How To Get Rid Of Mold On Cactus

Cactus plant fungus can be a pain. There are, however, a number of ways to get rid of fungus on cactus plants.

Method #1: Cut Off The Infected Area

To start, use a sterilized knife or pair of clippers to remove any patches of fungus on the cactus plants.

Then, depending on the fungicide you use, treat those healthy areas once every two weeks for six to twelve months.

Follow the directions on the fertilizer container to fertilize your plant as necessary to encourage development and stop further disease outbreaks.

Additionally, make sure that it receives consistent watering throughout this time and try to avoid letting it become completely dry in between waterings since too much moisture may result in black patches in addition to root rot issues!

Method #2: Use Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

Making a solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is one of the most used techniques.

Pour two teaspoons into an empty spray bottle along with one quart of warm water.

Whenever you notice any indications or symptoms, such as leaf spot, that fungus on cactus plants has resumed its attack, spray your cactus plants well until they are completely moist, including the undersides and tops of leaves.

For six weeks straight, you should perform this procedure at least twice a week to completely eradicate the fungus on your cactus plants.

Method #3: Make Your Own Fungicide Solution

In an empty spray container, combine one tablespoon of liquid soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda with one gallon of water.

To totally get rid of fungus on cactus plants, spray it abundantly onto your plants every two weeks for at least six months!

Method #4: Spray With White Vinegar Solution

Another choice is to carefully dip the leaves into a solution of one part white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) to four parts water in an empty plastic bucket or container. Do this until the leaves are completely moistened but not dripping wet.

The fungicide that has remained on the surface should be allowed to dry naturally rather than being rinsed off because doing so will only remove around half of it. It is therefore better to leave it alone.

This remedy must be used within a week if it is homemade. If you purchase it, be sure to keep it in a dry, cold environment.

Method #5: Clean Your Cactus Plant Thoroughly With Soap and Water

The easiest option is to just give your cactus plant a thorough washing every day, or at least every other day, with soap and water, especially after working near them while they are dusty.

Before applying fungicide using method number three above, make sure to wipe off any dust since it acts as an insulator to prevent fungi from drying out.

Spray two quarts of lukewarm water with one tablespoon each of liquid soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda to clean all leaves, including the undersides.

Method #6: Use a Fungicide Solution

Fungicides can be used to treat your cactus plant if it develops a fungus infestation.

Fungicides come in a variety of forms, some of which function better than others and serve distinct needs. Be careful to pick the proper one for your situation!

Keep in mind that even if just one or two leaves exhibit symptoms, it is still crucial to spray them down because, if left untreated, this disease will soon spread throughout the entire plant.

What can I do to remove the white mold from my cactus?

We apologize, but Mr. Smarty Plants needs some time to catch up after receiving an overwhelming amount of mail. Soon, we hope to be taking new inquiries once more. I’m grateful.


Before, Mr. Smarty Plants responded to a query regarding cholla cactus cochineal bug management (similar to your prickly pears). What Larry and Brigid Larson wrote is as follows: Cochineal feeding can harm the cactus and occasionally result in the host plant’s death. The Cactus Doctor talks about getting rid of cochineal. Their advice is as follows: 1) A hose with a power nozzle attached to the end. 2) It was advised to clean the affected areas with insecticidal soap or unscented dish soap to treat them if the infestation gets out of hand. Neem oil was also mentioned as a possible natural remedy.

In response to another Mr. Smarty Plants query about cochineal bugs on prickly pear cactus, Nan Hampton provided the following response. (As you can see, this is a common query.) It sounds like cochineal bugs are infesting your cactus (Dactylopius sp.). They are cactus-eating small scale insects. They generate fluffy white wax that covers their body as they consume the cactus and shields them from predators as well as the weather (especially drying out). The fluffy wax also acts as a sail or balloon to carry the bugs to a fresh cactus patch in the breeze. The carminic acid that the bugs create aids in shielding them from predators, particularly ants. Indigenous peoples of southwestern North America, Central America, and subtropical South America have been using this bug’s carminic acid for centuries—possibly millennia—to synthesize a vivid red dye that they utilized to create exquisitely colored fabrics. Cochineal bugs were formerly only found in the New World. The cochineal bug spread around the world when European explorers came to a place and saw the stunning red cloth made by the locals. Although they have also been employed to help reduce cactus populations, the need for cochineal bugs decreased when a synthetic red color was created. But recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in cochineal bug cultivation for red dye because it was discovered that synthetic red dyes can have harmful side effects on health. Today, food coloring and cosmetics both employ the bug-derived dye. Because of this, managing cochineal bugs hasn’t really been a top concern, and as a result, I haven’t been able to discover a lot of information on managing them. If you only have a minor infestation, I advise scraping them off (slowly, to avoid the cactus spines) and throwing them away. They might also come off with a water under pressure wash. To ensure that you don’t harm your cactus, test a tiny area first. Then, collect and get rid of any insects that you wash off the cactus.

The University of Arizona Extension also suggests a similar set of remedies in a publication on cactus diseases.

The usage of insecticides was discussed on multiple websites, and Wikipedia included several natural predators: “The population of the bug on its cacti hosts can be lowered by a variety of natural enemies. Insects appear to be the most significant group of predators. Numerous parasitic wasps as well as predatory insects including ladybugs (Coleoptera), different Diptera (like Syrphidae and Chamaemyiidae), lacewings (Neuroptera), and ants (order Hymenoptera) as well as pyralid moths (order Lepidoptera), which kill cacti, have all been identified.”

Here is more information on the intriguing world of the Dactylopius coccus cochineal scale insect and the carmine dye that was highly sought for fabric dyeing in the 15th century.

Why is the mold growing on my cactus?

