Problems - Rotting
Having your cacti and succulents rot on you is something all collectors have faced one time or another. Some experts on cacti_etc have, however, refuted the oft-mentioned truism that a proper watering regime is vital in avoiding rot. I agree with them: healthy plants can take a lot of water without rotting.
The trick is to ensure that the soil is not soaked for too long, and that the specimens do not have any additional problems which may allow rot to set in. After all, I have over 100 plants in aquaculture and I don't have a problem with too much water.
There is also a Page 2 on this subject.
| ||This Echinopsis is feeling the effects of an overdose of H2O, a water-based household insecticide. A mild dose is harmless, but in this case the plant turned progressively more yellow and started rotting. Never spray on too much insecticide... At least, wash off the excess. |
| ||Yet another victim of an overdose of a household insecticide. This is (I believe) a Gymnocalycium. It's on a fatal downhill spiral; a specimen with this colour due to insecticide poisoning is almost certainly going to die. |
| ||This columar cereoid has a brownish hue, and it is in danger of rotting. The brownish hue is mild scarring, the result of a red spider mite attack. Further neglect will most certainly be fatal. |
| ||A sorry end for a nice-looking succulent. And there goes RM4. This is a Cheiridopsis. Quite difficult to find in Malaysia, this very fleshy succulent is not recommended for beginners. Either get more experience or be prepared for fatalities. |
| ||A failed offset which died instead of growing. This looks like a Ferocactus. I'm not sure what caused this fatality, could be root mealies. |
| ||A sad end for a nice Mammillaria. In this case, the rot started from the base and worked its way up. The head could have been saved if it was cut from the base as soon as the rot was detected. |
Basal rot is usually due to root mealies. Root mealy bugs damage the roots and any part of the stem in contact with soil. This opens the way for rot to set in.
Here are my notes for the prevention of rotting. Also, be sure to check out further notes on preventing red spider mite and scale attacks in other pages.
- Repot plants every year or so to avoid root mealy bug infestations.
- Carefully check the soil every time a transplant is made for root mealies.
- Don't overdose plants with water-based household insecticides. Wash off the excess.
- Do not hesitate to save a portion of a plant which is starting to rot. It is probably a better choice than risking losing the whole plant.