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I just stumbled into the world of succulents/cacti. I’m still very new and learning by trial and error. Funny, I was told I couldn’t kill these guys and I’ve already lost two! I just got a little cactus with white spines and had it home for two days. I noticed this morning it is falling over and is squishy. I haven’t watered it so I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong so fast! Maybe it needs more light? Any insight on how to save this guy would be great. Ps. this also happened with a hen and chick, it went squishy and then dried up.

I guess 2 out of 12 isn’t a bad loss but I don’t want to keep repeating this trend!



Hi Kara, you’ve most likely done what most novice cacti and succulent growers do, and you were too kind!

Depending on where you get them from, in some cases, they are grown in huge quantities, in unsuitable soil mix (ie: peat based soilless mix which doesn’t drain quickly enough) and then when they arrive at the box stores they are displayed in what to them is a dark and dingy place. No wonder we get them home and they croak!

Here’s my advice; When you buy cacti or succulents, you’re better off buying them mail order from a reputable supplier.

Finding them online is getting easier, depending on your location. This way, you can get named species and varieties and research how to best take care of that particular kind.

They all have slightly different preferences, so a blanket approach to growing them will give you some success, as most of the plants you can easily find are not that fussy, but fine tuning their care to their specific needs is important as your collection grows.

For your cactus that has fallen over I’m afraid it’s too late to save it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it sounds as though it was potted in the wrong soil, overwatered, and has rotted.

Keep trying, using the mail order method of acquiring plants, or even better, get them from a friend who is having success. Seeing them happily growing in their conditions may give you some ideas of how they prefer to grow.

Bright light, water in abundance, but then completely drying out especially in winter, and don’t overpot into a large pot with the wrong soil and you’ll start to discover why they are so popular.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Succulents!