots. Is that normal or are the roots stunted because of poor soil drainage?

    Reply
    • Jesse
      January 4, 2017

      Cacti and succulents generally have minimal root systems, allowing them to be comfortable in root-bound environments. You can pot up if you want, but just pick something only slightly larger. Refreshing the soil should provide a helpful nutrient boost!

      Best,
      Jesse

      Reply
  4. Sharon
    January 2, 2017

    The main part of the cactus looks like it’s dead a lot of the arms look the same way the ends of the cactus can I cut them back or should I throw the whole thing away

    Reply
    • Jesse
      January 4, 2017

      Hey Sharon,

      If the cactus is overwatered, it will most likely not recover. You could try cutting off and attempting to root some of the healthier arms to try to save the cactus.

      Best,
      Jesse

      Reply
  5. Hayley Painter
    January 20, 2017

    So I’ve recently bought many of the above plants you mentioned in the article. I’d say youve helped me diagnose most of the problems but I’m having trouble really figuring out if the watering schedule or the climate is causing the browning in most of my aloes leaves or the shriveled leaves in my jades plants. I’ve also noticed bumps on a chrome and bashful of mine and almost a calloused brown on the leaves as well. That made me consider the lighting schedule 24 hours on, which I though being cacti wouldn’t be a problem but rookie mistake that’s horrible I’ve found out. I’m really trying to figure out the best lighting cycle for my indoor tent situation any suggestions are extremely helpful and fell free to call me out bad habits I’m desperate to figure out the problems and make it work!

    Reply
    • Jesse
      April 24, 2017

      Glad the article was helpful! Practice makes perfect (or, well, not perfect – but better at least!)

      Best,
      Jesse

      Reply
  6. Faye
    January 31, 2017

    Hi, a couple of weeks ago I repotted a sempervivum succulent in a non draining pot in a mixture of peat, sand, stones and some compost. It has been on my windowsill and I have been giving it just enough water to soak the soil once a week. It seems fine and has been growing normally, however some light brown patches have formed underneath the leaves near the top and one leaf has a small hard white patch on top. Apart from that the leaves seem totally normal. I was wondering if you may know what is wrong with it? I have another sempervivum succulent just next to it which has been watered slightly more frequently due to being in a smaller draining pot which is doing very well.

    Reply
  7. Tina
    March 29, 2017

    Help!!!! My beautiful jade tree is not doing so well!! I’m afraid it has a terrible disease!! Please I’m so afraid of losing it!!!

    Reply
  8. Jana
    May 12, 2017

    Is there any way to bring no this back? I have had this little cactus for over 20 years – given by a coworker and sentimental value. Recently it started listing to side (I though I needed to turn it – its under a window that’s often shaded) but that didn’t help, I tried a loose elastic band to pull it together for a few days but read I could be stressing it out. But also may have overwatered it, thinking the yellow meant it was drying out… I feel horribly if I’ve killed this little guy which started in a tiny 2″ pot, but there are bright green growths coming off the yellow part. The green pieces at base came off of the major pieces – falling off…

    Reply
    • Allison
      November 10, 2017

      This type of cactus is really good at regrowing from those small offshoots you can see at the top of they yellow part. Snap those off and place them on top of some soil and they should start to grow roots. It will basically be a clone of the mother plant. It looks like it’s been a few months so I suspect the main part of the plant has died off by now? There are some near the sides of the pot that look better off, probably because a clay pot dries from the outside in so those dried out first rather than sitting in damp.

      Reply
  9. Taylor
    June 22, 2017

    I have an argentine opuntia that I believe has not had enough sunlight. The plant started out with lots of small pads but over the past two years has started to grow long, curling arms rather than the pads. I’ve moved the plant outside in the shade (still in its pot) and will gradually move it into more sunlight. Should I cut the curling arms off to promote new growth again?

    Reply
    • Jesse
      July 7, 2017

      Yes, that etiolated growth indicates a lack of sunlight. Your plant to gradually implement more sun sounds good to me! Whether or not to cut off the growth is up to you and your aesthetics, but if it were my plant, I would snip them back!

