Knowing the causes of a Christmas cactus’ stem segments turning yellow will help you assess the situation and take appropriate action.
Schlumbergera are distinguished by cladodes, which are fleshy segmented stalks that are sometimes mistaken for leaves. It’s possible for new growth to begin red and gradually turn green.
Something is wrong when a plant’s color changes. Yellow coloration is often caused by one or more of the following five factors, or a combination of them: unsuitable lighting, insufficient hydration, nutrient deficits, pests and diseases, and poor drainage.
Let’s examine each in turn:
How can yellow cactus be fixed?
Overwatering is frequently the cause of cacti turning yellow. Cacti occasionally require watering, but in most situations this should happen less frequently than once per week.
Your plant will begin to turn yellow (and occasionally have some brown spots on its edges) and eventually die if you overwater it.
A standing puddle around the base of the plants or pots should be avoided as well because this might result in overwatering issues like root rot or stem decay.
Try letting the soil dry out between waterings if you suspect that your cactus is becoming yellow as a result of overwatering.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, check sure there are no standing puddles close to the base of the structure and that it is receiving enough sunlight and airflow.
Not Enough Sun Exposure
Since cacti require a lot of light to develop and thrive, if you keep one in the dark for an extended period of time, its color will begin to change.
Make sure there are no obstructions preventing sunlight from reaching the plant if it is outdoors.
Additionally, observe whether any of your plants need more strong light because they were recently repotted before they start to produce new green growth.
A succulent plant’s color will also depend on where it is located inside, as some artificial lighting can lead them to change color over time.
Place your indoor cactus in a location with lots of natural light.
Too Much Sun Exposure
However, cacti can become fried and become yellow if they are planted in a location where they are exposed to strong sunshine.
Cacti frequently get sunburned and turn yellow if they are left in the sun for an extended period of time.
Relocating your plant so that it isn’t exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day is the best method to avoid this.
Your cactus plant can also be placed in an area with early and afternoon shade, or you can put up a sun-blocking screen.
If you transfer your cactus from a shaded place to a sunny one, yellowing may also occur.
The plant will suffer exposure damage and turn yellow if it isn’t used to getting so much sun.
But it won’t always be this this! Your cactus’s natural defenses will also strengthen as you gradually expose it to more sunshine, which should stop any further damage or yellow discolouration.
Not Enough Water During Hot Weather or Drought Conditions
Too much sun, drought, or even putting the plant in a pot for a few weeks without any watering can all contribute to this.
You’ll need to water more frequently and thoroughly till the soil is moist once more to resolve this issue.
Misting your plant can also prevent it from turning yellow if there isn’t any rain or moisture in the air.
If your cactus has been yellow for a while and they live in a hot area or a drought, you might want to attempt the following:
Make sure it isn’t being sunburned by being in a place with too much light first.
If this is not the cause of the yellowing, make sure to water the plant frequently and wait until the soil is totally dry before watering it again.
A location with some shade or close to an open window where there may be some humidity in the air is another option for moving your plant.
Poor Soil With Low Nutrient Content
Your cactus plant will become yellow if it is being grown in a pot with inadequate soil and little nutrient content.
Cacti require premium, porous soil that can hold plenty of water without becoming top-heavy or prone to tipping over when irrigated.
Because they contain additional elements like iron and calcium, which are crucial for good growth, potting soil mixtures specifically designed for cacti (succulent/cactus soil) are typically highly recommended.
Changes in temperature are among the most frequent reasons why cacti turn yellow.
They can be brought on by moving the object from one place to another or by positioning it next to a heat source, such as a heater or an oven vent.
Your plant may be turning yellow if you haven’t recently relocated it and the temperature in its current location has considerably altered.
Move your plant to its new place gradually over a few days to avoid cactus yellowing from temperature changes.
You can stop a cactus from turning yellow due to abrupt temperature fluctuations by moving it gently.
A cactus may require some time to recover if it becomes yellow as a result of abrupt changes in its environment.
In this situation, you ought to hold off on more fertilization or irrigation until the color has returned. Otherwise, root rot can develop if water was provided too soon after the temperature change while remaining at high temps.
Keep the soil damp but never wet when gradually moving plants between locations with big temperature fluctuations to help prevent cactus root rot.
Too Much or Not Enough Fertilizer
Over- or underfertilizing a cactus is another factor that might cause it to turn yellow. Lack of water will cause the plant to begin to stress out and eventually turn yellow from a lack of nutrients.
The surface leaves may also turn brown and peel off as they degrade if too much fertilizer is sprayed in one day.
Salts in excess fertilizers accumulate on the soil’s surface and prevent moisture from reaching roots.
Although it’s challenging, the best technique to “correct this problem” is to give the plant consistent watering for at least two weeks without giving it any fertilizer.
After some time, you can gradually reapply fertilizer until the plant’s leaves appear better and have sprouted new leaves.
Pests attacking a cactus are among the most frequent causes of its yellowing.
Typically, these are pests that have multiplied and populated the plant, sucking away all the nutrients from its yellow leaves, like mealybugs or spider mites.
Check your plants frequently for any indications of insect infestation to avoid this because even a small amount of pests can quickly grow to be overpowering levels.
Most importantly, make sure to remove any dead matter from surrounding or close to your plant so that it won’t be used as food. Dead organic matter will only encourage bugs to multiply.
Simply spray it on the plant and rub it thoroughly to remove any remaining white residue, just like you would with an insect repellent. Although it smells awful, it produces fantastic effects!
