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When planting cactus, use either kitchen tongs or welding gloves, depending on size.
This is a guide about helping a dying cactus. Determining why your cactus is not thriving can take some research.
What to do with those self stick curlers that just lay around in the bathroom in all different colors? They make great cactus plant holders! Fill them with dirt, and water little. They keep the cactus dried out enough to grow, and make a beautiful cluster, stuck together!
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I have a 15 inch cactus that will not stand straight up. It started to lean and I repotted it. It was straight for a while then started to bend again. Is it OK to to plant above the roots further up the cactus? What do you suggest to keep it straight?
I'd put a ruler or dowel next to the cactus to give it something to lean against. Push the ruler into the potting soil. Tie it with a piece of string loosely if necessary. Maybe the cactus needs watering. Mine get kind of limp if they are very thirsty.
I agree with OliveOyl ... a dowel appropriate for the cactus size with twine tied around the two should keep your cactus straight. I make sure the plant is well-watered, and thoroughly wet, then l slide the dowel easily into the soil close to the cactus as possible or needed to keep the plant straight. I don't think, out of my 25+ plants, there is one without some kind of support. I find the best item to use are Chinese chop sticks, that you get at your local Chinese restaurant. Save them, and they work just great!
Yes, you can plant your cactus deeper in the soil to stabilize it. Just be careful to not rot the new part that will be underground. It will take it a little while to change into the non-chlorophyll producing skin of the below ground section. I found this website and article helpful:
How often should I water my cactus and how much light does it need? Also is light from a light stand with a regular 100 watt bulb good for plants?
I don't know exactly about the light, but don't water often or much. Every couple of weeks, just a small amount. Not a cactus expert, although I do have one. Generally I would say regular (steady source) of light. They obviously can stand heat. Mine is on the patio near the light, but not in the bright light and it is doing fine.
I have a 12-14" cactus. I have no clue what kind it is, but it's long and skinny.
It seems to grow sideways right out of the soil. Do I need to stand it up or could this be how it's naturally meant to grow?
There are literally thousands of types of cactus and plants that look like but are not cactus. All cactus have specific and different water and nutritional requirements and may display growth problems, like leaning, due to lack of water, bad soil, etc.
You can take the cactus or a picture of it to a garden center for help in identifying the type and providing the correct growing requirements.
Generally when a cactus is leaning the roots are too shallow. Try carefully using a stick next to the leaning side to hold it up.
Be sure it has full sun, proper drainage, and only water when completely dry.
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Awhile back, our daughter picked out a cactus at the hardware store. To be honest, I didn't have high hopes for the cactus' survival. Living in the Northwest, you quickly realize that there are a lot of plants sold in stores that can't actually thrive here with the rainy, chilly, and cloudy weather. To my amazement, not only has her cactus survived, but it has also rebloomed! She and I had actually had a long talk about the fact that the pretty flowers on it when she bought it would likely not come back. :) Boy was I wrong.