The reason for the soft and rotten cactus and the way to save it
Cacti are part of the succulent family and are known as resistant houseplants that require little care. They are native to hot desert countries, which means they can go without water for long periods of time. However, sometimes you find that they need special attention.
Why some cacti become soft and rotten can have several reasons. Sometimes it may be related to the environment in which the cactus grows, an unhealthy environment leads to disease and infection in the cactus.
Cacti need well-drained soil, otherwise they are prone to overwatering, damage, fungal diseases, and eventually root rot. Soft cactus can often indicate root rot. The most common cause of softening of cacti is excessive watering, which leads to root rot, and we discussed it completely in the previous sections of FIFTAK.
Improper and excessive watering
As mentioned above, cacti are desert plants, so they can go without water for a long time. They store water in their stems, which often gives them a swollen appearance.
As a general rule, you should only water your cactus when the soil is completely dry. When watering, make sure you water it thoroughly.
You should also make sure that the container you use has drainage holes and that the water drains out of these holes when watering. This is how you know that the watering was good. Never put a cactus plant in a bowl of water because it causes root rot.
Physical damage to cacti can happen very easily, especially if you have pets.
Damaged parts of the cactus act as pores that allow pathogens to enter the plant tissue. This causes too much damage to the plant and makes you wonder why the cactus has gone soft.
Unfortunately, it may take some time to figure out what's causing the problem.
To prevent this type of damage, you should check your cactus weekly for any open sores or spots so that any spots are treated immediately.
One of the best ways to remove stains is to gently rub a cleanser containing bleach on the wound.
Poor and improper drainage
Cacti can store water in their stems. This means they need well-drained soil to avoid waterlogging. Heavy soils retain more water and wet soil causes root rot and disease in the plant.
Fungal and bacterial problems
Fungal and bacterial problems also cause cacti to soften; These problems occur when there is an open wound on your cactus plant. Just like skin, an open wound on a cactus plant should always be kept clean to prevent infection.
Warm and humid conditions accelerate the production of fungal spores and this helps the production of bad bacteria.
If the cactus has a fungal or bacterial infection, you will first notice your cactus softening. This occurs on the stem near the base of the plant but spreads rapidly. Other signs of cactus infection are blackening, sunken spots, and discolored shells!
Cactus Soft Root Rot
This happens when you overwater your plant and the damage is excessive. Cactus rot is a common problem among plant owners. It is important to note that root rot does not go away on its own, and if you think your cactus has root rot, you must act immediately or your houseplant will eventually die.
The first sign of root rot that you will notice is yellowing of the cactus. Also, if the cactus has rot, you may also notice your cactus shrinking.
If you have a rotten cactus, you should first remove it from its container and check the roots. A healthy root system has a white and firm appearance, and if the roots are brown/black and slimy, the plant is most likely suffering from root rot.
Can the rotting cactus be saved?
If you have root rot, there are things you can do. Whether or not a rotting cactus can be saved depends on how long the plant has had root rot. If you catch it early, you should be able to save your cactus. However, if root rot has spread, you may need to prune.
Saving a rotting cactus
If your cactus is only in the early stages of root rot, you should be able to save it by following these simple steps:
- Remove your cactus from its container (remember to wear gloves!).
- Check carefully which roots are still healthy and which are rotten. Remember that healthy roots are white and hard, while rotten roots are brown and slimy.
- If the majority of the roots are still healthy, you can remove the rotten parts. Try to cut the root to the white parts because even a small part of the diseased and infected root can spread throughout the root.
- Next you need to start cutting some stems and leaves from the cactus. Since you've cut the roots, when you repot, your cactus won't be able to support as much plant material as before, and you'll need to cut a significant percentage of the stems back to the roots, so start with tender roots.
- After pruning, you can keep your cactus in fresh, healthy, nutrient-rich soil.
- When you check the roots of your cactus and find that the majority of them are infected, you will most likely need to prune.
** Fortunately, propagating cacti is really easy and simple and you can propagate them by cuttings; In this way, you should take a cutting from the cactus, allow it to dry completely for a few days, and then plant it again in fresh soil.