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.
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.
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.
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
- Two and a half 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.
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.
Rootbound plants are unable to properly absorb water and nutrients from the soil. 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.
Why are the leaves on my Thanksgiving cactus turning purple?
An excess of light may cause a plant that is genetically programmed to flourish in the sun-dappled shadow of a rainforest canopy to produce a defense mechanism against ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Life-threatening strong light causes UV-protective phenolic chemicals called anthocyanins to dominate with their purple colour instead of appearing as chlorophyll-rich green stems.
A Schlumbergera exposed to extreme sunshine would probably burn, which might permanently harm stem tissue. Due to this damage, it is unable to absorb sunlight, endangering photosynthesis, the process through which sunlight is converted into food.
By picking a position with filtered or indirect sunlight, preferably towards north or west, you can avoid this problem.
What causes my cactus to become 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 is a purple Christmas cactus fixed?
Christmas Cactus thrives in climates with daytime highs of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and evening lows of 60 to 65 degrees.
Although experts concur that fertilizer Christmas Cactus shouldn’t be done during bloom season and the weeks preceding it, neglecting to feed it properly the rest of the year can lead to problems like discolored foliage.
From April through October, you may help keep the foliage on your Christmas Cactus from becoming purple by using a standard all-purpose fertilizer twice a month.
Because Christmas Cactus requires more magnesium than the ordinary plant, you should apply a teaspoon of Epsom salts every other week. In October, stop fertilizing completely to encourage blooming during the holiday season.
What causes the purpleing of my prickly pears?
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.
Why is my Christmas cactus wilting and turning purple?
Lack of water or much sunlight can occasionally result in wilted or weak Christmas cacti. Start by giving the wilting Christmas cactus a small amount of water if you haven’t been watering it. Every few days, continue to water carefully until the soil is barely damp.
Christmas cactus issues can also result from excessively damp soil. The Christmas cactus cannot tolerate wet roots since it is an epiphyte in its natural habitat on the ground of tropical forests, where it takes moisture and nutrients from the air. The roots of Christmas cacti can become excessively wet and floppy because to poor drainage.
Move your wilted or limp Christmas cactus to a location with more shade, especially in the afternoon, if the leaves look dried or burned.
My Thanksgiving cactus is turning red; why is that?
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.
What kind of lighting is required for a Thanksgiving cactus?
Temperature & Light: The festive cacti thrive in bright shade. In the fall and winter, full sunshine is advantageous, but in the summer, intense sunlight can cause plants to seem pale and yellow. In the growing season from April to September, temperatures between 70 and 80 F are ideal for spring and summer growth. The Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti need on shorter (8 to 10 hour) days and cooler temperatures in the fall to develop their flower buds. Once the flower buds are set in the fall, do not allow the temperature to reach above 90 F. The loss of flower buds can be a result of persistently warm conditions. In the event that it gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, do not leave these cactus outside.
Temperature control and photoperiod (control of the duration of the day and night) control are key factors in successful flower bud formation in the fall. The plants require the following for the initiation of flower buds:
- dazzling light
- long evenings Before flower buds to set, there must be at least 14 hours per day of nonstop darkness. For a full bud set, long nights should begin around the middle of September and last for at least six weeks. Be aware that even two hours of intermittent lighting can prevent flower buds from setting. In 3 to 4 weeks, buds will often start to appear. Once the buds are set, the photoperiod has little impact on flowering.
- For optimal flower production, fall growth temperatures should be kept between 60 and 68 oF, ideally as close to 68 oF as feasible. Regardless of the length of the day, plants cultivated with night temperatures between 50 and 59 oF will produce flower buds, however growth will be slower and bud drop may happen at this temperature.
- Early in June, prune the stems to encourage branching and additional flower terminals.
- At the end of September, pinching—also known as leveling—is done to cut off any terminal phylloclades that are less than 1 cm (0.4 inch) and to roughly equalize the length of all stems. These young, immature stem segments won’t begin blossom buds until they are fully developed. A flower bud develops on the earlier, more developed stem segment following the removal of a brief phylloclade.
Fertilizer and Watering: Water the growing media until it feels completely dry to the touch. The spring and summer months can be dry and mildly underwatered for the holiday cacti. Avoid letting the soil become soggy, especially during the gloomy winter months, but also avoid letting it fully dry up. To avoid flower bud abscission, the growing medium must be kept consistently moist after bud set in the fall. In the saucer underneath the pot, never let water stand.
Use a half strength soluble fertilizer, such as a 20-10-20 or 20-20-20 with trace elements, to fertilize plants every month beginning when new growth begins in late winter or early spring and continuing through the summer. Compared to many plants, holiday cacti have a greater magnesium need. During the growing season, fertilize once a month with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) blended at 1 teaspoon per gallon of water, but avoid applying the fertilizer the same week. Stop fertilizing in the late summer to increase the formation of bloom buds in the fall.
The Christmas cacti flower best when kept fairly pot-bound, according to the growing medium. Repotting is best done in the spring and is only required about once every three years. These epiphytic cacti do not grow well in heavy, wet potting mixes, thus the potting medium needs to be well-drained and well-aerated. A excellent mixture can have 60–80% potting soil and 40–20% perlite. Pick a potting soil that is pH balanced and of good quality.