En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - April 07, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Problems with claret cup cactus in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a claret cup cactus in a terra-cotta pot that bloomed beautifully a few years ago but hasn't since. This year, it set about a dozen buds and looked poised to bloom like crazy, but two weeks later the buds had turned dark, almost black, and started to shrivel up. Is this a disease problem I should be addressing, or just one of those things?

ANSWER:

Echinocereus triglochidiatus (Claret cup) is native to North America and grows in Texas, so we're okay with that. What we are wondering is if it has been in that same pot all these years and is it outside or inside? If you will follow the above plant link, you will learn it has low water use, needs full sun (6 or more hours of sun a day), prefers (but not exclusively) volcanic soils and can grow in clumps as much as 3 to 4 feet across. So, we're thinking if you started with a cute little cactus in a pot and it has lived in that same pot for years, indoors, and been watered with the other indoor plants, it has several strikes against it. Here is an article from Desert USA that can give you more information.

For specifics on what to do, this article  CactiGuide.com Cacti Pests and Diseases is very informative. Our opinion is that it needs to be divided or introduced into a much bigger pot, watered less, fertilized not at all, planted in a cactus or pumice soil. Very likely it is developing a rot condition and may or may not survive.

 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Container plants for Yakima WA
May 11, 2013 - My condo complex has purchased large, pottery pots for around our pool. I need to choose low maintenance plants. hopefully something that takes limited water, etc.
view the full question and answer

Projected longevity of Opuntia fragilis (Fragile Prickly Pear)
November 25, 2005 - How long does Opuntia fragilis live? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Are agaves really native from Pacific Palisades CA
April 30, 2013 - I just replied re agave issues, and mistakenly asked the source of your information. I see that you clearly noted it, apologies. I would note, however, that the Riverside area is very much a hot,...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a New York, NY apartment?
August 14, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, What are some native Mid-Atlantic/New England plants that can be grown well indoors? I live in an apartment in New York City and have recently realised that the plants I'v...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping with native plants in Austin
October 06, 2005 - I'm expanding a flower bed in front of my house and would like to keep it all natives. 1) How do I find out what type of soil I should add? (I live near Hyde Park, Austin and haven't had a soil te...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center