Cactus falling over regularly

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Cactus falling over regularly

Post by Kees » Sun May 09, 2021 8:40 pm

This cactus falls over every so often. Today I pushed it upright, supported it with a little stick but soon it fell over again in the other direction. This cactus has been doing this for a couple of years now.
I am hesitant to put it deaper in the soil, worried it might make it prone to rot.
It is a rooted cutting at least 10 years old.

BTW: am I correct calling it M. hahniana?
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Re: Cactus falling over regularly

Post by RAYWOODBRIDGE » Sun May 09, 2021 9:06 pm

When some Mamms get to this age and size they do this a lot, then offset from the top side if left down.
You are right, if you plant it deep it will rot , better to put something for it to lean on may be a stick in the next pot or place two stones alongside the stem.

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Re: Cactus falling over regularly

Post by Christian » Mon May 10, 2021 12:15 am

What do people think about cutting the top off and re-rooting it? Might that be another option?
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Re: Cactus falling over regularly

Post by el48tel » Mon May 10, 2021 9:26 am

I suppose there are two issues here.
1 Is it the normal course of events in the wild that the plant topples over and sends out offsets to start "new life"?
2 Is it not possible to leave the plant in its existing pot, placing it into a larger pot containing ballast, and disguising or camouflaging this with top dressing?
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Re: Cactus falling over regularly

Post by FredG » Mon May 10, 2021 12:14 pm

Send it to rehab :???:
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Re: Cactus falling over regularly

Post by ragamala » Mon May 10, 2021 12:32 pm

I am sure there are two major factors in the leaning, Firstly the restriction to roots of the pot. Few of us have the luxury of giving our plants unlimited root-run so they can do what comes naturally. Secondly if anyone has experience of plants leaning away from the sun I'd be surprised (apart in my experience Pereskiopsis). We just don't get enough sun here in UK.
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Re: Cactus falling over regularly

Post by JonNo » Mon May 10, 2021 12:44 pm

Looks familiar...
As you can see, mine is planted in a long narrow "pot" and propped up with supports - its not ideal as the supports cut into the plant a bit but I've never been able to work out what else to do... I have considered trying to re-pot it into a standard round pot with a "frame" around it to hold it upright, but I'm not sure that the plant would be able to manage that without collapsing/ compressing under its own weight. I've also considered decapitating it and trying to root the top section, but I've had the plant a long time and haven't got the courage to risk it... I wouldn't want to lose it!

I did do some research (Googling) and read somewhere that in the wild when they reach this size they just topple over and continue to grow. I'm sure the experts on here will be able to say whether or not there's any truth in that.

I've never been sure of the identity of mine either. Some years it bears a ring of small red flowers around the top. I think it might be Mamm. Albilanata but don't know. It does look quite similar to yours...

Hope you find a solution!
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Re: Cactus falling over regularly

Post by juster » Mon May 10, 2021 1:03 pm

I don’t think there’s an easy answer here, as others have said, some plants do this. I have sometimes beheaded plants like this, usually (but not always) without any problems. In this case I would cut at about 2 inches above the bottom, where the plant is still fairly narrow. Leave in a dry place to callus over for a couple of weeks, then plant in very slightly damp compost, be cautious with watering for a while. It’s only one option, but now is the time of year to try it if you feel brave enough! Good luck.
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Re: Cactus falling over regularly

Post by Paul D » Mon May 10, 2021 2:23 pm

Here's a couple of my solutions, though these are Weingartias not Mammillarias. Unfortunately some plants just do this. The first one shows plants propped up with cane supports, and the second one the more drastic solution of cutting it down. The top half is rooting down in another pot, but this shows the bottom half with lots of new sprouting branches.

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20210510_122706.jpg (503.27 KiB) Viewed 473 times
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Re: Cactus falling over regularly

Post by Tony R » Mon May 10, 2021 4:31 pm

Some columnar mammillarias (as opposed to 'top heavy' ones) want to grow sideways and downwards in culture naturally, as in habitat where they often choose to grow down cliffs.

Below is one such example, Mamm. spinosissima ssp. pilcayensis. This started out from seed about 15 years ago and soon became a 2-headed seedling. Whilst it grew nearly upright for a few years, in time the two heads fortunately headed in opposite directions. A plant I enjoy, but it does take up a little more room on the bench - it is in a 6 inch pot and it will soon be time to put it into a 'hanging basket'.

mamm pilcayensis.jpg
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