Why Has My Cactus Started Going Soft? [Save Dying Cactus]

I have a great deal of sympathy for both the cactus and the public. It is my firm belief that people have a natural affinity towards cacti, but that this is limited to the species that nature intended.

I have heard it said that cacti are not meant to be in people’s homes, and I can see where that statement might make sense.

Most cacti, while they can thrive in the home, are extremely fragile and are prone to die if they are moved, so they are best left in the garden that they developed to be in.

Cactus plants are some of the most common plants you’ll ever come in contact with. Many people are now opting to have cactus plants in their homes as they add aesthetic values to the overall structure of the house.

These plants are generally hardy, which makes them easy to deal with. They can stand the test of time, and people typically have an easier time taking care of them.

There are many ways to ensure that you’re taking care of your cactus plant in the best way possible.

You must look out for sure signs to know that you’re doing the wrong thing, perhaps. Cactus plants are hardy plants.

However, if you don’t take care of them the way you’re supposed to, you may find that they end up dying far more quickly than you thought possible.

You must take more responsibility for cactus plants in times like these and make sure they’re not going soft. Delicate cactus plants are a sure-fire sign that the cactus plant is on its last leg.

Thus, it would be best to look out for all the ways that your cactus plant shows signs of neglect.

In the article below, we’ll inform you about all the reasons your cactus plant might be going soft and all the ways you can fix it.

Why Is My Cactus Going Soft?

Cactus plants are incredibly durable. However, they need well-draining soil, sunlight, and nutrients to survive. These plants are generally hard to touch. If you feel like your cactus is going limp or cannot hold on its own, then there may be some problems with the cactus plant that you can’t see clearly.

Your Cactus plant may be going soft for a bunch of reasons. You may not be providing enough water to it. Or you may be providing water that’s too much.

In any case, the plant will have an adverse reaction to inappropriate watering. The likeliest causes for your cactus turning soft are disease, cultivation, and not planning your work ahead of its time.

The problem that stands out the most in terms of a mushy plant is problem with watering.

Cactus are plants that have gotten their reputation for being adaptive to desert conditions; thus, if you start watering your plants willy-nilly, it’s unlikely that you’re going to perfect results.

Cactus plants tend to grow and thrive in climates that have very high temperatures. These high temperatures in some plants would mean that they need more water. However, cactus plants, it does not need as much water.

Your cactus may also be prone to going soft because you haven’t placed it in the right place. You may have picked the wrong site for your cactus plant.

If you’ve set your cactus in a place like your bathroom where there’s always moisture in the air, then that’s not the best way to go about it. Damp conditions cause more problems for cactus plants.

We also stated that they need sunlight. If you have kept the plants in a place where they get minimal light, they may give up a little and start dying.

Cactus plants also need enough nutrients so they can grow normally. You need to have the right amount of nutrients in any given soil so your cactus plant can rise to the best of its ability.

A problem that may occur with your plant is that there might be some soft mushy spots that then transform into a whole mushy cactus plant. Nutrients are leached when you don’t have a proper drainage system; thus, the potting mix of the cactus plant is critical.

How To Tell if a Cactus Is Dead?

Before you work on reviving your cactus plant, you will have to know if your cactus is past the point of no return. Here are some tell-tale signs to know that your cactus is dead.

Shriveled and Husk-like

If you look at your cactus and you find that it’s all shriveled up, then there’s something amiss. Cactus plants generally don’t have a tremendous growth rate.

They take years and years to go through any noticeable change. Thus, if you feel like your cactus has reduced in size overnight, then it’s worth investigating.

It’s also important to note that cactus plants generally appear plump and full of life. However, if you start noticing that your cactus plant has begun to cave in and it no longer feels whole, then it may well be on its way to death.

It Is No Longer Firm in the Soil

If you find that your cactus plant can’t hold its position in the pot, you have placed it in. Then the cactus likely doesn’t have the roots to carry on its own.

Roots are the part of the cactus that holds it firmly in place. Thus, if the cactus keeps falling over, it doesn’t have a proper root network, and when the cactus doesn’t have an appropriate network of roots, it will just keep on falling over.

There’s no way a cactus plant can exist, as roots are the network that provides the cactus plant with all the nutrients and water to survive. If the cactus plant has no root network, chances are it’s dying or has already died.

Discolored Cactus

If cactus plants aren’t adequately colored, there are chances that something may be up. It’s not always easy to know when your cactus has changed color.

The network of spines all around the cactus may make it difficult for you to discern when your cactus is changing colors. However, if you know that your cactus plant was once a dark green and now it’s looking sickly and pale, then it may be best to check-in.

If you feel like your cactus is all mottled and there are patches of yellow and brown showing up in different areas, then it’s better to look out for other signs as well.

The color change is an indicator of a lack of photosynthesis, and cactus plants can’t survive without a regulated process of photosynthesis.

