Why Did My Christmas Cactus Turn Red

Christmas cacti frequently suffer from a magnesium deficit, which manifests as drooping and foliage that is stained red or purple. It mainly happens in the wintertime when feeding and watering are restricted and nutrient uptake by the plant is slowed down by the chilly weather. Wintertime temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for the cactus. With Epsom salts, a magnesium deficit can be treated. 8 heaping tablespoons of Epsom salts should be dissolved in 2 1/2 liters of water together with 1–2 drops of dishwashing liquid. Spray the tops and undersides of the foliage with the mixture after pouring it into a spray bottle. Every two weeks, reapply the mixture to the foliage until it takes on its natural hue.

A Christmas cactus with a woody stem may not experience any problems at all; as these plants become older, the stems become more resembling wood.

Why is the color of my cactus changing?

Cactus are tough plants that are used to harsh conditions. Your cactus may, however, start to become red if certain environmental stressors are present.

This is a symptom that something is wrong with your plant, yet it does not necessarily mean it is harmful. The good news is that you can restore your plant’s original color by altering its care and getting rid of the stressor.

When stressed by alterations in the environment, such as too much heat, too much sun, or a lack of water, cacti will turn red. In addition to these, pathogenic infections and root infections can also cause the color of your cactus to change to red.

The treatments offered will assist the plant in returning to its original color because the red signifies that the plant’s natural defense systems are in use.

Why is the new growth on my Christmas cactus red?

In USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12, Schlumbergera bridgesii, widely known as the Christmas Cactus, performs best indoors but also flourishes in sheltered outdoor situations. A mature Christmas cactus normally experiences few issues, while some could experience reddened leaves as a result of poor growing circumstances, diseases, or poor maintenance.

Cultural Stress

Christmas cactus frequently produces red foliage due to cultural stress, especially if it is exposed to direct sunlight in the summer or does not get enough water. This cactus thrives in light shade throughout the hotter months because it is a plant native to tropical forests. It does, however, like full sunlight in the winter and needs a little bit more water than most other cacti do. So once the soil feels dry 1 inch (2.5 cm) below the surface, it needs to be watered. If an established Christmas Cactus develops reddish foliage but otherwise appears healthy, evaluate its light exposure and move if necessary. Similarly, alter the soil’s moisture content and avoid letting it go too long without watering.

Root Infections

By restricting the amount of oxygen that roots can absorb and by weakening their tissue, overwatering harms them. Overwatering frequently results in root rot. Mushy tissue, wilting, and pink or reddish discolorations on the leaves are the hallmarks of Christmas Cactus. An unpleasant odor in the soil is another indicator of root rot. An injured plant needs to be replanted in new, unused potting soil and allowed to dry out for two to three weeks. Trim away the severely harmed leaves and gradually bring the plant back to a regular watering schedule by allowing the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil to become dry in between waterings. Pruning blades should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol before and after use to disinfect them.

Pathogen Infestations

If Christmas Cacti are propagated from sick plants or are potted in polluted soil, they may become infested with Cactus Cyst (Cactodera cacti). Cactus Cyst is a nematode that predominantly affects the roots but can also manifest as a wide range of symptoms in the foliage. Common signs include stunted growth, wilting, and reddish discolorations; however, the most telltale symptom is observed on the roots as tiny, pearl-like lumps. Cactus Cyst treatment is challenging and rarely effective, thus prevention is essential. To prevent contact with contaminated soil, first put the plant in fresh, sterilized soil in an unused pot and raise it off the ground. If a plant becomes infested, get rid of it to prevent the infection from spreading.

Nutrient Deficiency

Weeding and reddened or purple-tinged leaves are two typical signs of magnesium insufficiency, a common disease in Christmas Cacti. It mainly happens in the wintertime when feeding and watering are restricted and nutrient uptake by the plant is slowed down by the chilly weather. The cactus thrives in winter at temperatures between 55 and 65 F. (13 to 18 C). With Epsom salts, a magnesium deficit can be treated. A supplement feeding of 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts dissolved in 1 gallon (3.8 l) of water is typically helpful. Spray the tops and undersides of the foliage with the mixture after pouring it into a spray bottle. Every two weeks, reapply the mixture to the foliage until it takes on its natural hue.

