Why Is My Cactus Falling Over? How To Heal A Drooping Cactus

cactus falling over

If you’ve been noticing that your cactus is looking a little floppy, there’s a good chance it’s because it’s not doing well. So if you’re wondering why is my cactus falling over, the answer is, it could be a number of issues. These can include water and light issues, among a few others. Read on to figure out which issue your cactus has, and how to fix the problem so your cactus can start looking healthy again!

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You may have to do a few minutes of detective work, but it’s worth it! Looking more closely at your cactus is the only way you’ll be able to determine which problem your cactus is facing. Once you’ve got that figured out, then you’ll be able to get started on the road to recovery for your cactus!

Why is my Cactus Falling Over? Water Issues

The first bit of sleuthing you need to do is to touch the soil, and think back to the last time you watered it. Has it been a day, a week, a month, 3 months? How much did you water it? A drop, or so that the cactus was practically floating away in the water? Is it currently summer or winter?

Watering issues is one of the leading causes of cacti falling over, for one reason or another. And you need to water your cactus much less in the winter than summer!

Overwatering Can Lead To A Drooping Cactus

The more common cause with water issues to cause a floppy cactus is overwatering. When you overwater your cactus, it can cause the roots to start rotting. This is why it’s really important to make sure you’re not giving your cactus too much water.

If the soil is soaking wet to the touch, and you haven’t just watered it, take the cactus out of the soil. Replace at least half of the soil with fresh, dry succulent & cacti soil and DO NOT water it for at least 2 weeks, if not a month. (Be sure to keep reading about soil and pot size too)

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Keep reading: how often should I water my cactus?

Underwatering Can Also Cause A Floppy Cactus

One reason why your cactus might be falling over is because it’s not getting enough water. If your cactus is looking a bit dry, shrinking, and is starting to turn white or black, this is a good indicator that it needs more water.

To fix this problem, simply give your cactus a good watering, and continue to water about every 2 weeks for the next few months.

Why Is My Cactus Drooping? Soil and Root Trouble (and maybe bugs too)

If you’ve been watering your cactus regularly, and don’t see any issues, or the soil feels soaking wet, it’s time to look at the soil and pot size of your cactus. You may even need to take your cactus out of the soil and look at the roots.

Amount of Soil and Type of Soil Can Impact Your Cactus

tall cacti in pot

One reason your cactus might be falling over is if it has too much soil. If it has too much soil, then it can easily be overwatered, with the top inch looking dry, so it’s continually getting watered when it doesn’t need to.

It’s also healthier in general to keep your cactus in a smaller pot. This helps the roots grow at a similar speed to the top. If the pot is too big, your cactus will grow way more slowly, because it will be focusing on growth of the roots, rather than the cactus itself.

Another reason why your cactus might be falling over is that it doesn’t have enough soil, or the type of soil you’re using isn’t good for cacti. If you’ve had your cactus in the same container for a few years, it might be time to change out to a slightly bigger container, or give it new soil for new nutrients. Make sure to choose aw ell draining soil.

That’s why it’s important to check and see how the size of your cactus compares to the pot, and if it needs more or less soil. To fix: change the pot size, and make sure you’re using well draining soil.

Small Roots Can’t Keep a Cactus Upright

The roots of your cactus are really important, and can be the reason why it’s falling over. If you’ve had your cactus for a while and it’s starting to fall over, even with good watering practices, then it might not have enough roots to keep it upright.

To check the roots of your cactus:

  • Gently remove your cactus from the pot.
  • Inspect the roots to see if they’re healthy and white, or if they’re black and mushy (root rot).
  • Check to see how many roots there are. If aren’t very many, this could be why your cactus is falling over. If there are a ton, it could also be a problem.

If you think your cactus doesn’t have enough roots, move it to a smaller pot. If they’re root bound (tightly wound together shaping to the pot size), then it’s time to replant in a bigger container with fresh soil.

Pests Can also Damage the Roots

There are also some bugs (think scale) that can cause issues with your cactus and it’s roots. This can cause the cactus to fall over as well.

Why Is My Cactus Floppy? Light Problems

The last thing to investigate is how much sun your cactus is getting every day. Remember! The sun changes spots in the sky over they year, so even if it’s in a full sun spot during summer, it could be getting no sun in winter. This is more noticeable the further you are from the equator.

And keep in mind, most cacti prefer full sunlight. So if your plant isn’t getting at least 6 hours of sun a day, it’s time to change the spot it lives in, or invest in a grow light.

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Not Enough Light = Not Enough Nutrients

Cacti need sunlight to produce food for themselves (photosynthesis). If your cactus isn’t getting enough sun, it’s not getting the nutrients it needs to stay strong and upright. The solution is pretty simple – give your cactus more light!

You can do this by moving it to a sunnier spot in your home.

Not Enough Light – Unstable Growth

The other problem with being in an area that doesn’t have enough light is that the plant might be growing rapidly to get to an area where it can get more sun. And this rapid growth isn’t very healthy, and is causing the plant to droop or fall over, because the roots can’t keep up with this growth.

To fix: give your cactus more light! Again, you can do this by moving it to a sunnier spot.

Why Is My Cactus Falling Over?

Hopefully, after reading this article and doing a little sleuthing, you’ve been able to determine why your cactus is falling over! Keep in mind cacti need a lot of light and not a lot of water, and need a pot that’s not giant for the cactus you’re growing!

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