One common fungal disease that can cause this symptom to occur is called Cephaleuros wilt, caused by the fungus Verticillium dahliae (Vd).
The plant loses its ability to carry water throughout the rest of its body as a result of this illness, which also causes the tissues that conduct water to die. Yellow may also be a result of other signs of diseases like chlorosis.
Due to their low nutrient uptake, cacti and succulents are most frequently afflicted by chlorosis or iron insufficiency.
When this occurs, you could notice that your plant’s general color is a lighter shade of green with light brown flecks.
Though it can occur at any moment during a cactus’ lifespan, it typically does so when the plant receives either too much (overwatering) or not enough (underwatering) water (underwatering).
Repotting them into new soil will help plants acquire new nutrients and a better drainage system. Then, be careful to use a pair of scissors to remove any dead roots, and immediately provide a lot of direct sunlight!
The cactus might not be able to recover if the damage from the frost is causing it to become yellow.
Frost damage has the potential to permanently scar the surface of a plant’s leaves and do irreparable damage to its cells and tissues.
This kind of injury typically happens when it is below freezing overnight or when mild freezes last for several days.
If possible, try relocating your cactus to a location with more direct sunshine or greater humidity levels in this situation.
If the cactus was damaged by frost, keeping it somewhere with temps about 50 degrees Fahrenheit may help it recover over time.
Move your plant back into its usual environment as soon as this region warms up and new growth starts to emerge. Keep doing this until all traces of frost damage are gone.
Exposure to Chemicals
Some chemicals have the ability to turn cacti yellow. These include chlorine, fluorine, and other substances that are found in water or fertilizers.
It’s possible that a nearby chemical spill or overuse of these goods surrounding your plants is the source of your cactus’ yellowing.
Moving them away from any suspected sources of contamination, such as sprinklers used on nearby lawns, may help if you feel that this is the cause.
Why are the edges of my Christmas cactus going yellow?
Consider the following scenarios if you see yellowing on your Christmas cactus leaves:
It may be time to repot the Christmas cactus if the container is overstuffed with roots. Change the Christmas cactus to a larger pot. A well-draining combination, such as two parts potting mix and one part coarse sand or perlite, should be used to fill the container. After repotting a Christmas cactus, give it plenty of water and wait a month before adding fertilizer.
But hold off on repotting because this plant actually does best in a crowded pot. Repotting shouldn’t be done unless it has been at least two or three years since the previous occasion.
Inappropriate wateringYellow Christmas cactus leaves may be a symptom that the plant has root rot, a condition brought on by overwatering or inadequate drainage. Take the plant out of the pot and look at the roots to check for root rot. Infected roots will be dark or black and may appear mushy or smell musty.
The plant may be lost if it has rot, but you can try to salvage it by cutting off the rotting roots and relocating it to a new pot with fresh potting soil. Water plants only when the top 2 to 3 inches (5-7.6 cm) of soil feel dry to the touch or if the leaves appear flat and wrinkled in order to prevent root rot. After blooming, water less frequently, and only enough to keep the plant from withering.
If you don’t fertilize your Christmas cactus frequently, the plant may be lacking essential nutrients if its leaves start to turn yellow. From spring through mid-autumn, give the plant a monthly feeding with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.
The Christmas cactus is also reported to require a lot of magnesium. As a result, several resources advise applying a monthly supplemental feeding of 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts diluted in 1 gallon of water during the spring and summer. Don’t use the Epsom salt solution the same week you apply conventional plant fertilizer, and space out feedings.
excessive direct light
While the Christmas cactus thrives from bright light in the fall and winter, excessive sunlight in the summer can cause the leaves to seem yellow and washed out.
Knowing the cause of the Christmas cactus’ yellowing leaves will make this issue less frustrating.
Can you save a dying cactus?
A cactus going yellow can be a sign of too much light, the improper soil, or a pot that is too tiny. Don’t be alarmed if it turns yellowish; you can probably bring it back to life. You’re either underwatering or overwatering, most likely.
It’s possible that you’re drowning your plant by committing a common cacti watering blunder. You may simply fix this by altering your watering schedule. When a yellow tint starts to appear on your cactus, we consulted a houseplant specialist for advice.
Leaf Envy (opens in new tab), a retailer of indoor plants and cactus, is owned and operated by Beth Chapman. She has extensive knowledge in this subject and claims that while there isn’t a universal solution, there are a few common aspects relating to its habitat and conditions.
She advises us to start by understanding where our cacti are placed in the house. Cacti, in contrast to most plants, benefit from a lot of bright, direct sunlight.
“Not getting enough light exposure could affect its health and induce discoloration,” says Beth. Second, cactus don’t require as much watering as the rest of your plant collection because they can withstand desert heat and drought-like circumstances.
Beth advises to water plants only after the earth has become completely dry and to generally water plants less during the winter. She advises not watering your cactus if you’ve overwatered it until the soil has dried out and checking to see whether the roots have died.
If they haven’t passed away, you’re in luck, and we recommend repotting your plant using soil made specifically for cacti, says Beth. However, gloves are advised because the terrain can be somewhat thorny.
Cacti cannot be grown outdoors in the UK, but there are many inventive cactus garden ideas for anyone who lives in a warm, dry region. These ideas can be used to create an eye-catching outdoor show.
Cacti and other succulents are a terrific option, whether you’re the happy owner of a collection of ladyfingers and blue columnar cacti or if a giant rabbit ear cactus gives your living room a Joshua Tree feel. You now know to use a method of elimination to correct it if you notice a yellowish tint to yours.