Growing a cactus indoors or out can create visual interest and a feel reminiscent of a dry, rugged landscape. While many cacti grow well when planted in the ground in a preferred climate, container-grown cacti can sometimes begin to wilt as a sign they are either receiving too much water or not enough. Luckily, you can fix a wilting cactus by improving your soil and changing your watering schedule.
Feel the soil around the base of your cactus for wetness. If the soil is powdery and dry, then water quantity or frequency is the issue. Proceed to Step 2.
If the soil is overly wet, then an excess of water is the cause of the wilting, and you will need to follow steps 3 to 5.
Water dry soil using 1/2 cup of water for every 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter of your cactus' pot. For example, an 8-inch (20 cm) pot would require a cup of water. Supply this quantity of water weekly from spring to fall, but provide this amount of water every 2 to 3 weeks during the winter.
Ease the cactus out of the soggy soil container and knock off any excess soil to expose the roots. Inspect the plant roots to see if they appear firm and white or if they have turned brown and mushy. Cut off any bad, mushy roots using a clean knife.
Rinse out and wash the old pot your plant was in, or use a new pot no more than 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) larger. Fill the pot with soil mix for succulents or an equal mixture of potting soil and builder's sand.
Plant the wilting cactus into the center of the prepared pot at an equal depth to how it was previously planted. Leave the plant unwatered for one week. Resume watering according to Step 2 for quantity and frequency during the year.
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus