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coral cactus
coral cactus  
I think I neglected my coral cactus and it now has dry brown spots all over the fanned part. Will it recover if I water it regularly from now on, or do I need to cut out the brown spots or cut anything off the plant?

Hi Elise,

The brown patches are caused by root damage due to improper watering. Unfortunately, damaged plant tissue never recovers. However, the spots are not a disease and are not likely to spread if you get the watering under control. Cutting out the spots will not accomplish anything except to make your Coral cactus look like Swiss cheese! So, I'm afraid you are going to have to live with the way it is now looking.

Proper watering is challenging when a Coral Cactus is potted the way that yours is. The layer of pebbles on the surface look very pretty, but they prevent you from properly assessing the dryness of the soil around the roots. In addition, if the bottom of the planter has no drain hole, then water may collect in the bottom and cause root rot.

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.

BA, Amherst College

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