House Plants/Cactus pest


upper pad
upper pad  

Yellow spots
Yellow spots  
Hello - I have a cactus that is showing some damage on the pads. The uppermost pad seems to be shriveling and the lower ones show yellow spots. I have a attached image of the damage.

Thanks so much,

Hi Jean,

A photo that shows the entire plant, including its pot would be more helpful.

Shriveling of Cacti sections is usually a good indication that there is a lack of water getting to those sections of the plant. Excessive dryness of the soil for extended periods of time is one cause of shriveling. However, if roots have been kept a bit too moist for a long time, then the roots may have rotted, died and are no longer able to provide water to the upper sections of the plant. Same symptom, but for opposite reasons.

It is pretty hard to under water a Cactus and keeping it too moist is a common problem. Cacti soil must dry out about halfway deep into the pot before watering. The problem with over-watering is that the plant does not normally show any symptoms until well after the roots have died and it is too late to save the plant.

Cacti are evolved to survive drought for a very long time so they will live a very long time with dead roots. Shriveling tends to be gradual and spread slowly before the entire plant collapses. If you suspect this is the problem, then  you may be able to take some healthy top section cuttings and root them in damp Cactus soil after allowing the cuttings to heal overnight in the open air.

Sorry I don't have better news for you.

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

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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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