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(There are a few other questions which may be related but I am not sure if this is a duplicate. (What is this white crust forming on my cactus during the growing months? , What is this white growth on my cactus?, Cactus with a growth). If it is a duplicate let me know and I will delete the question.)

I bought this cactus "gimmick" plant from Trader Joe's last October. I thought it was cute and I didn't expect the cactus to last. Here is it almost April and it is still alive – but it has these white growths as shown in the photo.

The growths are fuzzy and soft to the touch. I'm assuming they are not a "good thing" but should I just pull and scrap them off? Is it a fungus?

While I am here: the "medium" the cactus is planted in is some sort of hard sand-like material (like sand mixed with glue). This makes it hard to know if the plant needs water. I usually end up pouring water in and then turning the pot over to drain out any excess. Is there some better way to care for this sort of "gimmick" plant?

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That does not look like anything to be scared of. It looks to be new growth. Leave it alone for a month or two and if you notice any fungi growth on your cactus apply neem oil to kill. If you are still worried then mix up some neme oil and spray it to kill any fungus or insects that might be living on the plant.

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I would pull this white stuff off. Get rid of every little bit of it. Looks like mealy bug. There must be a way to carefully disengage this little cactus from this glue and pebble stuff. Then simply plant in fresh, bagged, plain old sterilized potting soil, a small clay pot wider than tall, give it a bit of Osmocote 14-14-14 once a year only water when bone dry! This little guy stores his own water and too much water will easily ruin this plant. Does that pot have a hole at the bottom?

You've been watering too much I am hearing, glad you dump the excess water out. Think about doing only 25% of what you've been watering. Allow that soil to dry out in between waterings. Cactus have shallow root systems because they are all geared up to suck up as much water as they can during any rainfall...in the desert, those rainfalls are hard and fast and short. So water shallowly. You shouldn't soak all the soil in the pot. Tiny pot at first, enlarging only when it is obvious the cactus needs a larger pot of soil.

Potting soil. Cactus potting soil is fine as long as it is bagged and sterilized medium. Do not get soil with sponges or gels to hold water or a soil with fertilizers already added. You want to control and add that yourself when appropriate.

If you could take another close up picture of that white mass while pulling it apart with a toothpick? Fork?

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