Why Is My Cactus Falling Over?

Cactus is a hardy ornamental houseplant known for its ability to adapt to circumstances. However, the cactus may sometimes start to lean or fall over. It happens due to the weakening of the roots of the stem of the cactus . Since it takes serious efforts to straighten a cactus that has fallen over, you should take immediate steps to ensure effective straightening of the cactus.

Why Is My Cactus Falling Over?

Some of the reasons that can cause your cactus to fall over are –

  • Oversized Planting Pot
  • Inappropriate Watering
  • Lack of light

1. Oversized Planting Pot

If the cactus is planted in a pot that is too big for its size, it will most likely start to fall over. Even if it has overgrown its current pot, the next container should not be too big. It would prevent the roots from absorbing the nutrients from the soil and damage the health of the cactus in the long run.


The cactus only needs a container with 2 inches of space in the bottom and a bit on the sides to grow. It needs re-potting every 1-2 years when it has over-grown the current container. However, select the replacement container wisely.

However, if the plant has already fallen over, re-pot it in a right-sized container and pack the base with gravel to help straighten the cactus.

2. Inappropriate Watering

An over-watered cactus is likely to turn soft, mushy and start falling over. It can also give rise to rotting, which tends to weaken the roots and cause the cactus to fall. It especially happens in winters.

Similarly, an under-watered cactus is likely to dry up and start wilting. It makes the roots and stems weak, which causes the cactus to fall over. It especially happens in summers.


The cactus does not need much water in the winters. So, the watering cycle should be regulated. However, if the cactus is already over-watered, allow the soil to dry before watering again. You should also check the roots for any infection or rotting. If infected, severe the affected root before spraying it with an effective fungicide followed by re-potting the cactus with fresh, fertile soil.

3. Lack of Light

Plants tend to grow towards the light. So, if your cactus starts to fall and thins at the base, it is most likely due to insufficient light. It can happen if the cactus is left in shade for an extended duration or with plants that compete with it for light.


Shift the cactus immediately to a more suitable location where it has access to bright, indirect light for at least six hours a day. Don’t place the cactus close to any plant that would compete with it for light. Rotating the plant can also help change the direction of growth.

A fallen cactus is very hard to revive back to its old shape and form. Hence, it is better to treat the problem at the earliest to reduce the permanent implications. Recovery of such a cactus is a slow process that can only be aided by support structures and not forced.

However, if the damage is permanent, the only solution is to cut the fallen cactus and start from scratch by carefully replanting it.

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