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Horticulture/cactus shoots


Hello, my cactus has developed three shoots coming out which look like roots- I wondered if I was underwatering and it was a search for water. These shoots started appearing around September 2013. Can you say what is happening. Is there something Im doing wrong or should be doing to assist the plant?

Kind regards

Hi Kenny,

I've written to cactus expert Mike Hellmann of the Henry Shaw Cactus and Succulent Society, along with a picture of your cactus.  Here is what I wrote:

Dear Mike,

I am a horticulturist in Baton Rouge, La.   I volunteer in plant identification and horticulture at  I received this picture from Kenny in the UK, and I would like to give him a more definite answer than I can find in a few hours research.  I have read a paper from the University of California stating  that desert cacti rarely develop aerial roots, and theorized that, when they occur, their function is probably to capture dew.  This looks like more of a structural/support  seeking adaptation to me, from the position of the roots and the size of the cactus and the pot.  
Any observations and advice you give to us will be greatly appreciated.
Susan Tabor

Thanks, Kenny, for this very interesting question.  I look forward to learning along with you.  I will continue to pursue information about your cactus and will revise my answer as soon as possible.


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Susan Tabor


Entomology,plant pathology, agronomy, native plants, useful and edible plants,medicinal plants,landscape design and installation, plant taxonomy and identification, cultivars and varieties, Botany, nutrient deficiencies, plant recommendations and troubleshooting.


35 years as a professional horticulturist and landscape contractor. I have a network of contacts at leading universities and with acknowledged experts in the field. I've restored the landscapes of several plantations, 2 Governors mansions and owned/managed 3 nursery/garden centers. I discovered a new subspecies of Emelia in 1997. I've locally introduced several native or volunteer species into mainstream landscape design.

Morning Advocate The Register Better Homes and Gardens All Experts - Approx 1996-97

Louisiana State University - horticulture David L. Hoffman - California - phytotheraphy

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