I got this cactus a couple of years ago but in the last few months I have noticed the bottom half getting brownish and soft. I water the cactus about once every 6-8 days and it gets a lot of direct and indirect sunlight as it sits on a SE facing windowsill. I have fertilized the cactus once with a cactus and succulent fertilizer. I also repotted it and the roots looked healthy (a white creamy color). I live in the Baltic. enter image description here

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1 Answer 1


It's not clear from the photos, but cactus often have corking or browning of the lower stem near the soil line. It is not normally soft, so that is a concern.

If you could take a picture or two with better light on the lower stem that would be helpful in determining if you have normal corking or if something else is going on.

Your cactus is a Echinocactus grusonii which are fairly robust. Unfortunately, it won't flower until it gets bigger than your head.

Do you know why the lower spines look stained red? I've never seen anything like that.

I caution you to water when the soil is mostly dry rather than on a time table. When it's cold and/or humid the time between waterings should be greater.

It's a good looking plant, I hope it's just corking.

  • The spines have always been red, thats why I got it in the first place. Unfortunately I don't think it's normal corking. In better light you can see how there is a very visible line between nice bright green and the slightly brownish green. I will get a better picture in the morning.
    – Mihkel
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 17:15
  • Oh, I got a better picture, ill add it.
    – Mihkel
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 17:20
  • Yeah, slightly brownish green doesn't sound good. I can sort of see it in the current photos. The red spines are weird. Here in the US. some stores paint their cactus (mostly the spines) for marketing (?). If it is rotten, cutting the rotten parts off ASAP is the way to go. You may be able to root what's left. If you cut the rotten off at the line and the rot goes up into the plant body, you'll have to keep cutting until you don't see rot and/or toss the whole thing.
    – Tim Nevins
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 17:30
  • I don't think it's rot. I water it after the soil is bone dry, is it possible for rot to develop like that? Only maybe the bottom 1/5 of the cactus is soft, some of the discoloration is hard as well, just like healthy tissue. And yes im pretty sure the spines were just painted I remember when I got it the red spines were up to the half way point but now those have gotten replaced with new ones.
    – Mihkel
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 17:39
  • Cactus like that, I'd water once a month. Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 17:57

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