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Came home to Echinopsis pachanoi seedlings laying down on their sides?

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Lemon Flip

Rising Star
Hello all,

I germinated a half dozen or so Echinopsis pachanoi two years ago. I was just learning how to take care of cacti and mistreated them horribly, depriving them of water and adequate light for far far too long. They ended up extremely shriveled and near-death at only about 1-1.5cm tall. This last spring I gave them a whole lot of water and 2 didn't respond, but 4 of them FILLED with water, and grew so fast! They are now at about 2cm with the tallest being about 3cm. I've been lightly misting during fall and let the soil dry out completely for a bit before I doused them with a larger amount of water after ~a month of little water. Well I have been letting the soil dry (not completely) but today when I returned from work they had all been laying down. I guess they just needed to rest :surprised who knows?

What the hell?! The soil was near dry but not quite. IIRC the soil composition is about 60/40 sand/garden soil with a bit of real salty and alkaline bonneville lake bottom and some gypsum. Why were they sleeping? lol

I've proped them up with snail shells and they seemed alright with no breaking or tearing at the base, I just want to know what went wrong so I can avoid this in the future.

I think a picture might be useful.

My guess: if the seedlings aren't buried very much (e.g. if the seeds germinated on the soil surface and the base of the cactus is nearly level with the soil), the cacti may have very little support... any etiolation at the base probably wouldn't help either. Having the cactus in contact with damp soil promotes rot even when bottom watering, so a thin top layer of somewhat coarse rock may be helpful to stabilize. Might be resolved once you eventually repot the seedlings.

No idea why they all fell at once. The soil does shift and expand when going from dry to moist. The roots are fine I'm assuming. I think your soil is a bit unconventional, but if it works, it works.
They did germinate on the surface or just a few grains of sand below. I figured it might be related to their lack of support, so I have built up soil around them now, I hope it will solve the problem--I just wanted to make sure another individual had the same idea as me, and I wasn't ignorant of some other complication. Thanks!
You don't happen to have fungus gnats at all, do you? I know that the larvae will eat the roots and they can fall over from that, but it is tough to tell without a photo.
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