Why Are The Tips Of My Cactus Turning Purple

Cool, dry weather is what gives cacti their purple hue. The plant’s response to environmental stress is to turn purple. When under duress, some types of succulents, agave, and aloe also turn scarlet, burgundy, or purple.

How can a purple cactus be fixed?

When the majority of the leaves on your cactus are visibly purple, there is cause for concern due to the color change.

Additionally, wilting, stunted growth, or wet foliage are warning indicators of a problem. To ascertain whether your plant is in any immediate danger, it’s critical to identify the reason for the color change.

When cacti are under duress, their colors shift. Betalain, a purple pigment found in cacti, is one that they create more of when stressed.

Too Much Sunlight

Cacti have adapted to thrive in direct sunshine, but the one you have at home may be struggling.

Cacti found in stores have often been produced in greenhouses with shade. They are therefore not accustomed to such intense sunshine.

Bright light is necessary for cacti, but indirect, diffused light is preferable. An abrupt exposure to harsh light can scorch a cactus’s skin, turning it purplish-red in hue.

Your cactus is probably sunburned if it is fresh or if you recently moved it to a sunnier location.

How to Treat Sun Scorched Cactus

Fortunately, treating a sunburn is not too difficult. Your cactus should be moved to a location that receives less direct sunlight.

Cacti still require a ton of sunlight, so don’t move it to your basement just yet!

Direct sunlight is light that shines directly on a plant, such as via a south-facing window.

The indirect sunlight from the other windows in your home will be more evenly distributed and kinder to the plant.

To avoid sun burning, move your plant to a window facing any other way.

Make a DIY sun filter if all of your windows are on the south side. To provide your cactus with some much-needed shade, simply place a paper towel over it.

Temperature Issues

Purple leaves may indicate stress brought on by high temperatures. When cacti’s roots get too hot, they sometimes turn reddish-purple.

Additionally, cacti can become purple under extreme cold. The plant can no longer contain fluids if it has frost damage because its cells burst.

How to Fix Temperature Stress

Since the ideal temperature is somewhere in the middle, it’s crucial to keep your plant away from environments with significant temperature fluctuations.

Keep your cactus away from drafty areas like open doors and windows to avoid it from getting too cold. Avoid areas with excessive heat and dryness as well, such as around fireplaces and heating vents.

Keep your cactus in a cold planter because its roots are particularly susceptible to overheating. Avoid using black plastic planters and get ones made of clay instead.

Root Rot

Purple leaves may also indicate root rot, which is brought on by over watering and inadequate drainage.

Your plant’s roots will dry out and become unable to absorb any more water or nutrients like magnesium if the soil is left wet for an extended period of time. Your cactus might consequently turn purple.

How to Fix Root Rot

With sterile scissors, begin cutting off the injured roots and leaves while removing as much of the moist dirt as you can.

Place the plant in a clean pot filled with new potting soil. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings and wait a few days before watering the cactus after transplanting it.

Overwatering is frequently the cause of root rot. I have a piece on how to keep your overwatered cactus alive. You will also learn the proper way to hydrate them.

Nutritional Issues

Your cactus may be turning purple because it lacks the nutrients it needs to survive, which is one potential explanation. Your plant may be suffering from a magnesium deficit if it is withering and turning purple.

Magnesium deficits are more likely to occur in Christmas cacti. Nevertheless, all varieties of cacti are vulnerable.

How to Treat Nutritional Issues

Fertilizer is the remedy for a magnesium deficit in your cactus. You can apply an Epsom salt treatment yourself or purchase a fertilizer that has been supplemented with magnesium.

In a spray bottle, combine the following items to create a magnesium treatment:

  • Epsom salts, eight tablespoons
  • A total of 2.5 gallons of water
  • A couple of drops of dishwashing liquid

Spray the cactus’s leaves with water using a spray bottle, being sure to reach the undersides as well. Use the spray mixture consistently every two weeks until the color of your cactus returns to normal.

Crowded Roots

Another possible explanation for your cactus’ color change is congested roots. A plant’s roots may get excessively crowded, or “rootbound,” if they are planted in a container that is too tiny.

Plants that are root-bound are unable to adequately absorb soil nutrients and water. The leaves may turn purple as a stress response in response to nutrient insufficiency.

How to Fix Overcrowded Roots

Your cactus’s root system may enlarge over time and may eventually become too large to fit inside the pot it was originally in.

It’s time to repot your cactus to a larger container if you see that some of the roots are attempting to escape through the drainage hole. Normally, every 3 to 4 years, think about repotting your cactus.

