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How to Revive a Dying Cactus — Tricks You Should Know!

How to Revive a Dying Cactus — Tricks You Should Know!

There are many different types of plants that you can care for, but a cactus is a great choice if you are looking for a hardy plant that will not die easily.

Cacti are native inhabitants of deserts, some of the harshest environments that you can find on the planet.

As a result, cacti are quite hardy and able to withstand a number of harsh conditions that would kill other, less sturdy plants.

However, as with all plants, a cactus can still certainly die for a number of reasons.

Here are some tips & tricks for you on how to revive a dying cactus. 


How to Revive a Dying Cactus

The main reasons why your cactus might be dying are root rot, overwatering or underwatering. Check the roots first to find out if your cactus has rotting roots. Cut away any diseased tissue, wash the roots and replant your cactus into sterile soil. Cacti don’t need a lot of water. Only water when the soil is completely dry. 


Dying Cactus Causes and Their Remedies


Root Rot

When thinking about how to revive a dying cactus, it is also important to figure out why the cactus is dying in the first place.

Various reasons can make your cactus die.

One reason is that the cactus could suffer from what is known as root rot.

Too little oxygen or even a fungus infection can cause root rot in a cactus, but the most common cause of root rot in cactus is overwatering.

You will probably discover some indications of root rot on either the leaves or the stems or the cactus.

However, you also might not and another sign that your cactus is suffering from root rot is that it has a foul smell.

If you find that the roots of your cactus are mushy or soft in some way, this is another sign of root rot.

Also, if the roots fall off of your cactus when you touch them, this is a clear sign of root rot, as well.

Yellow leaves are another symptom of root rot.

If the leaves or stems of your cactus are wilting, this can be another indication of root rot, too.



Another common cause of your cactus dying is overwatering.

As previously stated, it is important to remember that cacti are desert plants, so they do not need as much water as plants that live in wetter climates.

Different factors, such as the size of the cactus and the light conditions, affect how often you should water your cactus.

In general, though, you should let the soil dry out completely before you water your cactus again.

You should water your cactus every 7-10 days during the summer and every 4-6 months in the winter.



Underwatering is yet another reason why your cactus might be struggling. Cacti do need to watered regularly, though they don’t require as much water as many other types of plants.

There’s no clear-cut answer on the exact watering schedule of a cactus.

However, any time the soil becomes completely dry, you should water your cactus once again.

Watering your cactus every 7-10 days in the summer months and every 4-6 weeks in the winter months is a good rule of thumb.



It might seem unusual that a desert plant like a cactus can die because of sunburn, but this is actually the case.

One way that you can cause your cactus to have sunburn is if you put it in an area with full sunlight without letting it acclimate first.

You can avoid your cactus getting sunburnt by planting it in the same direction that it was previously facing.

You can also avoid your cactus getting sunburnt by allowing your cactus to gradually acclimate to the amount of sunlight in its new place of residence.


Damage from Freeze Injuries

Usually, freeze damage only causes surface-level damage to a cactus, but it can kill the cactus if it becomes serious enough.

Cold drafts or placing your cactus near a window during colder weather can lead to freezing damage.

Avoid this by making sure your cactus is away from any cold drafts.

You can also protect your cactus from freezing damage by putting a cotton sheet on it during nights when the temperature gets near-freezing temperatures.


Fungal Rot or Infections

Fungal rot or infections such as Phytophthora, Fusarium, and Armillaria root rot can kill a cactus, too. If your cactus is dying because of a fungal infection, you can replant it to save it.

You can also prevent these fungal infections in the first place by ensuring that your pot provides good drainage for your cactus.

If you’re dealing with fungal wilts, you can eliminate these by putting a thick, clear tarp made of plastic on top of the infected soil for a period of four to six weeks when the weather is at its hottest.


Planting a Cactus Improperly

You can kill a cactus if you plant it too deeply. You should plant your cactus as deep in the soil as it was in its plant nursery or at the same depth as a prior container.

If you find that your cactus is dying because you planted it deeply, you can save it by replanting it and planting it more shallowly this time.

You should make sure that all of the cactus’s green stem tissue remains above the soil that you planted it in so that it is not planted too deeply.


Frequently Asked Questions About How to Revive A Dying Cactus


What’s the most common reason for a dying cactus?

Some of the most common reasons that a cactus is dying include overwatering, underwatering, and root rot.


My cactus is wilting! What should I do?

A wilting cactus means that you are not watering it enough. If you see your cactus wilting, you should water it immediately and make sure to water it more frequently than you were previously.


Do you have to keep your cactus clean to prevent it from dying?

Dust and dirt can prevent a cactus from properly processing sunlight and make it die, hence the need to keep your cactus clean always. You can keep your cactus clean by rinsing off dust and dirt with a soft sponge or rinsing off your cactus gently with a house if it is outside.