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The Corroboree

Help to save these cacti....

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My friend gave me these cacti...


(click "next" to see more images)

...as he is moving and doesn't want them anymore.

After having a look online I believe the peyote (?) buttons to be in a bad way, they don't look that healthy. The longer taller cactus looks pretty healthy but it has narrowed a lot at the top compared to when he got them.

They have been sitting on a coolish window sill over winter. They got a fair amount of sunlight, but not loads, we are in England. Sometimes the window would get condensation on it, he tells me he had a water-catcher thing there to help stop that.

Is there anything I can do to help save these cacti? I would like to see the buttons healthy again and the taller one plump out.

He also gave me a bag or perlite (?) with them. They look like small white stones or something.

What would be the best way to see if I can save them? Should I repot them? What should I use for repotting, and what kind of light/temperature do they need?

I've tried looking on various sites, however there seems to be all manner of recommendations. I thought if I posted the exact cacti here then someone with experience might be able to suggest something.

I hope someone can help!

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I only saw the 1st pic as I can't find the "next" thumbnail.

The Lophophora in the pic looks like it dormant, and it's in good shape. Keep the soil dry until the weather warms up and then start watering it. It should pump up again and resume growing.

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Hey Philocacti, thanks for the swifty reply! :)

I have tried to upload all the photos again, so perhaps this link will work now?:


That's good news to hear that the Lophophora just looks dormant. I was worried that it looked moldy or even just dying and wouldn't be able to recover.

Can you suggest any tips for repotting them? I as thinking of doing it soon, before spring properly kicks in. What would be the best kind of materials to use, in the pot and type of pot? Shall I put two together, or even in the same pot as the other long cacti, or are they all better off in separate pots?

The "soil" in the Lophophoras looks a bit rough/bitty to me....do you think it's ok, or should I change them, and if so, for what?

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Trichos are hardy as. I would put it in a slightly larger pot and get it outside ASAP (depending on your weather) and introduce it slowly to full sun (if it exists in England).

Similar with the lophs. Get them outside but protect from full sun.

Preferred soil types are hotly debated and there are heaps of threads here about peoples preferences. I'd personally use premium potting mix straight out of the bag for trichs and add 25-50% sand for lophs but to some people that's crazy talk.

If you have to keep them inside you might consider adding more sand to both mixes because rich soil inside increases the risk of fungus gnats and other pests in my experience.

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Thanks for replying J Smith, all great information! :)

I think I will wait for a month or two before repotting them, as I read that it should happen in late spring/early summer....would this be right? Also I don't want to shot the Lophs as one of them has a bud/flower starting at the top of it and I don't want to loose it.

The soil mix is still confusing me. So far I understand, small pebbles on the bottom to allow draining/airation, then my premium soil mixed with some sand a perlite stuff, and then some small stones/gravel on the top.

Everywhere I read says something different!!! Surely there must be an "ideal"/natural mix like the soil in their native lands?

Also, when it comes to watering I have read vastly different things too. If anyone can shed any light on how often I should water them, and if I should feed them with anything then I'd love to hear!

Before I got these I was under the impression that cacti were easy things to grow....these seem quite fussy! :)

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Min different soil mixes work in different parts of the world, but generally for lophophora you want to avoid too much organic material and make sure the mix doesn't stay wet.

When it's hot i water mine every week or so, but the easiest way to tell if they need water is to give them a gentle squeeze and see how soft they feel

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I use coco core and mixed some fish tank gravel in for good drainage and to let air to the roots. Like what coolname said about give them a gentle squeeze if they feel soft they are ok, it all depends on the weather to how much water they need.

I feed my lophs every other week from spring, just find a liquid feed that is relatively low in nitrogen and has micro-nutrients in it.

I use chempak cactus and succulent feed and that works fine for me.

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