Why is the color of my Christmas cactus changing?

Did you know that Christmas Cactus make hardy houseplants? Christmas Cactus are frequently sold throughout the holiday season. Both indoors and outdoors, I find them to be incredibly simple to grow, and mine always bloom once a year, typically twice.

They are absolutely fantastic, but like any plants, they can have faults and problems. I decided to write this piece because the leaves on my client’s Christmas cactus had turned orange. It seemed like too fantastic of a chance to miss.

Let’s get a little more technical for those of you who are plant nerds like me. Thanksgiving (or crab) cactus is what you are seeing here and in the video instead of Christmas cactus. It was marked as a CC when I purchased it, and that is how it is frequently offered for sale in the trade.

These days, they might be identified as Holiday Cactus. Any of them could experience this, no matter which one you have.

This plant is turning a deep bronze from its too orange state. The leaves are scraggly and sagging.

When under stress from the environment or culture, plants change hue. This one changed to a deep orange/brown/bronze color—the exact shade is up for debate! mostly as a result of water shortage. It has occasionally gotten a little too much sun. Dehydration is evident in the leaves’ thinness and wrinkles, which can be seen if you look closely at them.

At least six years ago, I purchased this Holiday Cactus at the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market. It was a piece of the Christmas dish garden I created for my client’s front porch table. She resides on the coast approximately a quarter mile from the Pacific, one and a half hours south of San Francisco. This plant has managed to live despite the other plants having long since moved to the compost pail. Oh, and did I mention how tough Christmas cacti are? This is evidence!

Unlike the desert cactus that Tucson is covered in, these succulents are epiphytic cacti. Christmas Cacti grow on other plants and rocks, not in the soil, in their native rainforest habitats. They are shielded from full, direct sunlight by the canopies of trees and plants, and they flourish in this environment.

Changing Color

Christmas Cactus can become orange, brown, or golden when exposed to much sunlight because they prefer shade from it. Yellow leaves may also be an indication of excessive sunlight or moisture. In Santa Barbara, my Thanksgiving Cactus was an outside plant that turned burgundy or purple in the winter as a response to the chilly weather.

Early in December, the Thanksgiving Cactus was lying on its side on the opposite end of the front porch when I first went to my client’s house. She is close to the Pacific, so at least some moisture is provided by the fog where she resides. That, in my opinion, is what has kept it going.

Why is the purple color on my Christmas cactus fading?

Your Christmas cactus leaves frequently have a purplish hue, which is typical. However, if it is conspicuously present throughout the leaves, it can indicate a problem with your plant. The following are the most typical causes of Christmas cacti’s leaves turning red or purple:

issues with nutrition

Your Christmas cactus may be deficient in essential nutrients if you don’t fertilize it frequently. From spring to mid-autumn, treat the plant every month with an all-purpose indoor plant fertilizer.

Additionally, since Christmas cacti require more magnesium than most plants, adding 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water as a supplement to the plant’s diet usually works well. Throughout the spring and summer, apply the mixture once a month, but avoid using it the same week you apply conventional plant fertilizer.

dense roots

Your Christmas cactus could not be properly receiving nutrients if its roots are bound. This is one potential explanation for the Christmas cactus’ reddish-purple leaves. Don’t repot your plant until it has been in the same container for at least two or three years, but keep in mind that Christmas cactus flourishes with dense roots.

Repotting Christmas cactus is best done in the spring if you find that it is rootbound. Transfer the plant to a container that is filled with a potting mix that drains well, such as ordinary potting soil blended with perlite or sand. The pot has to be one size bigger.


Christmas cactus needs bright light in the fall and winter, but excessive direct light in the summer may cause the leaves to become purple on the margins. It could be possible to avoid sunburn and fix the issue by moving the plant to a better place. Ensure that it is not near any open doors or drafty windows. In the same way, stay away from hot, dry locations like those near a fireplace or heating vent.

What causes my plants to become red?