There are numerous ways for outdoor cacti to come into touch with fungus spores. Spores can be found in soil, blown in by the wind, or picked up from splashing water. The plants most severely impacted are those with continuously damp stems or pads. Fungal lesions are more likely to form when warm temperatures and rain or high humidity are present.

In the spring, fungus patches on cactus pads are increasingly frequent. Additionally, they are improved by overhead watering especially in places with high humidity. Without sufficient ventilation, greenhouse specimens may be especially vulnerable. Condensation increases the humidity in the air, which helps spores develop.

Another contributing element is soil. Numerous soils contain fungus spores, which can survive for many years before the proper circumstances are met. Even store-bought potting soil could contain fungus spores.

What on earth is this white substance on my cactus?

All of us enjoy the colors found in nature, especially at this time of year, but none are as brilliant as red.”

Red has always been a popular hue in societies because it is associated with risk and bravery, revolution and conflict, violence and sin, desire and passion. (1) When Spanish conquistadors discovered the Aztecs selling an exceptional red dye in the major markets of Mexico in 1519, no red dye was as vivid. They referred to it as cochineal or grana cochinilla.

“When Cortes arrived, he was astounded to see Montezuma and other lords wearing bright, vivid red robes. The fact that the hands and breasts of the native women were painted the same vibrant hue astounded him as well. He discovered bundles of dried cochineal brought to Montezuma in Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), which were swiftly conveyed back to Spain. The dye was so much more vivid than the others and became very popular in Europe. By 1600, silver was the most expensive import from Mexico, followed by cochineal. (2)

The Opuntia engelmanii, or prickly pear cactus, is home to the scale insect known as cochineal. It eats the cactus’ delicious juices as a rasping, sucking insect. To ward off predators, it creates a cottony white covering. The insect is removed from the cactus, dried, and dehydrated before being exported all over the world to be used in a variety of ways. Cosmetics, food coloring, artist’s paint, and textile dyes (such as wool) all use dried cochineal. Today, it is frequently utilized as a red colour in dietary beverages. Cochineal’s most well-known application was to colour the jackets of the British troops “During the Revolutionary War, redcoats.

Live cochineal are displayed to children in the City of San Antonio Natural Areas Education Classes on the cactus, and dried cochineal is used to paint on rocks, paper, and wool fibers. While dried cochineal is still available today, synthetic colors with longer shelf lives have mostly taken its place.

The scientific study of the interactions between people and plants is known as ethnobotany. Cochineal is a fantastic technique to demonstrate to students how plants and insects were used by Native Americans and early settlers in Texas. They discover the history of this insect as well as its link to and relationship with nature. The pupils enjoy reading the ingredients list on their preferred red food product and seeing the name of cochineal extract (labeled as carminic acid) “use Sobe Life Water, a bug juice.

Why is the white fuzz on my cactus growing?

Mealybugs are the pests that produce the white fuzz. You most likely have a bug infestation if you notice white fuzz on your cactus plants.

These bugs cluster and form groups as their population increases on your cacti. This clumping together looks like white fuzz because their bodies are covered with wax that resembles cotton.

Female adult mealybugs deposit eggs and then create an ovisac to protect them. The ovisac, which resembles cotton, and the mealy wax discharge appear to the naked eye as microscopic specks of cotton.

Use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at the plants to make sure the white fuzz is truly made up of mealybug colonies and not other plant pests like aphids. There are more than 250 different species of mealybugs, yet they all have several things in common.

  • Mealybugs’ bodies are shaped ovally.
  • They range in size from 0.05 to 0.2 inches, which is incredibly little.
  • Mealybugs can have the colors pink and grey.

The citrus mealybug is the mealybug species that attacks garden plants most frequently. The long-tailed mealybug, on the other hand, measures around 0.25 inches in length and has a long tail filament.

How should a cactus be cleaned?

To get between those spines and remove cobwebs and dust, use a soft brush. To clean your cacti of dust and cobwebs, use a variety of brushes, such as makeup brushes or artist brushes.

Can I water-spray my cactus?

The watering needs of cacti and succulents varies slightly from those of other plants.

Succulents and cacti don’t need as much water to survive as other types of houseplants because they resemble desert plants.

That does not imply that you should skip watering dried-out succulents. But many individuals question if misting succulent and cactus plants occasionally is appropriate.

Succulents and cacti shouldn’t be misted when being watered because it can weaken the roots and promote fungus. Do not shower succulents and cacti with a spray bottle. Spray misting is not only insufficient in terms of water supply; it also runs the risk of making the plants rot.

While it is not advised to spray these plants, there are a few circumstances in which you should sprinkle cacti and succulents.

How are cacti preserved?

The name “nopales” refers to prickly pear cactus leaves that are edible. Typically, Mexican food include it as an ingredient. Nopales are extremely nutrient-dense and high in fiber.

Buy It

  • Pick cactus leaves with uniformly thick leaves.
  • Look for firm leaves that don’t have any mushy, cracked, wavy, or bruised areas.
  • Choose medium- to dark-green cactus leaves.
  • Avert thin, withered leaves since they are likely to be old.

Cook It

  • Holding the cactus leaves requires using kitchen tongs or gloves. To clean them, set them on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to scrape the spines off.
  • Clean the paddles and trim the edges. Strip the paddles into little pieces.
  • The strips should boil for 15 to 18 minutes in a medium pot with 4 quarts of water. The saucepan tends to bubble and boil over, so keep an eye on it.
  • Drain them after cooking and add them to salads, egg scrambles, stews, and anything else you can think of!

Why It’s Great

  • Fiber keeps us feeling full and promotes good digestion. It has also been demonstrated that eating enough fiber keeps our hearts healthy.
  • Vitamin A maintains healthy eyes, a robust immune system, and healthy cell growth.