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

Sunday - June 03, 2012

From: Temple, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Problems with Strawberry Hedgehog cactus from Temple TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I had purchased a Strawberry hedgehog Cactus (echinocereus stramineus) a few years ago from the Wildflower Center's annual plant sale and planted it then. It has now started to brown from bottom to top. How can I stop this and why is this happening? The only reason I can imagine why this has happened is because I recently pruned a plant back that was covering the cactus, but the cactus was normal before I did this. Help Please! Thanks ahead of time!

ANSWER:

The very first question we need to ask is, is this plant being grown in a pot outside?  We followed this plant link Echinocereus stramineus (Strawberry hedgehog cactus) to our webpage on this plant and learned that it cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 deg F. Plants in pots are only protected by a thin layer of potting soil and a thinner layer of plastic or terra cotta and are more vulnerable to freeze damage. So, if the pot was exposed to temperatures under 50 deg, especially for several hours, that may explain the browning.

The next thing we would consider is your statement that you pruned back a plant that was covering the cactus. Normally, that would be considered a good thing, because this cactus needs full sun, and may not have been getting it. But maybe the sudden removal of that shade has caused sunscald.

From Cactus Art, here is more information on Echinocereus stramineus (Strawberry hedgehog cactus), including this sentence:

"Rots easily; it is sensitive to overwatering (rot prone) needs a very good drainage to avoid rotting, Keep drier and cool in winter." 

Somehow, since the plant is browning from bottom to top, we suspect that rot may be the answer. When we searched on "treating rot in cactus," we found this site, Cactus Expert 2. At the middle of the page is a discussion of how to identify rot in a cactus and what to do about it. From CactiGuide.com is a website on cacti pests and diseases.

We truly salute your bravery. Hope you have some good heavy leather gloves.

 

From the Image Gallery


Strawberry hedgehog cactus
Echinocereus stramineus

Strawberry hedgehog cactus
Echinocereus stramineus

Strawberry hedgehog cactus
Echinocereus stramineus

Strawberry hedgehog cactus
Echinocereus stramineus

Strawberry hedgehog cactus
Echinocereus stramineus

Strawberry hedgehog cactus
Echinocereus stramineus

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Grubworms in Austin Flower Bed
March 09, 2011 - How do I get rid of grubworms in my flower beds?
view the full question and answer

Cutting Back Perennials in the Fall?
November 13, 2013 - We have large beds of flowering native perennials that we planted around our house as part of a landscape conservation plan (various Joe-Pyes, goldenrods, turtlehead, blazing star, brown-eyed Susans)....
view the full question and answer

Small tan balls on oak from Pipe Creek TX
May 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, our spanish oak is growing tan colored lumpy balls about the size and weight of a marshmallow..sometimes just one at the end of a short stem and sometimes 2-3 clumped together....
view the full question and answer

Young Maple Dropping Leaves in Late Summer
September 05, 2013 - I have a 6-year-old maple tree. I'm not sure what type it is as the builder planted it. It is as tall as our two-story house and very healthy. It's the biggest tree in our neighborhood because we fe...
view the full question and answer

Agarita and Mexican Buckeye not flowering or fruiting.
December 11, 2012 - The Greenbelt behind our home has a ton of agarita and Mexican buckeye, but they never bloom or berry. The pigeon berry is very happily doing both all year. Any suggestions for helping the agerita a...
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