Is your Cactus Wilting or Falling Over?
Tips to Save it!

Are you worried about your cactus wilting? We've got just the answer you're looking for?

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Kelly Adams

October 03, 2021

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A cactus is best known for its remarkably straight and upright appearance. However, a cactus can fall over or begin drooping for a number of reasons. Keep reading to find out more!

A cactus can droop or fall over due to weakened roots and underwatering. Watering once a week and moving your cactus into a bigger pot can help your cactus go back to normal.

An image of a cactus in an orange pot

The Reasons Behind a Drooping Cactus

An image of a cactus with a laptop


An image of cacti in steel containers

Although a cactus does not require much water, it does need to be watered once a week during the hottest days of the summer. Dehydration can cause a cactus to become soft and mushy. 

You will need to check the top layer of your soil before rushing to water your cactus. If the soil has completely dried out, only then water your cactus. 


An image of a cactus in a white pot

Another much less known reason behind a drooping or falling over cactus is a pest infestation. Pests such as mealybugs can suck out all the juice out of the stems of a healthy cactus and cause it to droop. 

Mealybugs are scale insects that are attracted to moisture. They are attracted to the thick stem of a cactus and can cause irreversible damage to your plant. 


If you want to find Mealybugs, look for small cotton pieces on your cactus

Mealybugs can even attract ants by leaving honeydew over your cactus. This is a sugary substance that attracts other insects. If honeydew is left on the surface of the cactus, it can produce sooty mold which is even more harmful.


An image of frost

Cacti cannot tolerate frost for even a few hours if the temperatures drop too low. Frost can cause irreversible damage to a cactus. It can cause a cactus to fall over within a few hours. 

Freezing temperatures can slow down or stop the processes that take place inside a plant. These chemical processes often require an optimal temperature at which to work. Cacti enter their dormant phase during the winter.

During this phase, most plant activity slows down or stops entirely. Freezing temperatures pose another risk to plants. Ice often expands. If this occurs inside plant tissues, they can burst open. 

Insufficient Light

An image of cacti in sunlight

A cactus cannot function properly without getting enough sunlight. These plants thrive under indirect bright sunlight. Your cactus can start drooping or falling over if its light requirements are not being met. 

A cactus needs between 10 to 14 hours of sunlight a day. Cacti need more hours of sunlight during the summer. However, don’t overdo it! Cacti can get sunburnt too just like humans if they are exposed to bright sunlight for prolonged hours. 

Tips to Save your Cactus

Now that we’ve discussed the reasons why a cactus can droop or fall over, let us look at a number of solutions to those problems!

1. Repotting 

An image of a cactus with books

If your cactus has been affected by dehydration or underwatering, it might help to move it into a bigger pot. Doing so will make sure there’s enough room for the roots of your plant. 

You should repot your cactus especially when the roots have outgrown the drainage hole. Fast-growing cacti need to be repotted once every 2 to 3 years. 

2. Rehydration

An image of a cactus against a pink wall

If your cactus showed signs of dehydration, don’t waste any more time and water it immediately. Wait for the soil to be completely dry before you water it again.


water your cactus once a week during the summer

3. Use Insecticidal Soap

An image of cacti in low lighting

If your cactus has fallen victim to a pest infestation such as mealybugs, get an insecticidal soap from a local store. Washing your cactus before applying the insecticide is advised. 


Wait for a day and wash the soap off with water

When using an insecticide on your plant, do not expose your cactus to direct sunlight. Exposure to direct sunlight can cause severe damage to your cactus. 

4. Protect from Frost by Watering Less

An image of a cactus in a brown container

If the temperatures have started to drop, the first thing you should do is water your plant less frequently. Doing so will protect your cactus from developing ice inside the plant cells. 

You can use a cloth to cover larger cacti during the winter. This will provide enough protection from the freezing temperatures of winter. 

5. Provide Enough Sunlight

An image of Prickly pear cactus

A cactus requires plenty of sunlight daily to thrive. You should find a warm sunny spot inside your house for your cactus during the winter. You might even need to get artificial lighting.

Light is an important factor that can affect the health of your cactus. 


Never expose your plant to direct sunlight for prolonged hours. This can cause sunburn!


We’ve looked at the reasons why your cactus is drooping or falling over and some tips to save it. Dehydration, insufficient light and bugs can cause a cactus to droop. Repotting and using insecticidal soap can help save your plant. 

If you liked reading about cactus health, you might be interested to look into how to save a cactus that is turning black. 

Is your Cactus Turning Black? Do this QUICKLY to save it!

You've noticed strange black spots on your perfectly healthy cactus. Time is of the essence if you're to save it.

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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