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Plant Diseases/badly frostbitten cactus



A week ago I was given a 5 or 6 foot upright cactus (variety unknown but somewhat common: polygonal cross section at each of several stems, with thorns along the length of the plant, at the tips of the polygons). Your site does not allow attaching a picture, but I could email you one.

I wonder what I can do to save it. It was upright until I moved it and then started drooping -- half of several stems are bent over. I took it indoors and watered it and have kept it in a  warm room since. Help?


badly frostbitten cactus

Dear Greg, I'm pretty sure you have a Euphorbia from your description.  These can be fairly sensitive to freezing temperatures.  Your best bet is to cut off any drooping and/or oozing places off the plant and usually they will survive. Don't water the plant very much as they prefer to be on the dry side, and it will help the plant to heal.  Also if you have the plant in a saucer to catch any runoff from watering, be sure that this is kept empty as excess water will encourage the rot.  Within another week or so you will know if the plant will survive.  It probably will as they are fairly tough plants, but you will lose some of its height.  Not to worry as when it starts growing again, it will likely be more branched which leads to a more interesting shape.  In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Sorry this is late, but for some reason, most questions are not going to my inbox and I only see them if they are late.  I will get that issue fixed, and if you need more assistance or have more questions, I should be able to get to them more quickly.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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