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Is something wrong with my cactus setup? Pics included

13 years ago

Hi all

I have had some cactus planted for about 11 months now. I bought one of those little assorted seed packs from a garden store last year and planted them. About a month later I ordered some San Pedro seeds from eBay and plated those as well.

The first assorted pack I planted, I planted in bagged cactus soil and they all died on me. I think it was damping off disease? They became almost translucent and then sort of shriveled and imploded on themselves. So I tried again with two different cactus soil recipes I found online: one with builders sand, cactus soil and rocks and another with small busted pebbles and cactus soil. They have been alive for this long but now I think some are having problems again and im not sure why.

I have never been sure about the proper lighting. All off the seedlings started off as a nice green color then some started turning red while others seem to be a pale green color. I only have east facing and west facing windows so they would have been exposed to bright sunlight had I kept them in the windowsill so I bought one of those shop lights to put them under. I think the unit has two normal T12 bulbs if I am not mistaken - no special grow light.

I started off with the bulbs about 18 inches above the seedlings but they started turning dark and some red so I covered them with a tube framework with something like cheese cloth to cut down the light. They stopped turning red for the most part but never went back to a healthy green color. At times I would take the cover off for a while because I wasnt sure if they were getting enough light or not. For a few weeks now I have been leaving the cover off for a good part of the day.

Recently I sat some Salvia and Petunia seeds on the table and lowered the light so they would germinate. I still have kept the cover on the cacti for part of the day and taking it off for part of the day.

Well I looked this morning and my largest cactus from the assortment pack is looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and is getting mushy as well as a the bright red one next to it. Their colors have not changed with the new light I don't believe but they are dying for sure.

So for the long back story but I just wanted you all to be aware of what I have done so far in hopes that someone could advise me if I am going about things the wrong way. Its just that a select few seem to have a nice color, some are red and some are such a dark green that they are looking almost black. I usually water them about every 10 - 15 days when the pots have thoroughly dried out. At first when they were really young I watered once a week I would say.

Is fluorescent light too bright on cactus seedlings at 18" and should I have introduced a cover at all? Would it kill any new seedlings if I tried again and just used my west facing window? Finally, do these seedlings all look unhealthy? They are all about to be around a year old.

Thanks so much for the help. BTW if I have left anything out just ask and I will fill in the details.

I will include some photos of where they are sitting as well as pics of my seedlings. The photo with the circle marked is the seedling that was my largest and is now about to die. :(







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