Cacti are abundant features in most desert landscapes. As native plants in Tucson, AZ, they are a natural choice for any yard. They also have minimal water needs because they’re adapted to the arid desert climate. However, this means that cacti can be easily overwatered, which may yield lasting damage. Whether your cactus has been overexposed to monsoon rains or you’ve been too heavy handed with the watering can, the following steps can help you save an overwatered cactus.
Assess the damage
An overwatered cactus can appear wilted, soft, and brown. If the cactus is potted, you’ll want to take a closer look at the damage by carefully removing the cactus from the pot (use layers of newspaper to wrap the cactus before removing with gloves) and examine the roots. If most roots are white, the cactus is easily recovered. Alternatively, an abundance of black and brown roots will indicate extensive rot mean that the cactus needs complete rerooting rather than just replanting in well drained soil.
Remove rotted areas
When overwatering is chronic, rot is common. If your cactus has been heavily damaged by overwatering, you will want to cut away all rotted tissues and roots. Allow the cut section to dry for several days and then replant in a clay pot with cactus mix soil. Do not water for the first week or until you start to see new growth. Then, water sparingly as the cactus continues to reroot and recover.
Adjust your watering schedule
In general, cacti do not need much watering. Even potted cacti may only need watering about once every 10 days. In addition, it’s better to let your plant become too dry than to overwater. When you feel that the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry, it is time to water your cactus.
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