Why Is My Indoor Cactus Turning White

Cacti will begin to turn white and appear crispy if they are placed in an area with excessive direct sunlight.

The UV rays from the sun are causing the cactus to get burnt and killing the live cells on its skin.

As a result of all the water draining from its leaves, needles, or spines, it starts to get dehydrated.

I have a cactus, how can I get the white off?

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.

ANSWER:

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 color on my cactus fading?

Some symptoms can indicate major issues that could ultimately cause your plant to die. In case you still have time to save your cactus, make careful to take action as soon as you see any of these symptoms.

Discoloring

Cacti plants typically begin to lose their natural color when under stress or pressure. The discoloration may start at the top end of stem segments or from the plant’s base, depending on where the true problem is.

Death is almost certain if you do not act quickly in cases of severe discolouration.

Your plant become wobbly

If your cactus has started to sway, you should be concerned as this is an obvious indicator of root rot. Remember that since succulents grow slowly, indications of underlying issues manifest gradually as well.

It’s possible that the roots have already become irreparably rotting by the time you notice the symptoms.

The cactus may already be in a serious condition if the base of your plant has turned yellow or brown.

One of the most frequent causes of cactus death is by far root rot. A lack of rigidity and turgidity in the plant’s leaves and stem is a common symptom of root rot.

Take your plant off the ground, find all the rotting roots, and cut them off to try and save it.

Depending on the degree of rot, rotten roots could seem brown or even blackish, whereas healthy roots would be pale in color.

Presence of soft segments around the plant

Most often, stem sections will appear fragile and swollen along with discoloration. These pieces are easily breakable with little effort.

Pulling a spine off is the simplest approach to determine whether there are any soft segments around your plant. You should be concerned if it comes off without any effort and slips off easily.

Fungal infection

Another indication that a cactus plant is dying is a fungus infection. Fungal infections are simple to spot since they cause lacerations in the cactus plant’s tissues. Any area of the exterior tissue, including the areolae, can get lacerated.

There are several various forms and hues of fungi, but there are only two that are widespread.

A fungal infection is indicated by the presence of brown dents on the plant’s exterior tissue that are rounded in most places like half-moons. Another indication of a fungus infection is the formation of white-gray patches.

Despite not being as harmful as root rot, fungus infections on the aerial section of the plant are nevertheless detrimental.

Spraying your plant with a natural fungicide is the best approach to stop future harm caused by such illnesses. To cure such infections, the majority of people prefer using tea tree oil diluted in water.

As an alternative, you could soak the impacted regions in alcohol for until long is necessary. Consider chopping off the afflicted region and sterilizing the wound, but only if the infection was too serious and has already harmed a portion of your plant.

Why is my cactus so mushy and white?

Openings in the flesh allow bacteria and fungi to enter the plant. The exposed sections may have been damaged by inanimate things, insects, or animals, or by severe weather, such hail. Injury’s physical manifestation is unimportant; what matters is fungal or bacterial damage.

Fungi and bacteria both produce more spores more quickly in warm, damp environments. When the organism establishes itself in your plant, the cactus will become mushy and soft. Small sunken places, discolored scabs, spherical soft areas encircled by fruiting bodies, and black or other colored specks on the cacti’s skin are signs to look out for. You might even see your cactus plants oozing a little bit.

Why would a white cactus exist?

The plant might turn white if the cactus has received too much or too little water. Cacti need less water than most other plants, which explains why.

Some cactus types may live with little to no water, however cactus soil should be allowed to dry up between each watering.

  • The cactus will turn white and begin to wilt if it has been overwatered as the moisture leaves its leaves. If this happens, the surface of the cacti container can have a sticky coating.
  • Cactus will have withered stems and spines and turn white if it has not received enough water or any at all.

The cactus may begin to droop, seem yellowed, and even dry out before starting to entirely lose its shade once it turns completely white when exposed to heat.

How To Treat Cactus Overwatering and Underwatering

The best course of action for a cactus that has been overwatered is to let it dry out in a warm, sunny area.

As cacti require protection from the heat, it is imperative to stay out of the direct sun.

It’s best to re-water cactus roots until water runs freely out of drainage holes in the pot while dealing with an underwatered cactus.

Then wait a while before watering the cactus once again (to ensure that the plant receives enough moisture).

Simple solution: Let the cactus dry between waterings, or even better, monitor the soil moisture levels so you can determine when to water the cactus!

How To Prevent Cactus Overwatering and Underwatering

Make sure cacti are planted in pots with drainage holes on all sides of the pot’s bottom to let water to escape from overwatered soil in order to prevent these watering issues.

Additionally, be sure to pick a cactus potting mix that drains well and has excellent root aeration (preventing soggy soil).

Furthermore, avoid watering cactus heavily all at once, and wait until any surplus moisture has dried off before adding more water.

How often should cactus be watered?

The most frequent reason for cacti failure is improper watering, whether it is done too much or too little. Cacti have evolved to store water for extended periods of time and can maintain moisture through droughts because they are endemic to arid regions and dry temperatures. They have a limited capacity, which is why over-watering can result in a variety of issues.

When it comes to regularity, watering your cacti will largely depend on the season but also on the variety. Checking the soil is the easiest technique to determine whether your cactus needs water: It’s time for a drink if the top inch is dry. That entails applying the “soak and dry procedure” on cactus.

What is the soak and dry method?

The soak and dry technique is thoroughly wetting the soil until part of it begins to flow out the drainage hole, then waiting until the mixture is nearly dry before wetting it once more. If done properly, this strategy will help them endure a period of under-watering should you need to travel or leave the house because it takes use of their natural tendency to store water (or if you just get busy and watering falls to the wayside, as happens to all of us now and again).

Watering during the growing season versus the inactive season

Like with many houseplants, the season affects how frequently you need water. It becomes more crucial that you get in the habit of examining the soil to determine whether your cacti are thirsty. A healthy cactus needs watering every one to two weeks during the growing season, according to general wisdom. The frequency changes to once every three to four weeks during the off-season.

Even then, it’s crucial to examine the soil. The same way that not all interior spaces and not all cacti are alike. The only way to be certain that your cactus require watering is to carefully examine the soil to determine how dry it is because there are so many different factors.

What can I do to make my cactus greener?

Yes, but it also depends on how badly the plant was hurt. The cactus has a higher chance of recovering if the damage is not too serious. The first step in treating an overwatered cactus is to stop providing water to the plant. If you have the plant watered, say, once a week as per your timetable, stop and let it dry up and recover.

Why is the color of my cactus changing?

Your cactus probably needs more light if it is growing higher than normal. The proper diagnosis should be made if the new growth is thinned out and pale green in comparison to its foundation. Succulent plants, such as cacti, require an abundance of light (not necessarily direct sun). Another argument is that a plant cultivated outdoors, in the open air, will be more robust and larger.