Red pigments are brought on by changes in the soil and air around plants that disturb nutrients. Red and purple leaf colors are frequently produced by the spring’s chilly soil and air. Nutrient imbalances are brought on by the summer’s extremes of intense heat followed by lower temps.

What causes the pinking of my cactus?

When cactuses don’t get enough water, they can become pink. The life of a cactus won’t often be in danger if it turns pink. For the cactus to get back to normal, you might wish to water it more frequently. A cactus has to be watered once or twice a week on average to stay healthy. When exposed to sunlight, certain cactus species even spontaneously change color to pink.

A Christmas cactus may receive too much sunlight.

According to information on how to care for Christmas cacti, they thrive in typical home settings with minimal attention. The Christmas cactus can tolerate low light levels, but if exposed to greater light, the plant will blossom more quickly. However, the Christmas cactus’s leaves can be damaged by excessive direct sunlight, so keep it in a suitable location to prevent this.

Additionally, moisture is crucial for Christmas cactus. During the plant’s active growth in the spring and summer, frequent and thorough watering is required to maintain a moist soil environment. Never let the Christmas cactus sit in water as this will cause root and stem rot. Instead, let the plant’s moisture levels fall and dry out a little between waterings. Every other week, a light fertilizer solution can also be applied to indoor plants.

How much light is required for a Christmas cactus?

Thanksgiving cactus, holiday cactus, and crab cactus are all names for the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). The leaf-shaped stem segments with curled, pointy teeth or claws around the margins are known as crabs. The leaf segments of the Easter cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi) have rounded edges. They all came from wet, dark forests around the southeast coast of Brazil. Because they reside above ground in trees, where branches meet and decaying leaves and moss amass, they are categorized as epiphytes.

Although this plant has the moniker “cactus,” the maintenance it needs has nothing to do with its relatives in the desert. It is regarded as a type of woodland cactus. Its needs can be traced back to its beginnings. It is recommended for Christmas cactus to grow in “Potty trained That entails storing it in a small container for as long as possible before transferring it to a pot that is only marginally larger. They should not be allowed to dry out and like a thick organic potting mix. When the plant is blossoming, increase the watering. They favor direct, bright light. As the plants start to burn in full light, the leaf segments might turn a dark red color.

The “The two factors of light and temperature are the key to getting Christmas cacti to bloom in the years after purchase. These two hold the secret to the realm of flowers. Flowers are produced by Christmas cacti during a chilly, brief day cycle. It takes at least eight days of 16 hours of darkness and 8 hours of light every day for flower buds to begin to form. No matter where the plant is located, avoid using the lights at night, even for a little time. That ends the necessary dark cycle. Around 61 degrees should be the ambient temperature. Place the plant away from drafts of either cold or hot air.

All that is required is to set the Christmas cactus on the window sill in a chilly area without turning on the lights. In a brightly lit space, a plant’s side towards the window will frequently sprout buds, but not the other way around. It usually has to do with either receiving too much or not enough water or with there being insufficient humidity in the air if the plant sets flower buds and then they fall off. The good news is that if their temperature and light needs are met, Christmas cacti are thought to be rather simple to induce to bloom once more.

Can Christmas cactus be grown with Miracle Grow?

When Christmas cacti are tightly contained in their containers, they typically grow bigger and produce more flowers. But once the roots have nearly filled the pot, proceed as follows:

1. Choose a replacement pot with a drainage hole that is only 1 to 2 inches wider than the old one.

2. To help your Christmas cactus thrive straight away, fill the new container 1/3 full with Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix, which offers great drainage and a little amount of food.

3. After placing the plant in the pot, make sure the root ball’s top is positioned 3/4 to 1 inch or less below the pot’s rim.

4. Fill in the area around the rootball, leaving a gap of about 3/4 inch between the soil’s top and the container’s lip (for easy watering).

5. After giving the plant plenty of water, let it drain, then relocate it to a permanent location. (Place a water-resistant saucer underneath the pot to prevent spills on the furniture.)

Secret tip: After plants have recovered from blooming and begun to grow again in late spring, this is the ideal time to repot them.