Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Abnormal or misshapen growth in cacti and succulents does occur from time to time. This is by no means desirable in most cases. The obvious exceptions would be the type that occurs with crested or fascinated varieties.
Abnormal growth can refer not only to the actual shape of the tissue but the color of the tissue as well. Each species of cacti or succulent has its normal color with wide deviations from this indicating there are longstanding problems. This is caused mainly by lack of sunlight or a bleached color resulting when a plant gets sunburned.
Each cacti or succulent species has its own particular shape or growth habit that is considered normal. If the stems are weak or thin, or malformed, this can also be a sign that the plant isnít receiving enough sunlight. In extreme cases where light is sorely insufficient, some species can become so malformed that they donít look anything like they should. In the case of cacti, the space between individual tubercles or areoles, become very stretched and exaggerated. A single factor, such as this, can greatly affect the appearance of the plant to let you know that something isnít quite right.
Plants that arenít getting enough light will also tend to grow much faster than usual. This new growth will be in a weakened state due to the light-related problems.
In addition to these obvious problems caused by improper lighting conditions, excessive humidity and extremely warm temperatures can also play a role.
Plants can also become malformed when growth slows to an unusually slow pace. Typically, this would happen if the affected plant isnít receiving the proper amount of heat that it normally needs. This isnít the same as what happens during the winter when desert cacti typically enter their winter rest period.
The best way you can prevent all of these problems is to give cacti and succulents the proper growing conditions so far as watering, temperature, and light are concerned.