      Best,
      Jesse

      Reply
  10. Dee
    July 8, 2017

    I am really concerned about my euphorbia ingens. When I bought it, it was pretty rootbound in a plastic pot from the nursery and is currently about 6 ft tall with four stalks on it. When I brought it home, I put it on my porch and it did really well. That was at the end of April 2017. I live in Tucson Arizona which is a hot dry climate. I proceeded to install a sola tube which is the newest form of a skylight without a filter on it in my 12 foot ceiling living room. I repotted the plant into a pot that was easily twice as tall if not taller than what it was in but only a couple inches in diameter bigger. It’s been 3 weeks now in my house and the newest stalk is showing signs of stress almost like it was overwatered. The spot is turning black and kind of mushy. I know this plant takes very little water. I only watered it twice while it was on my porch in 6 weeks and it did great. When I brought it inside I gave it a gallon after I potted it and then I gave it a little more because the current soil which was just commercial soil was very dry from sitting around but only about a year old.. I do realize that the picture that I am attaching does look like it could be overwatering but in reality the soil is very dry all the way down to the bottom of the pot. Could it look like this due to under watering? I don’t know what to do and this plant was very expensive and is a beautiful focal point of my living room. Please help!

    Reply
    • Nathan R. DeLon
      March 18, 2018

      I’m new to this site and am in no way an expert but I have about 20 different cacti and some I’ve had over 20 yrs.I have one like yours I’ve had for probably 10 yrs.It was a-
      bout 12″ tall when I got it and now it’s between 5 & 6 ft tall and very healthy. It is also
      in front of a 6′ x 9′ south facing picture window.I live in the humid Dallas-Ft. Worth
      Metroplex. I put it outside during the summer, but only a couple of times from like
      from 10am -1pm.Hopes this helps somewhat. I don’t think the skylight is enough ex-
      posure.

      Reply
      • Nathan R. DeLon
        March 18, 2018

        One thing I forgot to mention was back in the 70’s when I became an expert at
        killing houseplants ( even the easy no brainers) I bought a moisture meter at
        K-Mart.Best $3.00 (then) I’ve ever spent.It is really good for cacti because the
        soil can be dry 3″ down,but wet below that.I don’t know how many times I’ve stuck a finger in & feel dry but the moisture meter doesn’t goes as deep as you push
        it,which should be to the bottom of the pot.

        Reply
  11. Dee
    July 8, 2017

    Here is a larger picture of the plant in total under my new skylight. Is it even possible that it may not be getting enough light? The rest of the stalks look fine but again it’s only been 3 weeks since it’s been in that corner. That black spot was not there 3 weeks ago.

    Reply
  12. Cathy
    July 9, 2017

    Loved the article! Thank you for the valuable info. I have a question about my haworthia. It has deflated look to its leaves. Could you tell me what causes this? I live in a hot humid climate, so I keep it on my patio where it gets bright light and occasional direct morning light. I water it when the soil feels dry, which is about every 4-5 days. Thank you for your help!

    Reply
  13. Meghan
    July 16, 2017

    My cactus I inherited when I bought my house. It is almost 10 years old. It used to have three pieces to it, now two one died, and one of the pieces here seems to be dying again. I think it’s partially too little light and possible over watering? I am not totally sure the soil is very rocky for drainage, and I water it a third of a cup every month, but I skipped a month because I figured it was too much water. Maybe you can help me save the last one as I think the second is probably going to be gone, though the top is looking okay-ish.

    Reply
  14. Meghan
    July 16, 2017

    Second Pic… there is cat hair in the rocks I just noticed hahha oops.

    Reply
  15. Meghan
    July 16, 2017

    I could only add one picture at a time…

    Reply
  16. Peta
    August 4, 2017

    Hey there, having a little trouble with this one. There used to be a large number of brown, shriveled dead leaves at the base, and some of the top leaves are turning blue- purple where they are attached to the stem. Help? First time plant owner here so I don’t really know what’s what

    Reply
  17. Korie
    August 8, 2017

    Hi Jesse,
    This is article is fantastic, but I have a question regarding plant being open or more closed. For instance Peperomia Graveolens, the green window inside is no longer showing because the leaves are clamped shut. I’m also seeing echeveria and graptophytum, pachys etc may shriveled in the lower leaves and the healthier, newer leaves are in a tight, closed rosette. Any thoughts? Thanks again for your time and posting this article.

    Reply
  18. Chris
    October 1, 2017

    Over the last 2 weeks the bottom 2/3 of the succulent has started leaning downward. It was vibrant and firm with sturdy upward leaves until now. I haven’t changed the location, same sun exposure as always.
    Any advice/ sure would like to save this plant.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Mary
    October 11, 2017

    Any tips if this guy is under or over watered? I have had my succulents for about 2 weeks. I have watered twice. All others seem fine… just this guy. Substrate is potting soil/sand mixture with pebbles on top. Thanks!

    Reply
  20. Samantha
    November 13, 2017

    Hey,

    So I bought this slightly dying succulent in hopes of restoring it and I am pleased since it has baby sprouts coming up but an concerned because it’s developed tiny white flecks in the soil and slightly bigger green things on the plant itself. Any idea what this is and what to do about it? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Samantha
      November 13, 2017

      Here’s a picture of it.

