If you’re like me, you probably have a cactus or two around your house. They’re easy to take care of and pretty low maintenance.
However, even cacti can die if not cared for properly.
So, how to save a dying cactus plant?
By providing the cactus with the right conditions, you can revive it and look healthy again in no time.
Here are seven common problems that can cause a cactus to die, along with tips on how to fix them.
How To Revive a Dying Cactus
If you think your cactus is dying, the first thing to do is take a close look at it.
Check for any signs of physical damage, such as broken stems or dead leaves.
These can be caused by things like too much sunlight, too little water, or pests.
Once you’ve identified the problem, you can take steps to fix it.
Here are seven common problems that can cause a cactus to die, along with tips on how to fix them.
How To Save an Overwatered Cactus
One of the most common problems with cactus plants is overwatering.
Cacti are desert plants, so they don’t need a lot of water. Too much water can kill them.
Succulent plants need to be watered every one to two weeks, depending on the climate and soil.
If the soil is wet, then don’t water it. And if the top of the soil feels dry, then it’s time to water it.
Some signs that a cactus has been overwatered are:
- The leaves or stems turn brown or black
- The cactus starts to rot from the inside
- The cactus becomes soft and squishy
- The cactus grows mold
- The cactus has soft brown spots
To save an overwatered cactus, you need to stop watering it and let the soil dry out.
It may take a few weeks for the cactus to recover, but you can start watering it again once it has dried out.
Be sure to water it sparingly, just enough to keep the soil moist.
Repotting the cactus may also help it recover. You can repot it in a new pot with fresh soil or transplant it to the garden.
Ensure your cactus has proper drainage. If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, then add some before you water it.
This will help keep the soil from becoming too wet and causing root rot.
Use a potting soil mix specifically for cactus plants, and avoid using fertilizers.
To prevent overwatering, water your cactus plant based on the environment it is in.
If you live in a hot climate, water it more often than if you live in a cooler weather. And always wait until the top of the soil feels dry before watering it.
How To Revive an Underwatered Cactus
Another common problem with cactus plants is underwatering.
Cacti need very little water, so they will start to die if you don’t water them often enough.
Some signs that a cactus has been underwatered are:
- The cactus is wilting
- The spines are becoming brown and brittle
- The cactus is losing its color
- The cactus starts to fall over
If your cactus is exhibiting any of these signs, you need to water it right away.
Cactus plants need to be watered every one to two weeks, depending on the climate and soil.
If the soil is dry, then water it. And if the top of the soil feels wet, don’t water it.
Water the cactus until water starts to seep out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Then, stop watering and let the soil dry out before watering again.
If you live in a dry climate, you may need to water the cactus more often. If you live in a humid environment, you may need to water it less often.
Be careful not to overwater the cactus, as this can also kill it.
Repotting a cactus is another way to revive it. If the cactus plant is growing slowly or not at all, it may be time to repot it into a larger pot.
When you repot a cactus, use a pot that is twice the size of the original pot and make sure the pot has drainage holes.
Use a cactus soil mix, which is a light, sandy soil that drains well. Avoid potting soils that are heavy or have a lot of organic matter, as these will not drain well.
How To Save a Sunburned Cactus
Cacti are desert plants and can live in hot, sunny climates.
But if they are exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods, cactus plants can get sunburned.
Some signs that a cactus has been sunburned are:
- The cactus loses its color, turning a pale green or yellow
- The cactus becomes very dry and brittle
- The tips of the cactus die and become brown
- Brown spots start to form on the cactus
If your cactus is sunburned, there are a few things you can do to save it:
- Move the cactus to a shady spot.
- Water the cactus sparingly, and make sure the soil is dry before watering it again.
- Pour some water on the brown spots to help them heal.
- Apply a coat of sunscreen to the cactus (make sure it is an SPF 30 or higher).
Cactus need at least four hours of direct sunlight a day to stay healthy.
If they don’t get enough sun, they will start to grow leggy and lose their color.
