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House Plants/coral cactus crest looks dead-is it too late to save it ?


sorry looking coral cactus
sorry looking coral ca  
My grandma gave me this little coral cactus in hopes that I could revive it (bless her heart for her faith in me) so my question is it worth trying?
After an internet search I understand this is actually a grafted top on a cactus, so I'm thinking it may be too late to save it.  The entire top is brown/bleached out looking although the base is still green.
It's still in the original plastic pot with the glued down gravel although it does have drainage holes and the little clay pot has a drainage hole and saucer as well. I don't know what she did to care for it except she said she had not fertilized it. Thanks for your time!

Hi Sarah,

I know your Coral Cactus looks unusual and unhealthy, but this is an unusual plant and it is fine, I am happy to say. The grafted top portions of Coral Cacti are typically fan-shaped and come in a variety of interesting colors, including shades of pink and white. As long as the top portion is not dried up and shriveled or soft and mushy, it is fine. If you do a search for Coral Cactus images, you will find many that look similar to yours.

I suggest that you remove or at least loosen the stones on top so you can probe the soil below. When the top half of the soil fees dry (you may need a wooden dowel to determine this), you will know that it is time to water it enough so that a bit of water runs through the drain holes.

Keep it on or close to a sunny windowsill. Do not repot it...ever. You can fertilize it at half strength a couple of times per year. This is a low maintenance plant except for its need for lots of bright light. It will grow hardly at all, so as long as it stays in its present condition, you can be sure you are on the right track.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

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