      Reply
  21. Samantha
    November 13, 2017

    Thought they might be bugs but they don’t move. Here’s a picture of it.

    Reply
  22. Sophie
    November 27, 2017

    My cactus suffered some trauma (being dropped, being removed from it’s container) but we replanted him with advice from the person who sold it to him. However, after replanting, it developed a large bend in it’s side, as if it had been punched. What should I do?
    I also need to put it into a bigger pot, but am not sure if I should move it now, or wait until it’s less stressed.

    Reply
  23. Grace
    December 27, 2017

    I recently ordered a cactus online. The pot includes 3 cacti and one succulent. When the package arrived i tried my best to carefully unpackage it but in the process i chipped one of the cacti and now there is a dent in it. Now it is getting moldy. Anyone kniw if the cactus resolve the problem on its own and repair itself? If not will this affect the rest of the cacti?

    Reply
  24. Deztny
    January 12, 2018

    Something is wrong with my cactus Fernando I suspect underwatering because I usually water him with a misting bottle and he shared a pot with aloe that are younger and have more shallow roots (I received another cacti and repotted him with that one with a generous watering but I don’t know if it would help) but I’d like to know what you think please.

    Reply
  25. Caroline
    January 19, 2018

    Hi! So I have many succulents in my room (8 or 9!) and have had them all for at least a year. However, some of them are starting to not do so well. For example, I have some type of sedum I believe, and it’s dropping its leaf things, and several of the branches have just broken off stiff. The rest of the stem is very hard and stiff as well. The whole plant is leaning very far towards one side (which I know is because it needs more sun and I’ve been trying). Another one I’m not sure what type it is, but it is drying out at the bottom and some of the pieces are falling right off. I live in very cold weather this time of year, and sunlight is sparse in my room even though I have them all sitting on my windowsill. If there’s anything you can help me with on what to do or what’s wrong with them that would be great! Thanks!

    Reply
  26. Sheryl Toennes
    January 25, 2018

    I have a moon cacti that was damaged in transit. It’s STEM leaked out it water. The top is still vibrant weeks later but the stem is brown. Is this cacti dead or can it be saved?

    Reply
  27. Erin
    February 1, 2018

    Hi! I just received a pot of succulents for my birthday 6 days ago, and leaves have already started dropping! Some of the leaves also appear to be dripping water. I haven’t even watered it yet, help!!

    Reply
  28. Ruth Silver
    February 10, 2018

    My succulent, which had been thriving, has suddenly developed a white powdery substance on its stem. I am concerned it will affect the other plants in the pot and i would love to know what to do about this. I suspect over watering.

    Reply
  29. Ruth Silver
    February 10, 2018

    My succulent (pictured) has suddenly developed a white powdery substance on its stem. I suspect over watering. How do I treat this problem?

    Reply
  30. Beverly E Gwathney
    February 17, 2018

    my succulent has tiny white worms how can I get rid of them?Be

    Reply
  31. Ashley
    February 18, 2018

    My succulent was knocked over and lost many leaves. I repotted it but am worried. Can it be saved?

    Reply
  32. Deyanira
    February 22, 2018

    hello,

    i am new to caring for cacti, i just bought a small one and it seems to be doing fine however it has turned dark green and it looks sort of dry/dusty towards the bottom. I keep it on my desk in my office, the wall across from my desk is a huge window so plenty of sunlight gets in. i want to make sure that it is not drying out. i only water it once a week. any advice?

    Reply
  33. Betsy Higgins
    March 9, 2018

    Hi. I just found your website and I’m hoping you can help me with some issues that have come up on my succulents. I grow in western MA so my plants are under lights indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer. Some of my plants have these “blister” like bumps….not even sure what to call them. Here’s a close up of one…

    Reply
  34. Betsy Higgins
    March 9, 2018

    Hi. I just found your website and I’m hoping you can help me with some issues that have come up on my succulents. I grow in western MA so my plants are under lights indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer. Some of my plants have these “blister” like bumps….not even sure what to call them. Here’s a close up of one…

    sorry, adding the photo did not work. I’ll try again.
    Betsy

    Reply
  35. Betsy Higgins
    March 9, 2018

    sorry again. That is not the close up photo of my plant issue. Here it is (I hope)

    Reply
  36. Betsy Higgins
    March 9, 2018

    Hi again. Here’s another issue (or maybe the same issue?) on another plant. Little red “blisters”……

    Thanks for looking….
    Betsy

    Reply
  37. Diego
    April 14, 2018

    Just yesterday I got some new cacti, and I’m not sure how often I need to water them. I haven’t watered them yet, and I know you pretty much find out through trial and error and checking if the soil is dry or damp, but the pot they’re planted in has a layer of pebbles on top of the soil / at the base of the cacti that are like glued or stuck together, so I can’t really touch the soil to feel if it is damp or dry, and to know if I need to water my cacti. How else am I supposed to know if I’ve been over- or under-watering my cacti?