So if your cactus is in a shady spot, move it to a sunny spot so it can recover.
However, too much direct sunlight, especially during the summer months, can be harmful to cactus plants.
So make sure you keep an eye on your cactus and move it to a shady spot if it starts to get too much sun.
How To Revive a Frozen Cactus
Cactus plants thrive in hot, dry climates.
However, cacti can survive in cold weather, but they can freeze and die if they are exposed to freezing temperatures for too long.
They are susceptible to frost damage.
Some signs of cactus freeze damage are:
- The plant has black, dry patches on the skin
- The leaves are brown and wilted
- The stem is wrinkled or cracked
- The plant is soft and mushy
If you see any of these signs, the cactus has been damaged by the cold, and it needs to be revived.
There are several ways to revive a frozen cactus:
- If the plant is still alive but has been damaged by the cold, you can try to warm it up. Gently remove any frost or ice from the plant and place it in a sunny spot.
- Don’t water the plant for a few weeks. Cacti need very little water and if you give it too much, they will not be able to absorb the water properly.
- If the plant is frozen solid, you can try to revive it by thawing it out. Place the cactus in a warm place and let it slowly thaw. Be careful not to overheat the plant or you will damage it.
- Trim off any damaged or dead parts of the cactus. This will help the plant to heal and grow new plant tissue.
- Put the cactus in a pot with fresh soil. Cacti thrive in well-drained soil, so make sure that the pot has a hole in the bottom.
If you catch your cactus before it freezes, there are some things you can do to help save it:
- Move the cactus indoors if possible. If you cannot move it indoors, cover it with a blanket or sheet to keep it warm.
- Reduce watering. Cacti need very little water and if you give it too much, it will not be able to absorb the water properly.
- Make sure the cactus is in a sunny spot. A cactus needs at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
- Keep the cactus away from cold drafts. A cold breeze can cause the cactus to freeze.
- Monitor the temperature. If it is going to be below freezing, bring the cactus inside.
Cacti are very resilient plants, and with a bit of care, you can revive a frozen cactus and help it thrive again.
How To Save a Rotting Cactus
Cacti are very resilient plants, and with a little care, you can revive a rotting cactus and help it thrive again.
One of the most common problems that cacti face is rot. Rot is caused by bacteria or fungus, and it will slowly eat away until cactus is dead.
Root rot is the most common type of rot, and it is caused by overwatering.
The most common signs of rot are:
- The cactus has soft, mushy areas
- The cactus will start to droop
- The roots will be black or brown
- The plant will not grow
If you see any of these signs, the cactus has been infected by rot and must be treated immediately.
There are several ways to treat a cactus that has been infected by rot:
- Cut away the soft, mushy areas of the cactus and discard them.
- Remove any dead or dying parts of the cactus.
- Put the cactus in a sunny spot.
- Repot the cactus in fresh soil.
- Trim the roots that have been infected by rot.
- Put the cactus in a quarantine area until it has healed.
- Water the cactus sparingly.
- Apply a fungicide or bactericide to the plant.
Don’t give up on the cactus; it may take time to heal, but it can be saved with proper care.
If you follow these steps, you can revive a rotting cactus and help it thrive again.
How To Save a Broken Cactus
Cacti are very resilient plants, and with a little care, you can revive a broken cactus and help it thrive again.
One of the most common problems that cacti face is breakage.
Breakage can be caused by several things such as:
- A fall
- Being hit by something
- Being stepped on
- Being exposed to the cold
When your cactus breaks, the first thing you need to do is clean the wound. Use a mild soap and water to clean the area and then dry it off with a paper towel.
Then, take a piece of tape or some other type of adhesive and attach it to the cactus at an angle that will hold the pieces together.
Ensure that the adhesive doesn’t come in contact with the open wound.
Finally, place the cactus in a sunny spot and water it regularly. You should see new growth emerging from the break within a few weeks.
