Is your Cactus Shriveling up and Wrinkling?
Easy Fix!

Underwatering a cactus can cause shriveling and wrinkling. If you're looking for an easy fix, you've come to the right place!

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Kelly Adams

October 03, 2021

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Cacti are plants that require minimal water. However, underwatering can cause a cactus to shrivel up. Are you looking for a cure to shriveling and wrinkling for your cactus?

A quick fix like placing your cactus in your sink and letting water enter from below through the drainage on the pot can rehydrate your cactus. 

An image of a cactus with a violet flower in a white cup

What Causes a Cactus to Shrivel up

Although a cactus does not require much water, but that still doesn’t mean it needs no water at all to survive. Underwatering can cause a cactus to shrivel up and develop wrinkles. 

A cactus needs to be watered once every 10 to 14 days. Check the roots of your plant to make sure its water requirements are being met. Be careful with overwatering as well since it can cause root rot.

An Easy Fix

An image of cacti lined up in red containers

To fix the shriveling up problem, you will need to soak your cactus in a tub of water. Make sure the water is lukewarm. Place your cactus in a pot with a drainage hole. Wait for the water to reach the roots of your cactus. 

You will need to wait for at least 45 minutes before you remove your cactus from the water. Be sure to pour a little water on the head of your cactus. 

Tips on how to take care of your cactus

Before you make that final purchase, it is advisable to go through our tips on how to take care of a cactus. 

1. Light

An image of a cactus in the sunlight

Cacti are plants that thrive in bright indirect sunlight. These plants usually require at least 10 - 14 hours of sunlight daily. Make sure to find a sunny spot for your cactus. 

However, do not keep them in bright sunlight for long periods of time. This can lead to burnt leaves and can be fatal in severe cases. Change the position of your cactus on extremely sunny days. 

Keep your cactus indoors on extremely sunny days and place them in shaded areas of your house. The best place for a cactus is by the windowsill. 

2. Water

An image of a cactus with long spines in a steel container

A cactus needs to be watered once a week during the summer. Overwatering can lead to excess moisture in the roots and can cause root rot if left untreated. 

You’ll have to wait until the soil is dry before watering your cactus again. Be mindful of the fact that potted plants usually require more water than those outside in the ground. It depends on the weather conditions as well. Plants don’t require to be watered frequently during the winter. 

You need to check your cactus for the signs it displays. A dying cactus will look pale and feel soft to touch. 


Water your cactus sparingly during the winter, spring and fall Months

3. Soil 

An image of a cactus in a white planter

The right kind of soil can boost the growth of your cactus. A soil mix that contains perlite, pumice and peat moss is the best kind of soil mix. Most cacti require nutrient-rich soil. It needs to be well-draining as well. 


Make sure not to add wood chips to your soil mix

The best kind of soil will not hold water in the soil for long periods of time. Peat moss is known to hold moisture. You will need to do some background research on the type of cactus you own and its native environment. 

A cactus that usually grows in deserts requires sand to be the primary component of the soil. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a cactus native to tropical climates, you will need to look for a soil with peat.


Choose pots or planters that aren't glazed

4. Fertilizer

An image of the Prickly pear cactus

Fertilizers are popular in the world of plants for their effect on the healthy growth of plants. These chemicals help provide essential nutrients to plants. Adding fertilizer to the soil of a cactus can help it adapt better to its environment.

The best type of fertilizer for a cactus has a greater amount of phosphorus. You might be interested to know that most cacti need small amounts of fertilizer for active healthy growth. 

Feed your cactus 2 to 3 times a year to produce beneficial results. However, be careful with overfeeding your cactus since it can be fatal in extreme cases. Too much chemical will cause your cactus more harm than not feeding it at all. 

Miracle-Gro 1001233 Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food, 5 lb, blue

This fertilizer can be used to grow all types of plants and trees!

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We have discussed an easy fix for your shriveling cactus. Letting your cactus sit in a sink for a few minutes usually rehydrates it. We’ve also looked at how to take care of a cactus if you’re a beginner. 

If you enjoyed reading about cacti growth and care, you might be interested to check out our post about whether or not cactus spines are poisonous.

Are Cactus Spines Poisonous? Are your Kids & Pets Safe?

A cactus is popular for its long sharp spines. Have you been wondering about whether or not they're poisonous? We've got just the answer!

Kelly Adams Picture

By Kelly Adams

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Kelly and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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Kelly Adams Picture

Kelly Adams

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Kelly and I'm the the founder of Easy Succulents! I'm fascinated by this wonderful plants and I want to share with the world everything I know about them!



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