If you’ve arrived to this website, you’re probably sitting at home, wondering why your cactus is shrinking. I’ll walk you through the top five most common reasons your cactus is shrinking in this post.
Because of their cheap maintenance and long life, cacti are a favorite houseplant all around the world. They belong to the succulent family and are native to hot, dry climates. As a result, cactus can retain water in their stems and live without water for lengthy periods of time.
So, why is my cactus becoming smaller? There are five basic reasons for a shrinking cactus: too much light, not enough light, overwatering, underwatering, and rotting. After you’ve worked out what’s causing your cactus to shrink, you may start working on a solution!
Looking for more information about cactus care? One of the following articles might be of interest to you: What is causing my cactus to turn black? What is causing my cactus to become white? What’s the deal with my floppy cactus? What’s up with my squishy cactus?
It’s not necessary to be concerned over a diminishing cactus. Once you’ve identified the source of the problem, you can work on resolving it, and your houseplant will be back to being healthy and happy in no time.
Let’s start with the first reason you might be wondering why your cactus is shrinking.
Too much light causes the cactus to shrink
Too much light may be the cause of a shrinking cactus. There is such a thing as too much light for cactus, even though they prefer a bright, sunny position.
A cactus is exposed to a lot of natural sunlight in its native habitat. These popular houseplants, on the other hand, can withstand a wide range of weather conditions. If you live in an area where the winters are cold and the days are only a few hours long, your plant will adapt.
Going from a chilly winter with limited light to a hot summer with plenty of sunshine might cause your cactus to shrink. Sunburn on your cactus plant can also be caused by an abrupt temperature shift.
You should gradually reintroduce your cactus to the brighter weather once winter is done. Place it in a south-facing window in a highly lighted area for the first several weeks, but cover it with a semi-transparent cloth.
Alternatively, you may put the cactus in the sun for a few hours in the morning when the air is cooler, then relocate it to the shade in the afternoon.
Due to a lack of light, the cactus is shrinking.
In the other case, you could be wondering why your cactus is shrinking due to a lack of light. Shrinking, thinning, discoloration, and elongation are all symptoms that your cactus has been deprived of sunlight for an extended length of time.
Etiolation is a process that occurs in a variety of succulent and cactus plants.
Your cactus must have access to light in order to photosynthesize. Your cactus’ development will be hampered if you don’t do this, and you may even notice it decreasing. This is due to your plant not receiving the nutrients and energy it requires to function properly.
Due to a lack of Chlorophyll, the chemical that gives plants their brilliant green color, a lack of light will cause your cactus to turn pale or discolored.
Your cactus should always be placed in a south-facing window to obtain as much natural light as possible. If you’re unable to do so, I recommend investing in a grow light with a daylight-emulating fluorescent LED bulb.
I have an Amazon grow light that I use on my cactus, and it works great. It features a timer function and many settings. It gives just the right amount of light for a cactus plant to grow. If you simply have a few plants or micro cactus in your house, this is the best option. If you need illumination for a huge number of people, I’d recommend getting something a little bigger!
The cactus is shrinking
Overwatering has caused the cactus to shrivel
Overwatering is one of the most common difficulties that plant lovers face, and it might leave you wondering why your cactus is shrinking.
Extremely moist and soggy soil, soft and mushy stems, and discoloration, such as turning black, are all indicators of an overwatered cactus.
Cactus plants are prone to overwatering due to their natural environment. As a general rule, only water your cactus after the soil is completely dry. After that, soak it well until water drips out of the drainage holes. Any surplus water should be discarded, and your cactus should not be left lying in a saucer of water since this can lead to root rot.
To prevent a shrinking cactus and overwatering, make sure you’re utilizing the right soil. Cacti and succulents thrive on soil that is a mix of organic and inorganic materials and drains well.
Perlite or peat moss is the essential element to keep an eye out for. My favorite cactus soil is Organic Succulent & Cactus Soil Mix from The Next Gardener. It’s made up of a 75 percent substrate, 25 percent perlite, and low fertilizer mix that results in light, well-draining soil.
If you prefer to avoid making an internet purchase, you may go to your local garden shop and get a ready-made cactus and succulent potting mix.
If you choose too dense and heavy soil, it will hold too much water, resulting in overwatering.
Underwatering causes cactus to shrink
Underwatering, on the other hand, might leave you wondering why your cactus is shrinking.
Cactus, as previously stated, store water in their stems and leaves, giving them their plump, thick appearance. There will be no water to store if you haven’t watered in a long time. Naturally, this will result in the cactus shrinking and appearing much smaller than before.
Push your fingers a few inches into the dirt to check it. It’s definitely time to water your thirsty plant if it feels bone dry throughout, and you know it’s been a long time since you last watered it!
After soaking your cactus thoroughly, it should absorb some of the water and return to its normal size.
Even when the cactus is dormant in the winter, it will require watering on occasion, but not as frequently.
Sticking to a strict watering schedule can result in issues such as underwatering and overwatering. The environment and seasons have a big impact on how often a cactus needs to be watered. As a result, you should only water after the soil is completely dry.
My cactus is becoming smaller
Due to decaying, the cactus is shrinking. Root rot is the final reason you could be yelling, “My cactus is shrinking!”
Root rot is a terrible illness from which it is difficult to recover. A decaying cactus can be caused by a variety of factors, the most common of which is overwatering. If the soil is wet and soggy, you should look into it further to see if root rot is present.
Check the roots of the cactus after removing it from its container. Infected roots will be dark and slimy, but healthy roots will be white and solid.
If you’ve got a rotting cactus on your hands, you have a few options for saving it. The first step is to take off the contaminated roots and repot the plant in new soil. If you don’t cut all the way down to the healthy roots, the infection will spread once you repotted.
It’s possible that you’ll need to prune your cactus and remove some stems. Because your plant will have fewer roots, it will be unable to sustain as much plant matter as it previously could. You should prune at the same rate as you cut the roots.
If your plant has succumbed to root rot and there are no healthy roots left, the only option is to propagate.
Fortunately, propagating a cactus is simple and may be accomplished by cuttings.
Simply take a large cutting, dry it for a few weeks or until a callus emerges, and then repot into a container with new, well-draining soil.