My cactus shoots

Hey Gardening & Landscaping SE, happy to be a new member! I am concerned for my cactus shoots and hope you are willing to help me out.

Short version: My 3,5 months old cactus shoots are starting to droop and some are turning a dull olive color (the two farthest away from the camera). The drooping is not visible in the photo as I have moved soil around the base to make them stand straight. Should I be worried?

Details: This is my first time trying to propagate Echinopsis pachanoi (also known as Trichocereus pachanoi or San Pedro) from seed. I planted the seeds in a metal tray with 3 cm deep soil consisting of cactus potting mix, perlite and sand. For the first 3 months I kept the tray in a plastic bag to retain moisture. One month before opening the bag, I moved the cacti from a dimly sunlit window sill to a lighting fixture with three 18 W fluorescent lights. The tray started out 35 cm below the light source, but a week after removing the bag I noticed the shoots were rather pale, so I moved them to 20 cm below the lights. The cacti gained a nice deep green color at first, but after a week some are starting to droop and turn an olive color that doesn't look all too healthy.

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    Welcome bjarke15! We're so glad you're here! Thanks for this really detailed question, including the picture. It's a great example of how to write a question to get the most help. I don't know about seedlings myself, but there are many people here who do, and I hope someone will come by soon and help you out! Oct 29, 2018 at 0:09
  • The metal tray- does it have drainage holes, and have you been watering since you removed the plastic? How many hours per day are the lights on for?
    – Bamboo
    Oct 29, 2018 at 0:13
  • The tray does have drainage holes and I've been watering since the bag was removed. The lights are on for 13 hours a day.
    – bjarke15
    Oct 29, 2018 at 8:09
  • I'm thinking its probably time to prick them out into individual pots - 3 cm of soil isn't a lot, and they're certainly big enough to be moved. Use cactus soil mix if you can... also not sure they need to be that close to the lights, but I'm no expert in growing cacti from seed...
    – Bamboo
    Oct 29, 2018 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


Cacti require well drained soil, but put them back in the sunlight. If your UV light is the problem you need some intense sun again.

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