Why Is My Cactus Drooping | Causes

Why Is My Cactus Drooping | Causes
11 Jul 2019

When it comes to caring for cacti, there are four factors that impact their survival: water, light, pests, and temperature. Too much or too little of water, too dim or too much bright light, pests (mealybugs) or fluctuating temperatures (and usually a combination of all four) will make your cactus strained and begins to behave oddly.

Cacti are hardy succulent plants that need very little water or maintenance to thrive, but they do still require some type of care. Sagging or Drooping branches suggests that your cactus plant is stressed in sort of way. Inadequate sunlight or water, mealybugs or types of freeze damage can put a strain on your cactus and can lead to a sagging or drooping appearance.

Watering Improperly

Understanding how much water to give a cactus plant can be complicated. A dehydrated cactus will usually turn a shade of purple and can become soft. Later it can show a wrinkled appearance and the branches can droop. Over-watered cacti can also become soft and droop and they typically can develop root rot. Planting cactus in potting soil guarantees your cactus has the right type of drainage and watering more often can help to solve the dehydration issues. Repotting root-bound plants into a larger pot will also help. If your cactus has been over-watered, let the soil dry out. Cactus plants only need water when the top two inches of soil have dried out and requires only enough water to allow some drainage through holes the base of the pot. When the water begins to drain from the holes, the cactus has adequate moisture.

Inadequate Light

Cactus plants like a lot of heat and bright light. If your cactus is starting to droop but has the proper amount of water and there are no pests visible, it may not be getting enough sunlight. If the drooping occurs during winter months, and when days are not as long, your cactus plant might need an artificial addition to the natural light it gets. During the spring, summer and fall months, when cacti require much more warmth and sunlight, cacti in pots will do well outdoors.

MealyBugs/ WoodLice

Mealybugs or woodlice are white with a cotton-like appearance. These pests draw the juice from your cactus plant, leaving tiny blemishes and start to spread disease. Substantial feeding by mealybugs usually causes a loss of liveliness leading to drooping branches. There is good news, mealybugs on singular plantings can be easily killed by hand. Another alternative is rinsing the cactus with a mixture of liquid dish soap and water or an insecticidal soap and then allowing the cactus to stabilize for a day before rinsing off the soap from the cactus with water. Direct sunlight should be avoided during this time to prevent from sun burning the plant. This may take a couple of attempts since repeated applications are required to remove any hatched mealy bugs. The removal of flourishing growth, that mealy bugs love, may also help decrease their numbers.

Freeze Damage

A lot of cactus plants are indigenous to most frost-free environments, if the temperature drops below freezing for even a couple hours, freeze damage may happen. Typically, this will show as blackening of the parts of the cactus that were exposed. In a couple of weeks, the black areas dry out and the cactus branches may start to droop. If the cold temperatures only happened for a short period, then the damage is likely superficial and your cactus will likely grow out of it, but this could take a couple of years. Water, adequate sunlight and warmth will help. Cacti also are required to avoid colder drafts. If they are grown outdoors, they will thrive in a location that gets radiant heat during nighttime, like from a wall or patio. When temperatures drop, cactus grown in a garden are covered with a sheet for added warmth and cactus in pots should be relocated indoors.

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