Why Is My Cactus Growing Hair?All You Need To Know

Why Is My Cactus Growing Hair

New gardeners might feel anxious if they notice hair growth on their Cactus. It’s typically white and covers the entire body of the plant.

It’s easy to question; why is my Cactus growing hair? Now, it’s usually a sign that your plant is evolving and growing adaptive to the climate. The hairy growth extends its survivability and makes it retain more moisture.

Our article will help you have a better understanding of this hairy growth. Furthermore, it will also provide helpful tips on how to care for your cactus plant under these circumstances.

Although it might look like hair, the overgrowth you might notice on your Cactus is actually spines.

What Is Cactus Hair

They contribute directly to the plant’s ability to sustain itself with little nourishment. Its function specifically focuses on liquid management.

White spines on the Cactus help it to bear water and use it economically. Therefore, it increases the plant’s ability to sustain itself in rough terrain like deserts. It also minimizes its need to be watered regularly as a houseplant.

Another extraordinary ability of cactus hair is to make it more resistant to harsh weather conditions. A significant reason behind the plant developing such outgrowth is because of the area in which it’s planted. It allows them to thrive under intense cold or heat.

What Is the White Hair on Some Cacti Plants?

Spines or white hairs typically grow on cacti to primarily store water. It sucks the liquid from the soil and starts condensing it once the climate starts getting hot. Once the condensation process is complete, it begins to travel upward the stem.

What Is the White Hair on Some Cacti Plants

The Cactus’s stem transports the water to the spines of the Cactus, which starts storing them in drops. If any excess water remains, it is sent to the middle part of the stem for usage at a later date.

Trimming or cutting the hair of the Cactus won’t cause it any harm. Therefore, gardeners can consider sprucing it to prevent them from overgrowing and maintain its aesthetics.

However, there is one downside to consider with cutting cactus hair. Unlike leaves, they do not grow back once you cut them. Therefore, it will get more difficult for the plant to build resistance to harsh weather or collect water.

Types of Cacti That Grow Hair

Only cacti that reside in harsh regions with extreme temperatures typically grow hair or external spines. Below are some of the most notable variations.

1. Old Man Cactus

A common answer to, Why is my cactus growing white hair? is you have an old man cactus. In the wilderness, it can reach up to heights of 15 meters, and its greyish-white hair is long and hangs over its entire body, making it look like a fuzzball.

Old Man Cactus

And a distinctive quality of this plant is that its thorns look like grey hair, which helps it survive in cold conditions. Furthermore, it blooms beautiful white flowers typically during summertime.

2. Powder Puff Cactus

Why does your Cactus have a hairball? Chances are you have a powder puff cactus at home. It’s a miniature variation that has a round body with white hair covering it. Gardeners love it due to its minimal upkeep.

Powder Puff Cactus

Powder Puff cacti commonly grow in the Northern parts of Central Mexico. It grows comparatively faster than other cactus breeds.

Fishermen love them since they work well as fishhooks. Gardeners can grow them in cold regions as they are resistant to frost.

3. Peruvian Old Man Cactus

Commonly found in Peru and Bolivia, the Old Man cactus has a wooly body due to the abundance of hair. It’s a common sight in hilly regions and typically grows between 800-2000 meters altitude.

Peruvian Old Man Cactus

Peruvian Old Man cacti grow best when it’s kept directly under the sun’s light and heat. Although it thrives in hot climates, it doesn’t survive long in high humidity. Therefore, it’s best to exercise caution when watering it.

4. Monkey’s Tail

Hairy and hanging, you can find these Cactus breed hanging from a pot in boutique greenhouses. Unlike its other variations, it tends to grow rapidly while its root needs large spaces. Therefore, it also requires more frequent repotting and nurturing.

Monkey’s Tail

In terms of exposure to sunlight, the Monkey’s Tail cacti cannot tolerate direct exposure as it’s prone to getting sunburnt. It’s better to keep it under partial sunlight. You can consider planting it in cold climates as it’s resistant to frosts.

How to Care for a Cactus with Hair

Hair on a cactus is a good sign that it is resistant to harsh conditions. However, below are a few things you can do to ensure it grows steadily.

How to Care for a Cactus with Hair

1. Exposure to Sunlight

With a few exceptions, most cacti with hair love getting direct sunlight. Therefore, consider putting them in the sunniest part of your lawn or the backyard.

2. Water It Periodically

Most hairy cacti usually require watering once or twice a week. However, observing the soil can determine when it needs watering. If one to two inches of the earth is dry, then it’s a signal that it’s time to water it.

3. Special Care During Winter

Gardeners need to change their maintenance routing to keep cacti with hair growing properly through the winter. Start by letting it go into pseudo-hibernation by putting it in the basement or attic with low exposure to light.

There’s no need to water the cacti during dormancy. Only give it water if you notice the plant drying. Revert back to the previous routine once spring begins.

Can You Touch a Hairy Cactus?

Touching a hair will not cause any harm to the plant or the spine. However, you need to be cautious when doing so. The spines are sharp beneath the fuzzy exterior. Therefore, you run the risk of pricking your skin when you come in contact with them.

Are Hairy Cacti Able to Regrow Their Hair?

Unfortunately, cacti do not have the ability to grow back their hair, unlike other parts of plants. Therefore, cutting them off will make them more prone to harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, it will also decrease its overall water storage capacity.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is cactus hair really hair?

The Cactus does not have hair. Some grow spines to combat harsh weather and regional conditions. The spines tend to look wooly and fuzzy, thus emulating the aesthetics of hair.

2. What is the average longevity of hairy cacti?

Hairy cacti are typically sturdier than their other variants. If you look after them properly, some of them can live up to 200 years.

3. What should I do if a cacti’s hair pricks my skin?

You can extract cacti hair yourself under most circumstances. However, if they seem difficult to remove, then it’s best to leave them undisturbed. Soon enough, it will come out by itself.

4. How tall can hair cacti get?

The length of hairy cacti depends on the situation in which it grows. As a houseplant, it does not grow more than 15cm. On the other hand, some variants in the wild can grow up to 60cm.


If your Cactus is growing hair, There’s no need to feel nervous in such a situation. Chances are that you have a breed that is superior in terms of longevity and resilience.

The hair you notice in the Cactus is, in fact, its spines. They perform a function that is vital for the plant’s survival. Therefore, it’s best to leave them as it is and abstain from trimming them.

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