Why Is My Cactus Growing Sideways

When one thinks of a cactus plant in the U.S., one usually pictures one of those large cacti in the desert or the smaller variety that adorn living room images in magazines.

However, while the cactus is considered to be a strong and resilient plant, whether it is found indoors or outside, there are times when you might spot a cactus growing sideways.

But you might wonder, why is my cactus growing sideways? Your plant might grow sideways due to several reasons, including:

  • Root rot
  • Insufficient light
  • Underwatering
  • Infestation
  • Rot issues
  • Using a bigger pot
  • Freezing temperatures

Root Rot

One of the most common culprits when it comes to a cactus plant slanting to one side is root rot. Cacti’s root rot is primarily brought by overwatering.

Cacti are delicate to damp, moist soil. Overwatering will cause the roots to start to decay, and the fungus will soon follow.

The cactus will become mushy and squishy as the fungus infection spreads up toward the base of the plant. The cactus’s squishy base can no longer hold the plant’s weight. It will subsequently stoop.

You must quickly solve this issue if you want to keep your cactus. If the damage is not too serious, trees with root rot can be rescued. Cut away the injured tissues, easily distinguished by their light hue.

Get rid of the pot containing the decaying cactus, or thoroughly clean it as described in our instructions. To avoid infection, use cinnamon or sulfur powder on the wound from the severed section.

Cinnamon and sulfur are both recognized to be anti-microbial. Plant the cactus on new cactus soil mix after allowing the wound to heal and callus.

Insufficient Light

It is perfectly okay for your cactus plant to grow toward the sun because all plants do that. So, if the cactus is healthy and shows no signs of health problems, there’s nothing to worry about.

You may try rotating your cactus once a month to ensure it gets an even distribution of sunlight and, perhaps, start growing straighter.

But, if your cactus is partially shaded and begins to tilt towards the sun, it can mean it isn’t getting enough light.

In that instance, you could also observe the cactus’s brittle, yellowing leaves and how sickly the plant seems. If this occurs, gradually increase the light so the plant can adjust and prevent sunburn.

Using a Large Pot

Contrary to popular belief, a cactus does not prefer too much space. The container you are using right now can also be to blame for the cacti’ tilt. Large pots with cluttered areas are not ideal for succulents.

So, it would help to choose a container for your cactus that will allow it to have a few inches of room on both sides and one to two inches of space on the bottom side for the roots to spread effectively.

Your cactus will grow excessively if you pick the correct pot and repot it when necessary. Repotting your cactus once every two to three years might be beneficial.

Your cactus should be repotted as soon as the roots begin extending past the pot’s drainage hole.


We just discussed how over-watering your cactus plant could result in root rot; the same goes for under-watering your cactus plant. Underwatering the plant is one of the most evident causes of your cactus growing sideways.

It might go dormant or become purple if you don’t give your cactus enough water. A cactus submerged in water loses water, which causes the stem to weaken and the plant to lean.

Similar to how you would believe that cacti don’t require water in the winter, this is untrue. Reduce the normal quantity of water you administer.

You might water your plants once every three weeks instead of your usual once every two weeks.


An insect invasion might also be the cause of your cactus’ tilting. Your cactus has been attacked by a pest if you’ve lately seen any damaged regions, noticeable patches, or weaker signs on it.

Pests may be difficult to control and do a lot of harm to the stem, soil, and roots of your cactus. They can even suck the juice out of the plant. A cactus begins to dry up and lean after going through all of this.

Check the soil around the plant to determine if there are any pests. Moreover, search for bugs or eggs like cocoons composed of silk webs that insects build in their larval stages on neighboring plants and in the vicinity.

You can also search the area and neighboring plants for indications of insects or eggs, such as cocoons created from the silk webs that larval insects construct.

To prevent them from spreading further, wash any leaves touched by an infestation with soap and water.

Rot Issues

Cactus rot is a potting mix issue that can lead to a cactus bending or toppling over. This issue generally arises when someone makes potting soil for succulent plants and desert cacti from subpar dirt, such as garden loam.

One side of the plant, or occasionally two, may slant toward the ground, which is the most typical sign of a decaying cactus.

Water cannot drain through the roots at the bottom. Therefore it accumulates on top, adding weight to the plant.

If the situation is not addressed promptly throughout its developmental period, a particularly damp environment, in this case, might result in root deterioration and, finally, death.

Shop Succulents | Can't Touch This Collection | Assortment of Hand Selected, Fully Rooted Live Indoor Cacti Plants, 20-Pack,

Freezing Temperature

The blackening of the exposed areas is the first symptom of cactus plant drooping brought on by freezing damage.

In a few weeks, the blackening may deteriorate to wiltedness. These plants frequently experience hardship throughout the cold months.

Your plant could adapt to the issue when the temps rise. If you’re growing your succulents outdoors, you should place the container in radiating heat to prevent freezing damage.

To keep the plant warm, you might also cover it with a cotton sheet.

So, now you know that there are literally several reasons why your cactus plant may be growing to one side. Now that you know the reasons, it’s time to investigate why your plant is slanting sideways and use the tips here to correct that problem.