Falling Spines

If you notice that the spines of the Cactus plant are falling, then something is likely to be up. Cacti plants have spines that may start falling off due to root rot. There may also be some brown and black spots that show rotting.

Soft or Bad Smelling Cactus

If your cactus feel soft to touch, then it’s not doing well. If the cactus also starts smelling, then there may be some rot that you need to tackle. Rotting Cactus is an indicator of death, and you’re likely cactus is well past its expiration date.

Causes of Squishy Cactus

If you feel like your cactus is soft or squishy, there may be specific reasons. Squishy cactus plants are also indicative of rotting. There are many reasons for squishy cacti plants. We have listed some of these reasons below:


Overwatering is one of the worst things you can do to your cactus plant. As cactus plants are used to dry and arid conditions, they don’t receive much water.

If you start watering them incessantly, then you may find that they’re more susceptible to rot. Cactus plants need well-draining soil.

If the potting mix or the pot you place your cactus in doesn’t allow this, the cactus roots will start to diminish and rot.

Once there is root rot, your plant will either not take up any water at all, or it will take up the entirety of water. It will grow soft and mushy.

As a rule of thumb, it would be best if you only water your plants when the soil feels completely dry. If you think there’s still some moisture in the ground, you should forego watering for a couple more days.

Sometimes, it may not only be about your overwatering. Instead, it could be that your cactus is not draining well due to the container you have placed the cactus plant in. The container you’re using should have drainage holes that help it relieve itself of the extra water it doesn’t need.

The Cactus Plant Has an Injury

There could be an injury to the cactus plant. If your cactus plant is physically maimed, then you’d find that it is sore to the touch. There are greater chances of your cactus plant sustaining an injury if you have pets.

Small bumps and grazes on your cactus plant can cause many problems in the long run, in a way that you don’t realize altogether—the injured parts of a cactus act as openings.

The openings are kind of like wounds. In the same way that your wounds can get infected, so can the injuries on a plant, leading to squishiness.

If you don’t take care of these plants properly, you will find yourself dealing with a dead cactus sooner rather than later.

You can cater to cactus injuries in the same way that you cater to wounds in people. You can apply some bleach solution to the openings so that you don’t infect your cactus, and it doesn’t end up being soft and mushy.

Poor Drainage

Cactus plants can also become worse because you’re not draining them properly. The pots are significant when it comes to cactus plants.

These pots must have drainage holes that let the water. The water table needs to be maintained when it comes to cactus plants.

If the water table is too high, root rot is bound to happen, leading to the cactus growing squishy and mushy. They will also lose their form and cannot hold on to it.

You can mend poor drainage by using the right kind of potting mix. The correct potting mix will involve different perlite, substrate, and fertilizer ingredients.

Some people make their cactus potting mix. However, if you’re a beginner, you can get yourself some store-bought potting mix because it’s likely to work the way you want it to in terms of drainage.

Fungal and Bacterial Problems

These problems can occur when there is a wound on the cactus. Given the right conditions, the injury can transform from an injury into an infection.

Fungus and bacteria will settle into the damage and create a fungal and bacterial action which could be the reason behind the cactus turning soft.

If there is some bacterial or fungal problem in the mix, the first way you observe this is due to the softness the cactus plant exhibits.

How to Save Rotting Cactus

There are ways that you can stop your cactus from rotting, given that you’re aware of the first signs of the rot and address them as soon as they start showing up.

Once your cactus deteriorates, there’s only one thing you can do. You can cut off all the rotten parts and then repot the cactus.

Stem Rot

When you see that the rot is near the tip of the plant or in the middle, all you have to do is take a clean knife and remove the rotten part.

If there are small rotten parts, you only need to take care of these parts. You can also dust these parts with sulfur to ensure they don’t get infected further.

Root Rot

It’s more challenging to detect root rot since it’s underground. However, the minute your plants start showing root rot symptoms. You must cut your losses and shift them to another pot.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons that your cactus may be turning soft and mushy. It’s up to you to recognize the signs and make changes in the care of your cactus accordingly.

it would be a good idea to report it in a larger pot raise the pot off the ground so it can continue to grow and thrive, and lower the temperature in the house so that it will stop going soft.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

How much sunlight does a Cactus need?

A cactus needs about 5 hours of direct sunlight every day to grow properly. If you live near a desert, you may want to place the plant in indirect or filtered sunlight if possible. It also helps to give the plant some water during this time.

What do Overwatered Cactus look like?

Cacti are very hardy plants, so they rarely get over-watered. If you notice any cacti with wilted leaves or drooping flowers, water them less often until healthy. Keep an eye out for pests too – some cacti will attract spider mites if left untreated!

How long can a Cactus go without water?

Cacti need very little water. They may survive for months if they are kept dry. Some people place them outside during summer and bring them inside during winter when it gets cold.