Help please - can I rescue this cactus ?

[image:
http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/4755/24043238044fb9bd2455xt3.jpg]
This cactus used to look entirely different a week ago. A lot chunkier and healthier.
I've been noticing tiny flies around my house for some weeks (upstairs, downstairs). I figured it may be related to a dodgy spider plant elsewhere in the house.
But I noticed today that the tip had shrivelled up. On closer inspection, I saw that the flies were congregating on around the cactus (tapping it revealed a couple more).
Also of concern - prodding the cactus reveals it to be rather flimsy; feels hollowed out inside somewhat.
Is there any way to turn this around?! I'm beside myself, because I inherited this from a late friend.
On my father's advice, I filled a squirty bottle with water and some washing up liquid and sprayed the plant with that. In his experience, that's killed blackfly on leaves.
--
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wrote:

That soil doesn't look right for cactus, should be more sandy. You may have over watered it. I would slice off that top portion and get rid of it, it looks diseased. If with a sharp pen knife you pare out one of those nodules, coat wit a little rootone, and plant it you can make a new plant.
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it looks like you overwatered, or it was exposed to freezing. i doubt the flies caused the problems. is this the whole cactus, or a cutting? was it recently repotted? what type of soil? how often do you water it? lee
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plantelsewhere in the house.

revealed a couple more).

experience,that's killed blackfly on leaves.-- parakeet
The flies are devouring what already started to rot from too much moisture. I doubt you can save the cactus but if any part of it seems good, cut that off and give it to someone who has some experience rooting cactus segments. You can try it yourself but there's a knack to it, seems simple enough once you get good at it, but rarely works first couple tries, especially with someone who couldn't keep a whole cactus alive. It would've taken me at least three years to kill it!
-paghat the ratgirl
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snipped-for-privacy@paghat.com (paghat) wrote in

three years? i have cactuses that have been around & expanding for over 25 years. it was the one type of plant the feline hordes left alone. unfortunately the same isn't true of the current puppy horde... the Boston Terrier puppy *loves* cactus. anyway, it depends on the variety of cactus how hard it is to root, & it's generally far easier to root a top segment or 'arm' than a slice. i've always had sucess by just placing the piece to be rooted on damp cactus medium & ignoring it for a while, just moistening the soil every other week or so. i've also found bits of broken off cactus 'arm' on the floor behind the pot with roots starting. i just pot those up. the cactus in the photo looks pretty doomed though. the tip is shriveled & s/he states the bottom part is mushy. i would attempt cutting off the shriveled tip & potting that in damp cactus mix in a pot with *good* drainage & seeing if it might root. the key words being "cactus mix" (lots of sharp sand for air & drainage), "damp" (not soggy!), & "drainage" (let the poor thing dry out). cactus thrive on neglect, for the most part. let them dry out between waterings. if you *must* fertilize, use an extremely dilute mix & do it only once/year (i do fertilize mine in the spring before i kick them out the door for the summer). and if you move them outside for the summer & you live in a non-arid region, be prepared to move them under cover if it rains. most houseplant cactuses die from too much attention. lee
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But that's not my definition of capacity to kill 'em them. A hardy succulent killed from underwatering goes down slowly.
-paggers

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I believe you skewed the gist of her post. Tuck your tongue in your cheek and Google 'cactus death+irony' ;)
Val
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ct.net.au:

well, they are taking over the available plant light space... & there are a couple that are *daring* me to attempt repotting... but they're so pretty in bloom. lee
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wrote:

I have a beautiful Opuntia which I think is 'Santa Rita' and has pink hued pads with pale, creamy yellow flowers. I'd be happy to send you a pad which will root in about a month on the ground. I may even have some rooted pads.
I have other things to get out at the post office this week...including Cheryl's package (if you're reading this che).
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wrote:

could i beg one too? i don't have as many daylilies as Cheryl, but maybe something else? lee
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wrote:

They are flowering now and they are just beautiful. If you don't hear from me in a few days, remind me. I'm semi brain dead with pain medication these days.
Victoria
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wrote:

I have send you an email.
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wrote:

It's in the box. Send me your address at snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com
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ct.net.au:

yes, prickly pears! the pads are good, the fruit is great! they have an extremely wide range (to zone 3, if it's not too soggy). try to find the variety that doesn't have the spines, but remember those fuzzy little bits are just as nasty & wear gloves when picking & peeling. and if you have tortoises, they'll love the leftovers. i know mine can deal with the spines, but i peel them anyway.
lee
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hey, there are cactus that are native to *Canada*! zone 3! (& i need to get a couple, as they're one of my tortoise's favorite foods). but my cactuses are quite spoiled, with plant lights in winter & summers outside... lee
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