Hi,

I have a plant that I purchased about 2-1/2 years ago from you. While I left it in the pot, it continued to grow and looked heathy. Last summer, I transplanted it into the ground in a sunny spot. It stopped growing, and developed a yellow tinge. Now, the yellow spots are turning soft.

subulata

I have a new raised bed with much better drainage and a bit less sun. My question is: can I move it right now, or must I wait until it warms up? I live in Sacramento. Is it too late to save? It is soft at the top of the plant, not near the roots.

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer,

Kathryn

Kathryn,
If when it was in the pot it was in a less sunny location, it may have sunburned from being put out into full sun, especially in a Sacramento summer.

And then in winter, it looks like you have automatic watering at the plant? If so that could make the problem worse in winter. It is possible that the soil was moist when we had our freeze in January.

So it looks like it is rotting from the tip. In general that means you want to cut the rotted tips off down to where you can see fresh clean green tissue on the inside of the plant. You will then have to protect the tips for a few weeks while they callous over. Given how far this has progressed, I would recommend doing the cutting now, turning off the water and protecting it from any rains, and then waiting until April or May to transplant it. Basically you want it to start getting better before you cause any transplant stress.

You should spray the cut tips with hydrogen peroxide to help them heal over. Watch for further rot and if needed spray with an organic fungicide like neem.

In the future it is best to water Opuntia subulatas in the ground very very sparingly. Once established you don’t have to ever water them unless you are getting over 95F.

Good luck

Peter