Tall cacti often develop one or more skinny sections as they grow. The skinny parts of the cactus are caused by periods when the plant has received sufficient amounts of water but insufficient amounts of light.


What was once dark and healthy flesh on your cactus can grow pale as it reaches and struggles to find sufficient light.

This process is called etiolation and new growth at this time will typically be much less than at other times, such as when your cactus was receiving sufficient water and light to grow to its full potential.

As long as your cactus is receiving adequate light and water, it will continue to grow, regardless of its skinny sections.

And if those areas of your cactus are too skinny and too much weight accumulates on top, the plant may snap.

Even if your cactus has not snapped yet but you think it most likely will, you can break it and replant it yourself.

You’ll just end up with two smaller cacti, instead of one tall one with one or more skinny sections.

How To Replant Your Broken Cactus

If your cactus breaks or if you choose to break it, you can replant the broken piece as follows:

Let the broken cactus piece sit in a shaded, room-temperature environment for around one week or until the ends of the cactus harden and begin to callus.

For replanting cacti, it’s best to use a ceramic pot that allows at least 1/4 of an inch between the middle of the cactus and the edge of the pot.

It may help to use a pot with drainage holes, but it is not absolutely necessary.

When you plant your cactus, add a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot and top it with 1/2 an inch of charcoal to help with drainage.

Next, you can add in a good quality succulent or cactus potting mix.

Replant The Cactus

Place the calloused end of your cactus piece 1 or 2 inches deep and gently pat down the soil around it until it’s standing straight and stable.

Related Article: Why Is My Cactus Growing Leaves?

How To Care For Your Replanted Cactus

When it comes to caring for cacti, there are three major factors that affect their health:

  • Light.
  • Water.
  • Temperature.

Too little light, too much or too little water, and temperatures that are too hot or cold can all affect the health of your cactus and cause it to grow skinny.

Place your replanted cactus at a sunny window and let it sit there for around two to four weeks.

Once it’s sat there for around 2 weeks to a month, give it a thorough watering.

Allow your new cactus to dry out for a further two to four weeks until new roots begin to form.

Once the new roots have formed, you can then water it a little less frequently, just do not spray or mist it.

If there aren’t any drainage holes in the pot, you won’t have to water it as often.

How much you’ll have to water your new cactus will also depend on how big the root ball is, how big the pot is, the amount of light it’s getting, the temperature of its environment and the time of year it is.

For example, in winter cacti require less water because they are in a resting phase.

So, if you’re worried about your cactus because it has really skinny areas and you think it might break, at least you know you have the option to break and replant it or to just wait for it to break and then replant it.

You may want to break the cactus yourself if you are afraid of it breaking unexpectedly and hurting yourself, a family member or a pet.

And don’t forget to use a good, thick pair of gloves so you don’t get stuck with the spines.