help!! my cactus is falling over

nancyk4(6 pa)September 5, 2008

I have a 35 year old cactus, approximately 18 inches tall. I put it outside during summer so it blooms. anyway, I have noticed it is leaning pretty drastically, and keep turning it towards the sun to straighten up. but I also noticed that the base of the cactus is narrower than the top and that is where it seems to be bending over. how can I remedy this problem? plant deeper, plant in a larger pot? please help!!

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This is terrible - but it can be fixed most of the time!

It sounds like your cactus is rotting. Cacti rot for various reasons, but the most common is poor drainage and too much water. Is your cactus planted in well draining soil? If not, you'll need to get some.

Once a catus starts rotting, thinhgs will only get worse if you leave it alone. A sure sign of rotting is that the base is mushy. If the base is mushy, you will need to cut your cactus at the point where the mushiness stops. You may need to keep cutting until you don't see any more rot.

Next, take your cutting and put it somewhere dry and out of the sun. Let the cut heal over. It will become dry to the touch after a week.

Then, put the cactus cutting in dry soil. Do not water. THe cactus will eventually send out roots to find water. It is important that you don't water during this time. Once roots are extablished, you have a plant again and you can water it sparingly once in a while.

I hope that this helps! Good luck! It has happened to most of us at one point or another!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 1:10PM
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Before you get busy with a knife, do some basic detective work. To diagnose rot, poke around the base with a soft object, like a pencil eraser or your finger. If it soft and mushy you have rot. If it is firm lets look at some other factors:

You said the plant is leaning towards the sun... in its present location is the sun only on one side, IE is it up against the house or a wall that blocks light from one side? This can contribute to a plant leaning. In this case you would want to place the plant more in the open so it gets sun from all sides. Be careful to introduce it to much more sunlight at one time, its best to move it gradually out to the open.

Is the plant bending at the base or is the top leaning over and pulling the root ball out of the soil? In the latter case, you can plant it up to a larger pot, but only go one size up. You can also top dress the soil with some gravel to give more stablilty.

Things to NOT DO: Plant it deeper. This will be bad.

We never asked what this cactus is and if you can post a picture of it. This information would help further with other suggestions.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 4:00PM
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I'm having the same issue with my cactus. I have been turning it towards the sun but it doesn't seem to help. I also checked to see if the root ball feels soft but to me it feels ok. I attached a pic of what it looks like. it have grown about two inches since I bought it.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 7:05PM
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I put some rocks underneath to help it grow straight up.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 2:44AM
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