Q: Hi. I called your store last weekend and had some questions about a cereus cactus I have that appears to have scales but also seems to be “dying” from the top down. I was told to email some photos of my plant, so I’m sending them now. I would really appreciate your looking at them and advising me of what I can do to salvage my cactus. If you have any problems accessing the pictures, please let me know.
Thank you very, very much for your time and assistance.
It looks like your plant has both scale insects and an infection, viral or fungal (most likely brought on by the bugs…). You should spray with Neem Oil to kill the scale. You can then clean off the dead ones with a small paint brush dipped in rubbing Alcohol. For the infection, I hate to say it but you need to cut off the top a couple of inches below the “icky” part and then look at the cut part to make sure there is no black or orange spots in the soft tissue, if there are you need to clean the knife with alcohol and re-cut lower down until you only have clean green tissue showing. Then pour household Hydrogen-Peroxide over the cut to sterilize. Do this again for the next few days to make sure the infection is dead.
It will scar up and then branch around the cut and in a few years it won’t be that noticeable.