Why is My Cactus Leaning?

Sometimes you can see that your cactus is leaning despite taking all the care. If your cactus is no longer growing erect and is suddenly leaning, it’s because it’s distressed in some way. The most common reasons for a leaning cactus are insufficient sun, overwatering, pests, rot, excessive weight and dehydration. This is something that can happen to both indoor and outdoor cactus.Cacti are adorable as they are easy to care for, provided they are given adequate water from time to time.

Although a cactus can withstand tough environments, it is not immune to stress. Something is amiss with your succulent if it is drooping and falling over. You can discover the problem early and rescue your cactus if you thoroughly check your plant to discover what is causing tilting.

Photo: Imgur

Some Reasons Why is My Cactus Leaning?


Plants start growing towards the sunlight, so your cactus might lean even if it’s in full sun. This is not a sign of a problem if your plant is otherwise healthy. 

However, if your cactus was planted in partial shade and is now leaning, it may require additional sunlight. Other symptoms include weak, frail, yellowing stems that appear diseased. If this is the situation with your cactus, gradually increase its exposure to brighter sunshine to avoid sunburns.

If you look at a cactus plant’s natural habitat, you’ll discover that it thrives in strong light and heat. They’ve evolved to withstand extreme heat and light. A cactus species maintained as a houseplant, on the other hand, may not be able to endure extended periods of heat.


Insects chewing the stem of the cactus could also make it lean. Mealybugs, for example, could stop the growth of the cactus and it could become misshapen. Mealybugs can be removed with tweezers and an alcohol-soaked cotton swab.

Infection with ants that nest at the foundation of the cactus and nibble away at the stem can also cause the cactus to bend and eventually topple over. You can get rid of the ants by using a forceful stream of water. Insect-infested cactus can develop fungus and rot, and if not handled, it will perish.


Fungi and bacteria that grow on the plant might rot it. Overwatering the cactus is the most prevalent cause of rotting. The diseased area will appear slimy, wet, and dark. 

Rot starts at the bottom of the cactus and makes its way up to the top. The rotting cactus eventually begins to tilt, collapse, and die. 

If you notice rot earlier, simply repot the cactus in new, dry soil. Remove your cactus from soil and cut away the necessary part if the rot has taken over a large portion of the plant. Allow the healthy section to dry for a day before applying fungicide to the cut surface before planting it in sandy soil.


You may have planted your cactus too loosely in the soil if it is drooping from the ground. It could also be an indication of overwatering. The soil in which the cactus is placed must be totally dry before the next watering. Otherwise, the earth around the foundation of the cactus hardens, and the soil loosens. Planting a cactus in dry soil or putting extra soil all around the base of the cactus might be used to solve this problem. 

You can also assist your cactus grow upright by covering the soil with a layer of small stones or gravel.

The pot is far too large.

A cactus demands a container that is neither too big, causing its roots to fight for nutrition and water, nor too small, preventing its roots from growing. A large container inhibits it from absorbing sufficient water, resulting in droopiness. The pot’s regular size should allow for 1-2 inches of clearance at the bottom. Make sure you repot the plant every 1-2 years as it grows.

Is it Possible to Straighten a Bent Cactus?

You can’t modify how the plant has developed in the past since you can’t go back in time. If the cactus’ leaning has progressed to the point where it can no longer stand upright or develop in a healthy manner, re-starting with a cutting may be the only option left to regrow it again. 

If you decide to start over, make sure to give your young cactus enough of bright light to keep it from bending. 

If the weather permits, keep your cactus outside to provide the maximum light exposure. If you’re going to put your cactus on a windowsill, a south or east-facing window will provide plenty of direct sunshine.

How to Fix Leaning Cactus?

Whenever the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry, water the cactus.

Perform a soil dryness test by inserting your finger in the dirt for 1-2 inches before watering it. It’s fine to water it if it’s completely dry. 

If the plant is still damp after watering it more than three weeks ago, the soil and container may be retaining the water and leading the plant to lean over. 

To solve this, plant it in a clay pot that drains water quickly. Take cactus soil having sand-like characteristics if your soil is slow-draining.

Remove pests from the foliage and roots.

You can kill a mealybug or an ant by hand if you see one near the container or perched on your plant. 

To destroy a mature bug and its newly produced eggs, however, it is best to purchase insecticidal soap. You can clean the plant by rinsing it with water and a highly concentrated dishwashing solution. 

If the worm or insect hasn’t caused too much harm beyond the drooping cactus leaves, this method will work.

Replant the cactus in a suitable container.

Repot your plant every two years in a pot that allows for a modest bit of room on both sides. The sides and bottom of a cactus plant’s container should be 1-2 inches apart. This provides ample room for the plant to grow and benefit from the water and nutrients in the soil.

Enough light should be available for 6-12 hours.

One of the most important techniques to prevent droopiness is to mimic the native habitat of the cactus plant. If you first put it in a dim environment, move it to a room that gets enough light.

During the winter, keep the cactus warm.

Because cactus hibernate over the winter, it’s critical to keep them warm if you notice them drooping due to the cold. You can either place it in an area with radiant heat at night or cover this with a cotton sheet to keep it warm.


Cacti are resilient plants that are rather simple to grow because they do not need a lot of your time. Your cactus, however, requires some specialised care in addition to very little water and maintenance.


Nikita is a Succulent lover. She really enjoys planting and nourishing them. She loves to share information about various Succulents on this blog to aware people more about these awesome plants.

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