Why Is My Cactus Shrinking? (Causes + How To Fix)

Cactus make wonderful houseplants due to their durability and low maintenance. People get cactus for their homes because they don’t have to care much for it. This is where you get wrong.

Cactus though a low rough and tough plant, requires care and maintenance as other plants. The only difference is its distinctive properties as compared to other plants.

Why is My Cactus Shrinking? Your cactus is shrinking because of light factors, watering habits and its roots or plant might be rotting.

Why is my cactus shrinking?

Cactus are different species of plants as compared to terrain plants. That is why you need to take care of your cactus plant in specific ways .

Here are the reasons behind the shrinking of your cactus plant.

  • Lack of sunlight or too much sunlight
  • Underwatered or overwatered cactus plant
  • Plant rotting

1. Light factors

Cactus love bright and sunny days with lots of sunlight. But there is something called too much sunlight. Though they are adapted to the desert climate if you keep your cactus for too long in strong sunlight too much water will be evaporated. Due to the loss of water, your cactus will shrink.

This is completely the opposite in the winter season. There is less sunlight in winters. So your cactus will not grow healthy in scarcity of sunlight. Because of less sunlight, the cactus may start drooping or shrinking.


The only solution is to provide your cactus with an adequate amount of sunlight. In summers do not leave your cactus plant throughout the day outside in the scorching sun.

In the winters make sure you provide artificial supplementary light to your cactus.

2. Watering habits

Cactus being a desert plant tend to store water for survival. That is why you don’t need to frequently water them. Overwatering the cactus plant will lead to the rotting of its roots. Underwatered cactus plant will make its cells dry out and eventually the plant will start to shrink.


Cactus plants need just the right amount of water every day to survive. In summers you can water your cactus every 1-2 weeks. On the other hand in winters you should water your cactus every 5-6 weeks.

Moreover, you must ensure before watering that its soil is not wet and the pot is not water clogged.

3. Cactus plant rotting

Rotting of your cactus plant can add to its shrinking in size. The rotting can be in roots or due to pests and bugs.

Cactus with rotting roots are difficult to save. Infectious roots are brown and slimy to touch.


Lift your cactus and inspect its roots. If it’s brown then it’s definitely root disease.

You can trim the infected roots to save your plant. Moreover, you will also need to trim the leaves as they will have fewer roots to support the entire plant.

Another method is to propagate. Propagating a cactus is quite simple and easy. But you should only try this option if the root has degraded completely.

Take a big sized cutting and to leave it for few weeks for the callus to appear. Then repot it in fresh soil.

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