If your cactus is not growing or seems to be dying, there are several things that you can do to revive it:
- Make sure that it is getting enough sunlight. Place it in a sunny spot and make sure that the pot has drainage holes so that the soil can dry out between waterings.
- Water it regularly, but make sure to let the soil dry out between waterings. Too much water will kill a cactus.
- Check for pests or diseases and treat them accordingly.
If you follow these tips, your cactus should start thriving again in no time!
A broken cactus can heal by itself, but it takes time.
How To Save a Cactus Without Roots
Cacti can lose their roots for various reasons, such as being transplanted too many times, being exposed to the cold, or being eaten by pests.
If your cactus has lost its roots, you can try to save it by transplanting it into a new pot.
To transplant a cactus without roots, follow these steps:
- Remove the cactus from its pot and gently remove all the old soil.
- Trim any dead or damaged parts with a sharp knife.
- Transplant the cactus into a new pot that is one size bigger and fill in the gaps between the cactus and the pot with soil.
- Water it well and place it in a sunny spot.
It will take a while for the cactus to start growing new roots, but with a little patience, you can revive it.
How To Save a Wilting Cactus
A wilting cactus is usually a sign of overwatering. When a cactus is overwatered, the roots start to rot and the plant can no longer take in water.
If your cactus is wilting, the first thing you need to do is check the roots. If they are black or brown, they have been infected by rot and need to be treated immediately.
If the roots are healthy, the cactus is just overwatered. In this case, stop watering it for a few days and let the soil dry out completely.
Once the soil has dried out, water the cactus sparingly and make sure to let the soil dry out between waterings.
With a little patience, your wilting cactus will recover in no time.
How To Trim a Dying Cactus
If your cactus is dying, one of the first things you can do is trim it.
This will help to remove any dead or dying leaves or stems, and it will also help to encourage new growth.
You should only trim away about a third of the plant, so be careful not to overdo it.
To trim your cactus, you will need a sharp knife or a pair of scissors.
Start by cutting away any dead or dying leaves or stems, and then trim back the remaining leaves so that they are about an inch long.
Once you have trimmed your cactus, you should place it in a sunny location so that it can start to grow new leaves.
How to Repot a Dying Cactus
If you think that your cactus is dying, the first thing that you should do is repot it.
Repotting a cactus is not difficult, but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
To repot a cactus, follow these steps:
- Remove the cactus from its pot and gently remove all the old soil from its roots.
- Trim any dead or dying roots with a sharp knife.
- Place the cactus in a new pot that is only slightly larger than its old one.
- Fill the pot with fresh cactus potting mix.
- Don’t water the cactus for a few days after repotting it. This will give the plant time to adjust to its new pot and soil.
- Place the pot in a bright, sunny spot.
- Give the cactus some time and it should start to recover.
If it doesn’t, then there might be another problem.
How To Know if a Cactus Is Dead
If a cactus is wilting, discolored, or has lost its leaves, it may be dying.
If the stem is soft, mushy, or feels hollow when you touch it, the plant is probably beyond saving.
To confirm whether a cactus is dead or alive, try doing a small scratch test on the stem.
If the cactus is alive, the stem will be green and firm under the surface.
If it’s dead, the stem will be brown and dry all the way through.
You can also try gently tugging on the plant.
If it comes out of the pot easily, with little resistance, it’s probably dead.
Another way to tell if a cactus is dead is by looking at the roots.
If the roots are brown and dry, or if they’re mushy and falling apart, the plant is most likely dead.
Once you’ve determined that your cactus is, in fact, dead, there’s no coming back.
The best thing to do is to dispose of the plant and start fresh with a new one.
Growing cactus plants is a fun and easy way to add some life to your home or garden, but sometimes they can start to look a little sad and droopy.
If you are worried that your cactus is dying, there are several things you can do to try and save it.
Learning how to save a dying cactus can be tricky, but keeping these beautiful plants alive is worth it.
Cacti are resilient plants, and with the proper care, they can thrive for many years.