I planted some notocactus seeds sometime in September and many have germinated since then. A few weeks ago, there was an incident where some of my succulents may have experienced frost and I can't be positive which ones (other than the obvious effects: I had to throw many away as a result of succulents drooping and oozing). I haven't noticed any obvious growth in the notocactus seedlings recently and pictures I've taken fail to help me identify growth due to the extremely small seedlings' sizes (see below).

Notocactus seedlings

I'm curious as to whether my cactus seedlings have died or not. They seem mushy when probed with a small toothpick, which I know is a sign of succulent death. Is there a definitive way to be able to tell whether my notocactus seedlings have died or they're just going through typical slow growth?

  • 1
    If they are mushy, dark and translucent then yes, they're dead. It'd be easier to see with a magnifying glass.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 20:58

2 Answers 2


If they get hit by frost, they will go dark, translucent, and mushy. In a while they will dry off and shrivel. If alive, they will remain rigid, and slowly increase in size as they grow.

If you can magnify them and get a better look, that would help. If you're still in question, wait a week and note any differences. If they haven't shriveled atall, they're still alive.


I see green on them. If they are dead they won't be mushy, they will be dried out and brown. Cactus plants have very little moisture in them so they seldom will get mushy because they require a superficial lack of moisture to grow. If they have green on them, they are alive.

  • Sorry I tried to specify on this in the question, but: I'm worried they're dead from a frost. One morning I woke up and found a few of my succulents frozen by a window (oops), and I'm not sure if these cacti were affected. So, I don't think they'd be brown -- my other succulents weren't. They were just very droopy and mushy.
    – jeremy
    Commented Feb 6, 2016 at 21:05
  • If they have been frosted, the individual cells will have burst as the water in them has expanded and crystallised. So they may well have lost their structure as a result - possible reason for mushiness. So yes they may well have been killed by the cold
    – user13638
    Commented Feb 7, 2016 at 19:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.