Why is My Potted Eve’s Needle Cactus Shriveling? [Causes & What to Do]

If you are looking for a way to grow your indoor potted house collection or add variety to your Cactaceae family, there can be no contender as desirable and exotic as Eve’s needle cactus.

Highly desired across the international plant community for its unique spiky appearance and beautiful orange-red flowers, Eve’s needle cactus is an absolute must-have if you wish to impress people and other plant enthusiasts with your rich house plant collection.

Not only is this bright green desert plant wonderful and very rare, but it is also extremely tolerant and super easy to care for.

Once you get your hands on Eve’s needle cactus, you don’t need to worry about accidentally killing your plant.

However, although Eve’s needle cactus is indeed a tough fighter that is naturally adapted to thriving on deprivation, prolonged periods of underwatering will cause its body to shrivel up from dehydration.

Keep reading to learn more about why your indoor potted Eve’s needle cactus is shriveling and what you can do about it.

The Eve’s Needle Cactus Plant

The Eve’s Needle cactus, or the Austrocylindropuntia subulata, is a rare and incredibly beautiful cactus species that can easily be a plant collector’s most prized addition.

Originating from South America’s Peruvian Andes Mountains, Argentina, and Bolivia, this ornamental cactus is an excellent plant species for people living in the warmer regions of the world.

With the ability to grow up to nearly 13 feet high in the wild, the Eve’s Needle cactus has thick fleshy trunks that bear clusters of needle-like spines across its body.

Although the desert plant can be found in various green color variations, the most desired variety is the one with a bright yellow-green body that contracts beautifully with its orange-red flowers.

Moreover, another unique physical characteristic of the Eve’s Needle cactus is its tiny leaves that can last up to a year. Although the leaves eventually shed off as the weather gets colder, they add to the South American cactus’ overall beauty.

Furthermore, once the flowering season ends, Eve’s Needle cactus bears inedible fruits that are vibrantly colored and look stunning against the cactus’ green body.

Hence, if you are looking for an indoor plant that is super easy to care for and is an absolute head-turner, get yourself an Eve’s Needle cactus.

Why is My Potted Eve’s Needle Cactus Shriveling?

As mentioned above in the article, the Eve’s Needle cactus has the same resilience that makes all other cactuses well-adapted to thrive in harsh desert conditions.

However, since Eve’s Needle cactus is a living plant species that need water to photosynthesize its essential plant food, prolonged periods of water deprivation can be quite dangerous for the spiky flowering cactus.

If your potted Eve’s Needle cactus is shriveling, feels wrinkly, and has shrunk in size, it is high time you examine its living conditions and revise its watering schedule.

Some common factors that may cause your Eve’s Needle cactus’ body to shrivel are listed as follows:


A cactus’ natural adaptation to surviving in drought-like conditions makes the thorny specimen the perfect desert species. So if you think your Eve’s needle cactus gets as thirsty as your other indoor potted plants, there’s nothing to worry about.

In general, Eve’s needle cactuses must be watered only once every two to three weeks. The best way to know when your flowering cactus may be dehydrated is by checking the moisture level in its soil. If the soil seems bone dry, it is time to water your cactus.

However, although Eve’s needle cactus does not require excessive hydration, prolonged water deprivation can be dangerous for the desert plant.

Like all other cactuses, Eve’s needle conserves collected water in its thick, fleshy trunk. If you miss watering the cactus on time, the plant will have no choice but to use the stored water reserves.

Usually, Eve’s needle cactuses can live off their stored water for up to a month. However, if you still have not watered your potted desert plant, signs of dehydration may start becoming evident.

The most common sign in this situation is shriveling and wrinkly exterior skin. Since Eve’s needle cactus will be using its stored water, all the water preserved in its fleshy layers will be consumed.

As water leaves the cactus’ skin, it shrinks in size, and the skin becomes leathery and wrinkly.


Apart from underwatering Eve’s needle cactus, overwatering can also cause shriveling.

If you keep adding more water to your potted Eve’s needle cactus, even when the plant is sufficiently hydrated, the excess water will start accumulating inside the flowering cactus’ pot.

This creates a moist organic medium in the soil, which is an attractive living situation for airborne fungi. If any fungal spores are to settle on the drenched cactus soil, they will reproduce and spread until they reach the thorny plant’s roots.

If nothing is done to control the infection, the fungus will cause Eve’s needle cactus’ roots to decay and rot. As a result, the roots will no longer have the functional capacity to absorb and transport water up the desert plant.

Eventually, this water deprivation will dehydrate your potted Eve’s needle cactus and will thus cause its body to shrivel up.

High Atmospheric Humidity

At times, a fungal infection can occur from high atmospheric humidity. If the excess moisture from the air settles on Eve’s needle cactus soil, it can dampen the potting mix more than the advised amount.

This can lead to root rot, resulting in Eve’s needle cactus shriveling.

Prolonged Exposure to Direct Sunlight

Although desert plants like Eve’s needle cactus are well-adapted to surviving under the hot desert sun, they can eventually die if they do not have enough stored water to remain cool.

Moreover, direct sun exposure can evaporate the water out of the potting mix before Eve’s needle cactus roots get the chance to absorb it. This will result in water deprivation, which will cause the dehydrated desert plant to shrivel up.

Broken or Cracked Potting Container

Finally, if the potting container of your indoor Eve’s needle cactus is broken or has multiple cracks, all the water you may add might leak out of the pot before the roots get a chance to absorb it.

This will once again deprive the fruit-bearing desert plant of water, resulting in wrinkly, dry outer skin. 

Eve's Needle Cactus | Succulents Box (2 inch)

Final Thoughts – Get Yourself an Eve’s Needle Cactus Now!

Although members of the Cetacea family thrive on deprivation, underwatering the desert plant will cause its body to shrivel from dehydration. Hence, if your Eve’s Needle cactus seems to dry and wrinkly, examine the condition of its pot, remove it from under the direct sun, or add more moisture to its soil to keep it happy and healthy

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