NOTE: In this article, Rat Tail Cactus and Aporocactus flagelliformis may be used interchangeably; in fact, Aporocactus flagelliformis is the botanical name for Rat Tail Cactus.
The rat tail cactus is native to southwestern Mexico and parts of Central America. It is known for its long, trailing stems, which grow to about 4 feet at maturity and give the plant its nickname.
Rat’s tail cactus flowers in spring and early summer are usually violet-red, but the plant will sometimes grow flowers in different colors like pink and orange. Its flowers are 2 inches wide and tubular.
Each flower only lasts for a couple of days at most, even though it produces quite a few flowers during its bloom in the late spring.
Why does my Aporocactus flagelliformis roots have rot?
Root rot on your Rat Tail Cactus (Aporocactus flagelliformis) can be dangerous if left untreated. In order to keep your plant alive, we strongly suggest that you follow our advice if the signs start to show: blackened and mushy roots.
Why does my Rat Tail Cactus have gray mold spots?
A particular fungus that frequently affects flowers and spreads quickly is known as gray mold spots. This fungus is most likely to blame if you see any brown (or gray) spots. Don’t ignore these signs because doing so could cause your plant to die.
The answer is obvious once you recognize the cause of the problem. Most frequently, it results from the Aporocactus flagelliformis being overwatered. We strongly advise you to remove the damaged plant parts, cut off the diseased roots and leaves, and then repot your plant in a new container with sterile potting soil.
Why does my Rat Tail Cactus have leaf spots?
This type of disease is one of the most frustrating for Rat Tail Cactus owners, we give you all the leads to spot and save your plants that present symptoms such as leaves that suddenly change color, or wilt/droop.
Why are my Rat Tail Cactus leaves turning yellow?
In the world of horticulture, yellowing leaves are undoubtedly the most common problem. The two main causes of this problem are overwatering and a lack of nutrition.
Reduce your watering frequency when you fear your plants are being overwatered, and follow these steps to determine whether they may be lacking in nutrients:
Here are some indicators of yellowing on the Aporocactus flagelliformis brought on by its numerous flaws:
- Magnesium deficiency starts as yellow patches between leaf veins on older leaves. Veins stay green as yellow moves from the leaf center out. Leaf edges turn yellow last.
- Yellowing between leaf veins is another sign of iron shortage, but young leaves on plant tops and branch tips are initially affected.
- Sulfur deficiency starts with the newest leaves, turning them yellow throughout.
- Potassium deficiency shows itself when leaf edges turn bright yellow, but the inner leaf stays green. Older leaves show symptoms first, and leaf edges soon turn brown.
- A lack of nitrogen is indicated by a widespread yellowing. Older, inner leaves are the first to yellow. As the yellowing progresses, it eventually touches young leaves as well.
You only need to respond to the signs mentioned above. A gardening store expert will be able to provide you advice on how to purchase a specific soil to treat a potassium or nitrogen deficiency. Additionally, you can reduce how often you water your plants.
Is my Rat Tail Cactus sunburned?
You can easily tell if your Rat Tail Cactus (your Aporocactus flagelliformis) has a sunburn. In this case, your plant will change color, starting to turn yellow or white, much like it does on us.
The leaves of your Rat Tail Cactus can also change color in case it gets too much water or not enough light, as we saw above.
To find out if the yellow leaves have been sunburned, look at the part of the bottom that is tinted closer to the base. The yellow leaf is probably burnt and not something else if this portion stays greener.
Why are my Rat Tail Cactus leaves turning brown?
The classic sign that a plant has been overexposed to direct sunlight and sunburned is the development of browning leaves. Rest assured that while this may probably save your plant from dying, it will adversely affect its growth.
Should I leave my Aporocactus flagelliformis in direct sunlight?
No! If your Aporocactus flagelliformis (or Rat Tail Cactus) has the symptoms described above, don’t leave it in direct sunlight, that’s the reason why your Rat Tail Cactus is in such a state!
The remedy, as said in the paragraph above, is simple: just move your plant’s Rat Tail Cactus out of direct sunlight. Your plant should swiftly re-grow with this strategy and appropriate watering.
Why are my Aporocactus flagelliformis leaves drooping or wilting ?
This typically occurs when your Aporocactus flagelliformis gets dehydrated. Large plants are more at risk since they naturally require more water than smaller plants.
Whether your Aporocactus flagelliformis plant’s pot appears light, the soil and roots are likely fairly dry and need water, so you can readily tell if it needs to be hydrated.
If the soil in the container is completely dry, you must first moisten it to guarantee that your plant’s roots absorb the benefits of the water. One common mistake is to drown the Rat Tail Cactus right away after a dry time because you think it needs a lot of water.
This is true, but the easiest way to end it is to give too much water at once. Instead, you should water the soil properly, returning to a peaceful watering rhythm.
Caring Tips for Aporocactus flagelliformis
Your plant needs water to survive, but it’s crucial to balance the amount and timing of watering. As we previously mentioned, overwatering could be catastrophic for your Aporocactus flagelliformis.
You can tell if your plant needs water by touching the soil; if it still feels damp, it’s usually preferable to wait a few more days.
Always keep temperatures stable
Maintaining a consistent temperature for your Aporocactus flagelliformis is also a good idea, especially if it is kept indoors. At GreenShack, we typically advise reserving a temperature between 65 and 85 degrees F. Of course, avoid positioning your Aporocactus flagelliformis close to air conditioners, radiators, or other sources of hot or cold air.
Keep your Rat Tail Cactus Dust-Free
This one relates to indoor plants. Just like your furniture, dust collects on the leaves of your indoor plants. The issue is that this can block the photosynthesis process from starting, which would cause the plants to gradually lose their color.
For your Rat Tail Cactus, this would be a true descent into hell, and it would also appease the pests.
To remove the dust from the leaves of your plant, take a microfiber cloth and gently rub the leaves. You can wet the cloth to make it easier to remove the dust, but never use corrosive products (such as rubbing alcohol!)
Keep drainage in mind
If you have a tendency to overwater, you should be mindful of your drainage, and if they don’t already have them, we suggest selecting a saucer and a pot with drainage holes.
If your pots don’t already have holes in them, you can add volcanic rocks (or any other pebbles with holes) to the bottom of your pot in the meantime. This will assist in creating a channel and keep the water from pooling there for an extended period of time, protecting the roots from decay.