Why Is My Cactus Oozing White Stuff

Your cactus plants most likely belong to the genus Mammillaria if they are exuding milky/white sap. The white sap can indicate a problem with your plant, even if it is a natural defense against mechanical harm.

If your cactus is oozing white milk, it is probably because you overwatered it or used water that was of poor quality. The plant may also “sweat” or leak milky sap if it receives too much sunlight.

The following are the causes of cactus white milk oozing:

Plant injury

A cactus plant gushing white sap is typically caused by damage to the stems or pads. For instance, if you remove a couple of the plant’s spines, the area where the spines were linked to the plant will show signs of the white sap. As a defense mechanism, the oozing helps the plant start to repair.

After this milky fluid has been exuded, it undergoes oxidation, becoming a lumpy, chalky paste that “seals the wounds” of tissue damage where the spines were removed.


A cactus that has been overwatered initially displays evidence of good health and contentment, but after a short period of time, it may also begin to exhibit signs of death, such as seeping, root rot, mushy pads, leaking excess water, and stained black or brown branches.

The best approach is to monitor how frequently and how much water you are applying to your cactus if it is seeping milky sap or any other form of liquid. Check the plant’s roots to see if the root rota fungus is present. This fungus commonly affects indoor plants that have been overwatered.

Too much sunlight

Sunlight is good for cacti, but not too much. When a plant receives too much sunlight, it overheats and may begin to ooze water or white milk from its stems and pads. Additionally, sunburn can permanently harm a plant’s leaves.

You may wish to remove the damaged leaves from your plant if it has been overexposed to light and is oozing white milk, and then relocate it to a dimly lit place so that it can recuperate.

Poor water quality

Cactus milk may seep out of the plant’s leaves and stems depending on the type of water you’re using to keep the soil moist.

When there are chemical impurities in the water you’re using to feed the plant, the milk secretion occurs. If you use 2-week watering globes, be sure to fill them with pure water to avoid adding pollutants that could trigger cactus to release latex or white sap.


Your cacti are vulnerable to a variety of circumstances that can result in mechanical tissue damage if they are growing outdoors. For instance, plant tissue may become infiltrated by insect larvae, resulting in the milky bleeding. In addition to bugs, birds and rodents can damage cactus plant tissue mechanically.

Keep in mind that cacti sap pouring can also be brought on by bacterial and fungal illnesses. However, the sap that the body naturally secretes in response to a sickness is typically brown or black in color.

On the other hand, the milky sap-producing cacti species only do so when they have sustained mechanical harm. Pests and cultivation difficulties are typically to blame for this tissue damage.

How do I remove the white substance from my cactus?

White fuzz on cactus can hinder their growth and lessen their visual attractiveness. What then creates the white fuzz on cacti, and how may mealybugs be removed from cactus plants?

Pour rubbing alcohol into a garden spray bottle after combining water and rubbing alcohol in a 1:3 ratio. To get rid of the bugs, spray all the cactus that are covered with white fuzz. You might also add ladybugs to your cactus to eat the mealybugs and get rid of the white fuzz on the plants.

I’ve used the Bazos ladybugs on my plants, and they work incredibly well at organically removing mealybugs and other damaging pests like aphids. You can use them if you don’t want to use pesticides on your indoor plants and outdoor gardens.

Is cactus milk toxic?

The milky secretion of the Euphorbia plant, sometimes known as latex, is extremely poisonous and irritating to the skin and eyes. This study provides an illustration of the range of ocular inflammation brought on by unintentional ingestion of Euphorbia plant latex. Three patients came in with recently developed accidental ocular exposure to milky sap of a Euphorbia species. In all cases, there was a significant burning sensation along with vision blur. Visual acuity decreased to counting fingers from 20/60. Clinical findings ranged from anterior uveitis to secondary increased intraocular pressure, mild to severe corneal edema, epithelial defects, and keratoconjunctivitis. With active supportive treatment, all symptoms and indicators disappeared after 10 to 14 days. When handling euphorbia plants, wear safety goggles. Asking the patient to bring a sample of the plant for identification is usually advisable.

Trees, succulents, and herbaceous plants all belong to the Euphorbiaceae genus.

[1] There are numerous kinds of Euphorbia that can be found growing in the wild or in gardens or homes as cultivated examples. The milky sap or latex is poisonous and can cause severe skin and eye problems. From moderate conjunctivitis to severe kerato-uveitis, ocular toxic response can vary [2]. There are a few case reports of people losing their sight permanently as a result of accidentally putting Euphorbia sap in their eyes. [24] Corneal involvement typically proceeds in a predictable order, with edema getting worse and epithelial sloughing on the second day. [3,5] Some species are thought to be more poisonous than others. [6] The inflammation usually goes away without leaving any aftereffects when it is promptly treated and carefully maintained. Here, we show three instances of ocular toxicity brought on by three distinct Euphorbia species: E. trigona (African milk tree), E. neriifolia (Indian spurge tree), and E. milii (Crown-of-thorns houseplant).

How does the fungus on the cactus look?

Only the enormous variety of fungi can outcompete the great number of cacti species. Cactus pads frequently develop fungus spots, such as the Phyllosticta pad spot. Since treatments are typically the same, it is frequently irrelevant to identify the specific fungus that is causing the spots.

