Again and again it happens that a cactus becomes soft. In many cases, improper watering is responsible for cactus rot. If the so-called succulents are not completely mushy, you can save the plants with the right measures.

Kaktus fault

A rotten cactus is the dread of many home and garden owners. You can tell the rot inside when the succulents suddenly become mushy. Various causes are possible. In addition, first aid can save the plant if necessary.

The reasons

Before treatment, the owners should ask themselves, why did the cactus become soft? Various causes are conceivable:

  • wrong watering
  • too little light
  • wrong substrate
  • sunburn
  • Diseases
Tip: Before providing first aid, you should determine the cause. With the help of the process of elimination, you can get closer to the cause and possibly save the succulents.

Incorrect watering

Improper watering is a common cause of rot development. If you water the exotic plant too generously, water will collect in the substrate. The plants are very sensitive and react quickly to waterlogging. After all, the plants are used to dry locations. The moisture in the soil causes the roots to rot. Bacteria and fungi can penetrate faster and destroy the entire cactus.

Too little light

Lack of light favors the development of rot. In many plants, the base remains comparatively thin while the cactus grows rapidly. Such forms are common when the plant gets too little light. Consequently, you should make sure that the Cactaceae are in a sufficiently sunny location.

Wrong substrate

With the wrong substrate, you won’t make the plants happy. If you fill the pot with the wrong material, you will soon have a rotten succulent in your garden. Preferably, the Cactaceae should have a substrate with little humus and lots of minerals. The plants thrive best with this combination.


If the cactus gets yellow spots, the sunlight can be the cause. Direct exposure to the sun’s rays is not suitable for all types of succulents. Sunburn damages the plant and promotes the development of rot.

Tip: choose a partially shaded location. Make sure that in spring the transition from winter quarters to the sun is harmonious, so that the cactus does not become soft.


Soft, injured cacti allow bacteria and fungi to enter the plants. Such openings are conceivable by animals, insects or weather influences. The bacteria and fungal spores now have an easy time penetrating the succulents. Subsequently, the plants become rotten from the inside. The growth of fungal spores is favored in warm and humid site conditions.

Save soft cactus

If the cactus is already completely soft and mushy, help may come too late. However, if rotting is not very advanced, you can save your cactus. First check if the upper part is healthy. Then, with the right materials and a few tips, you can take care of your plants.

The materials

If you want to save your muddy plants, you need different materials. The rescue is not possible without the following items:

  • gloves
  • Messer
  • pot
  • Substrate
  • water
  • charcoal
Tip: Always put on the thick gloves first so that no spikes penetrate your skin. With gloves, the succulents can be held and the rotten parts can be separated.

separate plant

After the preparations, it is necessary to separate the healthy part of the plant from the rotten pieces. Take a sanitized knife and cut out the rotten spots. The wounds of the plant can be treated with charcoal. Otherwise, bacteria and fungi could get into the cactaceae and promote rot again.


Before you replant the cacti, the wounds must dry. With wet wounds there is always a risk that the succulents will rot again. Consequently, a waiting time of 1-2 days is recommended before the cactus comes into the substrate.

Note: A hard layer may form on the wound. This is the so-called wound cork. This is to protect the injury and not a problem for saving the succulents.


A special and high-quality substrate is required for planting. Products containing minerals are recommended for the plants to thrive. In addition, drainage is useful in order to be able to quickly drain moisture from the substrate.

frequently asked Questions

When the Cactaceae is lazy, rescue comes first. If the old plant has several shoots, you can also multiply the succulents. To do this, cut off the offshoot and plant it in a suitable substrate.

The time it takes for roots to form varies. For some succulents, a few days are enough, while other roots take several months to anchor themselves in the substrate.

The cactus has low demands on its environment and care. It is enough to water the plant once a week.

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