Cereus rot

I was hoping to have a short post for you about rescuing a crested form of a Cereus cactus from rot. As you may remember, we had an ice storm back in January and lost electricity for about 9 hours and didn’t have heat in the greenhouse for a short period of time. It was long enough that ice formed on several pots, including this one.

The plant looked fine for several weeks until one day it didn’t. I decided I had nothing to lose by trying to get a few cuttings. At best, I would end up with new plants. At worst, I would kill it faster.As you can see, it was quite a large specimen, about 14 inches across. Slicing through, some of the lobes were gooey and rotten behind all that green.

But, I salvaged chunks off of seven lobes that were still firm and placed them cut-side up to dry. I noted a little bit of light brown tissue in the center of each chunk and hoped this was not evidence that the rot had already spread throughout the entire plant.

Well, it had. First one lobe and then another slowly started oozing and collapsing from the inside out. I ended up tossing everything in the trash. Still, at least I tried and now I have a pot to use for something else.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Judith

    Oh, what a lovely specimen it was. I hate that you lost it.

  2. Kris P

    It was a nice specimen, Jerry. I’m sorry you were unable to save it but it was worth a try. I wouldn’t have had a clue how to approach how to propagate a plant like that.

  3. Elena

    Too bad, it looked like a lovely mature specimen. I’m curious about how you would have planted the pieces of the cactus had they not rotted . Would you just stick them in sand/potting medium until they rooted, or would you wait until a callus had formed with some roots? I’ve never tried to reproduce a cactus, but would like to try sometime.

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      Hi Elena. Yes, I would have waited until the cut parts had dried up and callused a bit, and then planted them in sand. I didn’t see any evidence that this one had been grafted, so I assumed that was how they had propagated it in the first place. Thank goodness, because I didn’t have anything to graft it onto anyway.

  4. tracy

    Oh, what a disappointment. It was a good looking cerst, too. Dang it!

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      It was really cool. One of the best looking in my small collection. Looking forward now to something new though.

  5. S.

    That was a beautiful cactus, what a shame!

    Ugh, rotting cactus, not a favorite smell. 😕

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      Heh, I didn’t think to sniff it, which is strange because I usually would. At least it wasn’t so overpowering that it stunk up the kitchen.

  6. Beth@PlantPostings

    Fascinating. Sorry you had to lose it, but thanks for sharing tips on how to attempt to salvage it.

  7. Chavli

    I’m shocked that 9 hours without power killed this beauty. I can assume that other plants in the greenhouse survived the outage?
    Even more shocked: to learn that you can chop up a cactus this way and potentially get the bits to root… whaaaaa?

    1. Botanica Chaotica

      Most everything else in the greenhouse looks okay for now. I was certainly hoping I could get those chunks to root, but there was no guarantee. It was worth a shot since it was going to die anyway.

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