Once their visible harm is noticed, some fungal kinds attack the roots and finally the entire plant, therefore it is too late for the plant. Simple topical fungal spots are much easier to treat and, as long as the offending fungus is controlled, usually do not pose a threat to the cactus’ existence.

Cacti lesions can appear in a variety of ways. They could be square, oblong, angular, elevated, flat, or any other shape. Many are discolored, but once more, the hues might be anywhere from yellow to brown to completely black. Some are snarky, some are tearful. These may exude rust-colored, brown, or black fluid as a sign of a serious illness.

Opuntia and Agave cacti are the most frequently affected by fungal infections. Water spots or light discolorations on the plant’s epidermis are frequently the first signs of fungal diseases on cacti. As the fungus develop and spread over time, the symptoms may become more severe and may even eat into the cambium as a result of the surface skin breaches that allow the infection to enter.

How can you tell if your cactus is in trouble?

When a cactus looks shriveled and husk-like, it is dead. Additionally, dead cacti can become unstable in their soil and topple over. They could start to smell rancid and becoming mushy, both of which are indicators that they are rotting. Cacti that are dead lose their spines and frequently appear brown.

What causes my cactus to milk?

A white fluid that flows from various plant sections is produced by cacti. When a plant is hurt or broken, a white sap known as milk escapes. What exactly is cactus milk, and is it harmful to both people and animals?

When some kinds of cactus are hurt, a white secretion known as “cactus milk” is released. The milky material, also known as latex, aids in the plant’s recovery from physical injury. The plant may also leak sap in response to excessive watering, although the sap may also be a deadly defense mechanism.

However, how lethal is this cactus milk? Let’s learn more about the white sap that some cactus plant species emit.

What substance is present inside a cactus?

According to new research, the sticky slime found inside prickly pear cacti can be used to remove arsenic, germs, and cloudiness from rural drinking water.

According to research at the University of South Florida in Tampa, the sticky slime found within prickly pear cacti that helps the plants store water in the desert can also be used to remove arsenic, germs, and cloudiness from rural drinking water.

The cactus’ special qualities were initially made known to biochemical engineer Norma Alcantar by her grandmother, a native of north central Mexico. There, turbid water obtained from the river was cleaned before being used for cooking or drinking using the leftover water after boiling the flat, oval-shaped prickly pear lobes for salads and other foods.

Mucilage separates off the fruit when it is boiled, according to Alcantar.

Mucilage is the cactus’ internal clear, sticky, viscous liquid that serves to encapsulate water inside the plant so it may live in the dry conditions of the desert.

Alcantar started looking at how the mucilage cleared up murky water. She discovered that the mucilage attaches to the dirt, causing the particles to congeal and grow into sufficiently sizable clumps to settle out of the water.

She then focused on additional water pollutants. The mucilage can also combine with arsenic, a water contaminant that can occur naturally or as a result of industrial or agricultural pollution, according to the group’s most recent studies.

By passing the water through a sand filter, the complex of arsenic and mucin can be eliminated.

According to Alcantar, “sometimes we obtain 80 percent removal, and other times we get less than 50 percent removal.” We do not yet fully understand it, and we are unsure of the precise conditions that will allow the mucilage to remove the greatest amount of arsenic.

The level of arsenic in the water source will determine what percentage removal is necessary.

The mucilage can destroy germs in the water, according to other current study by Alcantar’s team, eliminating yet another possible issue with water quality. The mucilage either clings to the bacteria and forces them to settle out of the water or it engulfs the bacteria and starves them.

Sugars and carbs make up mucin. The group is looking into the precise relationships these elements have with bacteria, arsenic, and suspended particles. According to the research so far, the amount of charges on the particle changes when arsenic binds to the sugars, which alters the particle’s ability to remain dissolved. The other pollutants appear to be subject to comparable mechanisms.

According to Alcantar, a single prickly pear lobe would last a family of five for around five weeks. Alcantar’s team is still refining and designing the optimum system, but she envisions each family filtering their water through a device that is periodically refilled with new mucilage from prickly pears that are produced in their own backyards or in the neighborhood.

In Temamatla, Mexico, where she is working with families to develop and provide filters, one benefit of the method is that prickly pear is recognizable to local communities, which her work says will assist smooth its adoption by locals.

According to our poll, 97 percent of the community wanted a filter, especially if it was based on something they were familiar with.

According to Angela Lindner of the University of Florida in Gainesville, “there are a number of characteristics to this endeavor that I think are unique.” “She is familiar with these neighborhoods and is aware of the socioeconomic issues at play. She is keeping in mind that the individual who will be using these filters will also be the one consuming the water. In engineering design, that is incredibly uncommon.”

What plant produces white ooze?

According to the University of California Sonoma County Master Gardener Program, the genus Euphorbia has more than 2,000 different species of plants, including cacti, succulents, and perennials. However, when stems or leaves are torn, injured, or snapped, all plants in this genus release a milky white sap. According to Fine Gardening, this sap can irritate the skin and eyes and is hazardous if consumed. Garden pests like gophers and deer are kept at bay by the milky white sap.

A familiar appearance throughout the holiday season is the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), a beloved member of the Euphorbia genus. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, poinsettias thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 to 11 and are planted indoors if they are not hardy. They produce beautiful yellow, white, pink, or red flowers.

Deer-tolerant perennial Griffin’s Splurge (Euphorbia griffithii) grows in zones 4 to 9. This kind of Euphorbia grows well in partial shade and has reddish-hued flowers and deep-green foliage.