Your cactus needs to be relocated to a larger location if its roots have grown crowded. Cacti should often be repotted once the roots are visible through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

This normally takes two to three years for cactus kinds with a quicker growth rate. Repotting slower-growing cactus should only be done every three to four years.

Researching the perfect settings for your cactus is vital because not all cactus species have the same requirements.

For instance, some cacti, including Christmas cacti, thrive when their roots are packed.

So, until it has lived in the same pot for at least a few years, a Christmas cactus shouldn’t be repotted.

The steps to repot your cactus are as follows:

  • Make sure you are using thick gloves to protect your skin from the plant’s sharp spines before repotting your cactus.
  • Look for pests and disease symptoms in the plant and the soil.
  • Choose a new container that is one size bigger than the old one.
  • To aid with drainage, add gravel to the bottom of the pot and sprinkle a thin coating of it on the soil’s surface.

What is causing my Christmas cactus’ tips to turn purple?

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.

Why are my cactus’ tips becoming red?

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 color changing on my 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.

What is causing my plant to go purple?

The most likely cause of a plant’s purple leaves rather than its usual green color is a phosphorus deficit, as you may have noticed. Phosphorus (P) is a mineral that all plants require to produce energy, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids.

Compared to older plants, young plants are more likely to show symptoms of phosphorus deficiency. Some plants may become deficient in phosphorus if the soil is chilly early in the growing season.

Too little phosphorus may cause the underside of marigold and tomato plant leaves to turn purple, while other plants will become stunted or will take on a dull, dark green hue.

Why is my succulent becoming a deep purple color?

There could be a few causes for your succulent plant to start turning purple. The reasons why your succulent may be turning purple or red, turning purple and dying, what it signifies when succulents turn purple, and what to do in this case are all listed in this page.

Purple or other color changes in succulents can occur naturally or as a result of stress. Stress can cause your succulents to turn purple or red, and the causes can include abrupt temperature changes, excessive heat or light, as well as a lack of food and water.

Anthocyanin and carotenoids, two pigments, are what give succulents their purple or red color. During periods of intense sunlight, this pigment primarily prevents succulents from overphotosynthesizing and burning.

To reveal their full potential colors, some succulent growers purposefully expose their plants to more sun. Blushing or red/purple colouring disappears after sunshine exposure is reduced once more.

Why is the purple on my prickly pear cactus?

Even today, when the fruit, or tunas, are turning red-purple and falling off, prickly pear cactuses in Southern California are so abundant that they blend into the background.

The ornamental appeal of the Santa Rita variety (Opuntia violaceae var. santa rita) is more important than the fruit. The palm-sized paddles turn a vibrant red-purple under duress from cold or drought, offering a bright dash of color to the monotones of a dry garden.

If you want the color, this accent plant requires almost no maintenance. When a plethora of blooms appear in the spring, it’s like icing on the cake.

“According to Roy Dowell, they first produce a peach blossom, which then turns marble yellow. In a three-quarter-acre garden in the Verdugo Hills, he and his partner, the artist Lari Pittman, have planted Santa Rita trees. “They receive tunas, but unlike the other opuntias, they are very little. Surprisingly, the deer don’t worry them.

The reason, according to Molly Thongthiraj of the California Cactus Center, is the tiny clusters of sharp spines that can shoot off the paddle with the slightest movement.

“Deer will test the young ones, but she claimed that after that, they will grow back even more spiky. ” Small but painful and challenging to remove, the spines are small. They just fly all over you, landing on your lungs and clothes. We don’t move them around much as a result.

She advises putting on leather gloves and loose-fitting clothing. You’ll probably need to discard the spines because they are so small and fly about the air so easily. Her suggestion was to cover up completely by donning an old painter’s jumpsuit. Applying an adhesive, such as duct tape or Elmer’s glue, to the affected area will help eliminate skin spines.

Thongthiraj instructed people to disregard them once the Santa Ritas were put in place. Just during the hottest summer days should you think about watering, and even then, only once a week. These cactuses will remain green if provided with water (or shade). Thongthiraj places plants next to a wall or another source of radiant heat to intensify the hue.

Prickly pears from Santa Rita can tolerate poor soils, including clay, but they struggle in a commercial cactus mix. Most combinations contain peat moss that is overly acidic. Allow the paddle to harden off for two weeks before planting it if it was recently cut. To help the roots develop, add mycorrhizal fungi, and water lightly for the first month. then take no action.

They turn more purple as they receive less water. When compared to other opuntias, they grow slowly, rarely rising above 6 feet. Worldwide Exotics and the California Cactus Center are two sources.

Every Tuesday, The Global Garden, our series that examines Los Angeles’ cultures through the prism of the landscape, is posted here.