My name is Blair and I'm a Californian living in East London. I've always loved cacti and have been around an abundance of wild growth my whole life in the desert where I grew up . I've always had 3-4 small potted cacti but last year I inherited 2 very large gorgeous plants, one of them is a dounle cactus nearly 8 feet tall! I've been caring for them ever since, but this week one of them got sick and it's sudden and drastic so I'm in a state of panic. I love this plant.
When I got it, the pot it came in was very small and it was incredibly topheavy, but balanced, and it's been fine sitting in the same place all throught the winter. Our loft is flooded with light but it's indirect, however this cactus has been seeming happy and is stronger and more plump than when I got it 8 months ago. There was always a little plae discolouing, crusty beige scarring at the base but the rest of the cactus was green and healthy. The corner where we have it is the safest place for it because of the size, and it's similar light to where it ws living before for the last 20 years. Then 2 weeks ago, I finally repotted it, the roots were in a compact square and I actually had to break the pot they were so tight, there was very little soil even left. I'm surprised it got any water at all!. I repotted it into a larger heavy terracotta pot and basically just packed new soil around all sides of the root square and make sure it was balanced again and stood straight on its own. I watered it, but not super soaking the new soil.
This morning I woke up and noticed that one of the shoots is under duress. It looks like it's rotting, but the soil is not really wet. I've not watered it since repotting.
I just used normal potting soil, is it reacting to the soil? What have I done wrong and what I can I do now? My instincts are to give it more light but the sun is too intense outside now, I don't want to shock it.
I've attached some pgotos of the problem and also of the cactus when it was in its old pot with no problems (new pot is black glazed). What is wrong and what can I do? I throw myself on your mercy!
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Firstly is there a drainage hole in the new pot? As you probably know, cacti don't like sitting in water. On the same line of thought, I wonder if your new compost is free draining, I think that most growers would add a good proportion of grit to their compost.
Secondly I wonder if problems were already starting before repotting, if was obviously totally pot bound. I would have tried to loosen the root ball a little before putting it in the new pot, then not watered it for a couple of weeks to allow the plant and roots to recover.
I don't think it needs more light and, as you say, placing it in full sun now would not be a good idea.
Sorry I cannot be more helpful. Good luck!
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What should I do now? One side is fine, and the affected side hasn't gotten any worse, but I'm not sure if I should separate them? Try to save one side? Trim? Repot again? Leave it be? I'm completely confused on what I should do now and I don't want to make it worse. Any advice? I feel I should act soon.