    Reply
  38. Kristen
    April 14, 2018

    This may be a dumb question… I hear all the time about succulents elongating in search of sun when they’re in low light.
    What is the normal growth pattern/shape when they are getting adequate light? Do they maintain their shape and just enlarge? I’m thinking specifically of sempervivum and echeveria species.

    For instance, I’ve had one for about 5 years (rooted from a small cutting in a bouquet) that has been growing in a window. It developed many long branches with multiple offshoots. I thought it was getting enough sun, but now after seeing your post, I think it probably isn’t.

    Reply
  39. Hannah
    April 28, 2018

    I’ve had this plant for about a year now. Initially it was growing fine and rapidly. Now it’s still growing (I guess) but it’s extremely droopy. Like it’s still somewhat sturdy just not upright.

    Reply
    • Hannah
      April 28, 2018

      I don’t know how to fix it. Anybody knows what to do?

      Reply
    • hannah
      April 28, 2018

      anyone has faced this situation before? what do I do?

      Reply
  40. hannah
    April 28, 2018

    there’s also this guy… is the stem suppose to be like that?

    Reply
  41. Penelope
    May 4, 2018

    I’m new to succulents. This was a gift, and was shipped to me. I’ve had it about two weeks — it’s started to pucker. I thought I over-watered. Now, after reading this, I’m wondering if I need to water. But I’m scared to kill it if it’s been over-watered. Which is it?

    Reply
  42. Randy
    May 7, 2018

    Put cactus out on the deck for a few hours. When we brought it in it started to look like blackened and brown. Could you tell me what kind of cactus this is and can it be fixed?

    Reply
  43. Erin
    May 10, 2018

    Hi!

    I recently bought 3 cactus. Two of which (cereus) were bought at a nursery and were kept in a greenhouse. The other one (optunia) was bought at a local hardware store. It was kept inside. I have them all in my kitchen currently where they are about 5’ from a west facing window. The optunia is starting to turn light green on the ends of the pads. I assume it’s wanting more light? Unfortunately we have no South facing windows in our current home but we’re moving in a week to a house that will have south facing windows. Will a south facing window be our best option or should I work on moving them outside?

    Reply
  44. Natalie
    May 15, 2018

    Not sure if this is still actively responded to, it’s been a few years since the original post, buuut maybe someone can help that knows a little bit about succulents, in particular the cactus variety.

    I have this little guy passed off to me from a co-worker who thinks my green thumb can resuscitate it. The problem is I can’t tell if it’s dead or dormant. It hasn’t had water in (don’t know) and there are no windows in the office. The original soil was bone dry even after watering. I’ve given it fresh, well draining soil and it’s now under a sun lamp. Removing the old soil it has a lovely root system, so does it have a chance with that in tact? One of the main stems isn’t completely brittle, and since there is still green pigment and it won’t snap into dust I’m willing to see what happens. Any thoughts?

    Reply
  45. Natalie
    May 15, 2018

    Hi guys, not sure if this is still actively responded to, it’s been a few years since the original post, buuut maybe someone can help that knows a little bit about succulents, in particular the cactus variety.

    I have this little guy passed off to me from a co-worker who thinks my green thumb can resuscitate it. The problem is I can’t tell if it’s dead or dormant. It hasn’t had water in (don’t know) and there are no windows in the office. The original soil was bone dry even after watering. I’ve given it fresh, well draining soil and it’s now under a sun lamp. Removing the old soil it has a lovely root system, so does it have a chance with that in tact? One of the main stems isn’t completely brittle, and since there is still green pigment and it won’t snap into dust I’m willing to see what happens. Any thoughts?

    Reply
  46. Analsa
    May 24, 2018

    The most toughest part in gardening is Growing the Cactus,Some Cactus Plants may take years to mature. The best way to check this is to buy one that’s already blooming, Indoor cacti do best in a sunroom or south-facing windowsill. They’ll receive the most sunlight, and the air around windows is generally coolerin winter than the interior of a room.
    During the growing season (spring and summer), your cactus needs maximum light and heat. Put your plant in direct sunlight, and turn it occasionally for even light exposure.
    It will also need more water during the growing season. Allow the top 2” of soil to dry out before watering the plant thoroughly until it runs out the bottom (empty the drainage tray). Imagine a sudden desert rainstorm that soon dries in the sun, so never leave your plant in soggy soil.
    Fertilize cacti only in the spring and early summer, using a cactus-specific fertilizer or a highly diluted fertilizer lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus and potassium. Overfeeding will not make your cactus bloom!

