Got Cactus Questions?

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

David Todeschini March 3, 2010 at 7:12 pm

I have a dozen different small cacti that I purchased as a window dressing at Home Depot in Jersey City. I transplanted them to a bigger pot (3ft x 9 inches x 4 inches deep) and used the recommended soil. The plants are thriving, and I wonder how long it would take for them to grow a few feet tall – they are now all less than 6-inches – little mini cactuses – There seems to be a wide variety of different ones – over 2 dozen I counted in the Jersey City NJ Home Depot.


niall March 8, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Hey there I have a small cactus indoors have had it for over 2 years and its being doing well – I fed it about once a month or so. And it seemed to be thriving and growing but recently it looked bloated like it got overfed but the soil was dry. Really dry. So I gave it a little water as i was worried if I had not fed it. Now the whole thing (all 6-7 inches of it) have fallen over the side of the pot and it looks very sad.
What have I done to little charlie? What should I do? thanks any assist is appreciated

admin March 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Sounds like a classic case of overwatering.

Here’s a good link with some additional information for you.

If you overwater too much, the roots can rot and it can be irreversible. Hopefully, your cactus will be able to recover!

admin March 11, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Hard to say, not knowing which type of cactus.

But cactus in pots is typically very slow growing, so it could take years.

rich April 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm

hey, i have a small cactus growing in my dorm room in a terra cotta pot. the top 1/4 of the plant is turning a light green color while the rest of it is a darker green,,, soft white tufts have replaced the longer sharper thorns which cover the ret of the plant. is the plant ok, dying or growing?


penny hartman May 1, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Bought a 10″ cacti asst. terrra from lowes on the way home it fell over and broke off the root how can I save this.

lars May 3, 2010 at 7:06 pm


Did you keep your receipt?

In this case, I would unfortunately recommend taking advantage of the generous Lowes return policy. They might take it back, or they might not. But I think it’s probably not possible to save the cactus.

Rob May 9, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I have an outdoor prickly pear cactus bed that I occasionally need to pull a handful of weeds from. Is there a spray that I could use on these occasional spots is safe for prickly pear cactus?

lars May 10, 2010 at 7:41 pm


Outdoor prickly pear cactus is often very difficult to kill for people who want to get rid of it. It requires a really powerful kind of poison that requires a license.

I think you’d be safe if you used any consumer spray, as long as you were relatively careful when you apply it. I don’t think a little bit of overspray is going to hurt your cactus. I believe that Roundup doesn’t work on cactus, so that one might be safe. (Please double check the bottle though! I think you have to pierce the waxy coating for it to have any effect.)

Neil Hindley May 19, 2010 at 12:55 pm

My cactus is growing inconsistantly and is thin in two places and would fall over if i left it unsupported. It has grown this way, i.e. consistant gurth, then sprouts up at the top but only filled out at the top of this section and looked like a pin (bowling), consistant growth then sprouted a thin bit again and only filled out at the top again, then consistant growth. It has just flowered which is the first time in about 7yrs. Would you be able to confirm why it has grown like this?

The cactus is a cucumber shape, fine spines and sometimes looks furry. Sorry thats not a brilliant description. Flowers are pink.

A cactus goes dormant over the winter. During this stage, they need very little watering. Also, make sure your soil medium is still really light if you’ve had cactus a long time. Overwatering could be leading to the inconsistent growth. Also, make sure there’s enough sunlight.

jeanne May 31, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I have a cactus that is about 18 years old–it has grown from a few inches in diameter and height to about 10 inches in diameter and 3 feet high. It became top heavy and broke off—I have propped it up with a stick (it is in a pot on my patio). My son bought this plant for me when he was 16. He died 10 years ago, so this plant is very very important to me. Is there any way I can save it? Is there any way I can save the root system? I don’t know the name of this type of cactus, but it has very hard needles. Thank you for any help that you can give me.

I’m sorry you have lost a very special cactus. I would suggest you contact your local extension agency and see if they can help you identify the type of cactus and see if they can give you tips for trying to propagate its variety. Some varieties, and most cacti, propagate very easily.

