Why Is My Cactus Leaning? Detailed Helpful Tips to Set it Straight

A leaning cactus is a sign that your cactus wants to convey something to you. It's where it's desperately calling for your help. So how do we fix it?

Jimena Bolívar Profile Picture

Jimena Bolívar

April 18, 2021


Why Is My Cactus Leaning? Detailed Helpful Tips to Set it Straight. Thumbnail

Introduction

Cacti are the toughest plants out there and, they are not bothered by almost anything. They are pretty easy to grow and don’t require much care. But, they still need to check if you are there for them or not. If you are not, they can start leaning, telling you that there is something wrong that needs to be fixed.

So let’s remain calm and figure out all the possible ways why your cactus is leaning? We will go through various problems and, I will guide you one by one on how you can identify these and fix these on time to save your cactus from any major damage.

Why is my cactus leaning: Some of the leading factors that cause leaning in cacti are overwatering, underwatering, cactus is potted in a large container, week roots, rotting roots, insufficient sunlight, or pest attack.

Why Is My Cactus Leaning

Some leading factors that cause leaning in cacti are overwatering, underwatering, cactus is potted in a large container, week roots, rotting roots, insufficient sunlight, or pest attack.

1.Light

Cacti in Sun image

Cacti love sunlight and, most of their species enjoy direct sunlight or loads of bright light. They like to face the sun and most of them naturally grow towards the sunlight. But if the cactus is placed in a shade or somewhere it can’t get enough sunlight, then it’s leaning due to the lack of sunlight.

Pro Tip

Each cactus has it's own light sunlight requirement. To avoid sunburn make sure to provide necessary light based on the cactus type

Cacti also tend to stretch out to get that sunlight for their proper growth. If a cactus can’t get enough sunlight the result will be a weak sick leaning cactus.

2.Underwatering

Cacti in Sun image

One of the most obvious reasons for leaning cactus is under watering the cactus. If you don’t provide your cactus with sufficient water, it might go dormant or get purplish. An underwatered cactus doesn’t have sufficient water in its cells and, the stem becomes weak and they start leaning.

Similarly, in the winter season, you might think that cacti don’t need water but that’s not the case. You should lessen the amount of water you usually give like if it was once every 2 weeks, you can now change this to once every 3-4 weeks.

Note

Underwatering a cacti in winter can lead to loss of roots. The more roots your cactus loses, the more fragile and weak it will get.

3.Overwatering

Overwatering a cactus can lead to bigger and irreversible issues as compared to underwatering. Cacti prefer a well-drained soil condition where the water won’t stand. So, you need to plant your cactus in a well-drained pot system like this Amazon product. This ensures that the water doesn’t stand in the pot and is dry for the next time you want to water your cactus.

Caution

Overwatering the cactus causes root rot which in turn causes leaning. Overwatered cactus would become soft and mushy with a brighter hue

In winters, the chances of severe damage get even higher. So, make sure you water the cactus lightly and, it doesn’t stand in the pot. The best approach would be to water the cactus once every 5-6 weeks.

4.Extra large container

Cacti in Sun image

The current container you are using can also be a cause of cactus leaning. Succulents don’t like large pots with overgrown spaces. So, you need to pick an ideal pot for your cactus that can give it some inches of space sideways and 1-2 inches space on the bottom side for the roots to spread efficiently.

Choosing the right pot and repotting on the right can ensure surplus growth of your cactus. You should repot your cactus once every 2-3 years.

Pro Tip

When roots start spreading out of the pot's drainage hole, then that's the ideal time for repotting

5.Frost Damage

Cacti are sun-loving plants and are not used to extremely low winter temperatures. Hence, whenever the temperature shifts to below freezing point, it can give serious frost damage to the cactus. Many exposed stems will start developing black spots and, these will soon dry out and lean.

Good News

If the freezing period was minute, then the damage will easily be recovered and new offsets will replace the damaged areas

The easy solution to frost problems is exposing the cactus to the warmth of sunlight. But if the frost period continues, then you should move your outdoor cactus to the indoor and use a cotton sheet to cover the cactus for extra warmth.

6.Pest Damage

Another reason for the leaning of your cactus might be a pest attack. If you recently noticed any damaged areas, visible spots, or weakened signs on your cactus, then it has been attacked by a pest. Pests can be troublesome to deal with and can cause a lot of damage to your cactus’s stem, soil, roots, and even suck out the juice from the cactus. After going through all this, a cactus starts drying out and leaning.

Cactus is attacked by two common known pests: Mealybugs and spider mites. The best solution to deal with both is rinsing the plant with insecticidal soap such as Safer Brand Insecticidal. After rinsing it with soap and let it dry for about a day. During this period, you need to protect the cactus from direct sunlight to avoid sunburn.

Note

It may take several attempts to completely git rid of these pests

Useful Products

Cactus Plant Pot (Pink)

For all the cactus loving people, check out this amazing cactus plant

Amazon Prime Logo

45 w LED grow light

Proper light is necessary for the ideal growth of a cactus. So, If you plan to grow your cactus indoor, I recommend this great product to help you in this regard

Amazon Prime Logo

Safer Brand Insecticidal

Perfect insecticidal to keep Mealybugs and Spider mites away from your cactus

Amazon Prime Logo

Water Drainage pot

Well-drained soil is really important in growing cactus. So, I recommend this product to help you get the best results

Amazon Prime Logo

Ending thoughts

In this blog, we covered a lot about why is your cactus leaning? I started by listing all the possible major causes for cactus leaning. We discussed them one by one, like overwatering, underwatering, pests, and deficient light conditions. I summarized all the major concerns that your cactus is trying to convey to you through leaning. I also mentioned the perfect remedies for each symptom. That’s all from my side for today. Make sure to follow all the advised dos and don’ts.

If you loved my work in today’s blog, then don’t forget to check out some of my other works on succulents. I post weekly updates on many succulents here, so stay with me as I cover all the best succulents out there.

Jimena Bolívar Picture

By Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena 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!

Posted in:

Jimena Bolívar Picture

Jimena Bolívar

Easy Succulents Founder

My name is Jimena 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!

Newsletter:

Recommended:

You may also like:

Keep Learning!

Our Best Tutorials (for beginners), the Best Inspiration and Our Latest Projects Straight to Your Inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time, but almost everybody stays. We must be doing something right!