    When I migrated from Sydney to Dubai the most thing that distressed me was my Garden. I had a good garden with Box Leaf Thorn,Grey Myrtle,Tall Saw Sedge,Willow Bottlebrush etc. which cannot be migrated to Dubai due to some exotic reasons. Thanks to my Indoor indoorgarderns team for planting me Garden rich with amazing Plants available in UAE.

    Reply
  47. Glaiza
    May 24, 2018

    Help pls. My haworthia is drying and echeveria leaves are falling… I watered them before 1-2x per week.
    Whill the cactus round is doing okay.
    Mostly concern with haworthia… before place it inside my room, now place them together near window, indirect sunlight, then water my haworthia every 3days.

    Reply
  48. Devone
    May 25, 2018

    Help! I I am not sure what is going on with my cactus. It is literally falling apart piece by piece.

    Reply
  49. Xenia
    May 30, 2018

    Hi, I bought this little plant a couple of months before. Now that the weather is getting hotter (40 degrees Celsius) and I continued to water it once a week and kept it shaded. I found it like that a few days before, the leaves are yellowish and I am not sure if it’s overwatering, maybe the gardener put extra water without asking or is it like that because of lack of water. Need your opinion.

    Reply
  50. Michelle Brower
    June 1, 2018

    I have a succulent that I don’t know what it is. Anyway, it spend at least 6 hours in direct sunlight and yet this summer its grown a lot and straight up. It was a shorty and now it’s almost a foot tall. What should I do?

    Reply
  51. Laura
    June 11, 2018

    I keep some potted succulents indoor, right under my window. I’ve been typically watering them once a week (if not less). The one has developed these spots, and the one behind it is getting burned tips. Is this too much direct sun exposure? Over or under watering?

    Reply
  52. Laurel
    June 12, 2018

    Help please! We recieived this plant and don’t know what to do with it. Are we over watering? It looks so unhappy…

    Reply
  53. Morgan Kjar
    June 20, 2018

    PLEASE HELP…. my dog ate some of my succulent plant (dog is fine) but Is my plant going to die now?!?! I really don’t want it to its my favorite plant and has meaning behind it any info it it has a chance or anything I can do to save the lol guy would be awesome!

    Reply
  54. Marlyn Schean
    June 27, 2018

    I have a variety of cacti in a basket. Some of them are drying up, and one of them is dying from what seems to be root rot. I have it indoors with a light directly above it. What should I do differently?

    Reply
  55. Colleen
    July 5, 2018

    Can you explain what the long thin growth coming out of this plant is? What should I do with the growth? Thanks

    Reply
    • Kelly
      July 18, 2018

      Looks like your plant is flowering. Enjoy the bloom and cut the growth down after the flower dies.

      Reply
  56. Kate
    July 16, 2018

    I hope someone can help me with what might be going on with my two prickly pear cactus. The first photo is a cactus I have had for about a year. I just moved it from the flower bed next to the house to a larger area in the yard. It was growing to big and crowding out my rose bush. It has been doing fine. I live where it gets about 110 degrees or hotter in the Summer so I expect it to maybe get a little sunburned however, it looks like it has something else wrong with it. I water about once a month. I watered it pretty well this morning and added some cactus food.

    The second photo is of my purple prickly pear that we just got a couple weeks ago. I waited to water ( a week after planting) it per instructions. I don’t know what the brown crust is on the bottom. It is a fairly young cactus.

    Any feedback would be really appreciated. I have been struggling to get some healthy plants to grow here. Roses and Cactus are pretty much what “should” grow without issue but I seem to be having issues with my cactus.

    Thank you

    Kate

    Reply
  57. Deborah
    July 17, 2018

    Hi there-hoping someone with some knowledge can give me a suggestion.
    I’ve had this succulent for 15 years-always has grown well with many pups and in season (spring/summer) has the most amazing 3 ft. long tendril with tiniest white flowers on the ends. I transplanted it from it’s original pot and got three pts-worth out of the one pot.
    Two weeks later I am seeing a whole lot of the pups beginning to turn yellow and mushy from the roots. I have cut them off and rinsed off the mother they were from and am leaving the cutting to dry and callous over before repotting. This is only happening in the one huge pot with the original plant. I have transplanted using the best ‘succulent & cactus’ mix. Need to save what I can of this plant. I am posting an image of the plant before transplanting.

    Reply

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