Gracie 13 September 12, 2010 at 7:40 am

I have a twenty year old cactus that is about 8 feet tall and sits in my livingroom. Recently brown sores have started appearing about half way up the main arm of the plant, on all sides of it, and they are running white sap, leaving long streaks of sap down the plant. I’ve tried washing the sores and they start running again. Do you know what this is? I was thinking it might be some kind of infection, but I’m not sure.

Thank you.

Judy G Toole November 6, 2010 at 3:35 am

How cold can it get before they freze outside and tonite it’s getting to 32, should I go cover them? asap Thanks

hanko May 17, 2011 at 9:26 pm

i have a question about a cactus i found amongst a prickly pear patch it is about the size of a pencil and three inches high and has thorns like a thimble barrel cactus almost like the thimble cactus it looks like a rattail cactus i live in st augustine florida do rattail cactus grow wild here?

jparr May 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

I have planted some cactus, around the trees in my yard, any problem with that?

midgehartley August 9, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Last year, I bought a cactus for the first time and since placing in the bathroom it has flourished. There are two new branches growing alsmost horizontally from the main body of the cactus now with several seperate thin stands growing up and down from the two main branches (almost root like in description). My question is do the branches need splinting to allow them to grow vertically or should they extend horizontally naturally. In addition, do the offshoot branches need cutting, replanting or repotting? I am new to keep cactus and I didn’t expect they plant to grow as much as it has and I want to keep it flourishing.

Dennis Shinabarger September 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I bought a golden barrel cactus, its in a pot. I need to know how to plant it in the ground. Can you give me some help? Thank you.
P.S. I live in Mesa, AZ

Doug Bundy, Sr. November 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm

I have a large Christmas Cactus, that I keep outside in the summer time, and bring inside to the sun room in the fall. How can I get it to bloom?

Robert December 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I bought a Pachycereus Pringlei at Home Depot this past weekend. It looks really healthy, but I’m concerned about the soil being too moist. Although it’s winter now (Dec. 17th), should I try to repot it into some dry soil or should I just let it sit & hope it dries out before any rot sets in?

Ryan January 5, 2013 at 5:21 am

Does anyone know what species of Trichocereus can have as few as 4 ribs? The only two I could find are lageniformis and, rarely, pachanoi. Are there any others?

Henry March 31, 2013 at 12:35 am

Is this where we ask questions?
If so……I have about fifty potted cacti (miniature to full-size) outside against a fence in a pea-graveled bed. What do I do in the event of freezing weather ? Live in lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Last cold spell it dropped to 29 degrees for several hours and I moved the cactus into my garage. Took all day for the move and another day to replace them. One vehicle slept outside and my spouse wasn’t too thrilled having to remove cactus thorns and scrapes from me also.
Any ideas for a temporary protective cover.


Adele July 19, 2013 at 3:12 am

I have a happy little round cactus that has already flowered twice this year…now it has started sprouting tiny versions of itself on it’s side, what are these? Are they buds of some sort? Can I take them off and plant them or should I leave them alone?

Carol Woodring July 25, 2013 at 9:04 pm

I have a cactus that I have no idea what it is called but it is a dwarf cactus. When I got it it was barrel shaped with one bluish/gray flower which remains on it. That was in May 2013. It got tubular orange flowers all the way around it which have since shriveled up and no more have come out. It has needle like spines all over it that are thin as hairs. It started growing a long taper out the top and crab like legs out the bottom. It was doing great and all of a sudden in one day it is falling over. I have not over watered it. I use a meter to check the moisture. I am afraid I am going to lose it and it was doing so well. Is it supposed to fall over? If not should I take the crab like legs off and re-pot them so I don’t lose the whole plant? Thank you

lars July 25, 2013 at 9:30 pm


You might try contacting the place where you bought it and ask for advice there or at least get the name of the cactus type.

These photos might help you identify it:

This is another good source of information:

Adele July 31, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Hi Lars,
Got an answer for my question up above? Thanks!

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