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.
How can yellow cactus be fixed?
Overwatering is frequently the cause of cacti turning yellow. Cacti occasionally require watering, but in most situations this should happen less frequently than once per week.
Your plant will begin to turn yellow (and occasionally have some brown spots on its edges) and eventually die if you overwater it.
A standing puddle around the base of the plants or pots should be avoided as well because this might result in overwatering issues like root rot or stem decay.
Try letting the soil dry out between waterings if you suspect that your cactus is becoming yellow as a result of overwatering.
If this doesn’t resolve the issue, check sure there are no standing puddles close to the base of the structure and that it is receiving enough sunlight and airflow.
Not Enough Sun Exposure
Since cacti require a lot of light to develop and thrive, if you keep one in the dark for an extended period of time, its color will begin to change.
Make sure there are no obstructions preventing sunlight from reaching the plant if it is outdoors.
Additionally, observe whether any of your plants need more strong light because they were recently repotted before they start to produce new green growth.
A succulent plant’s color will also depend on where it is located inside, as some artificial lighting can lead them to change color over time.
Place your indoor cactus in a location with lots of natural light.
Too Much Sun Exposure
However, cacti can become fried and become yellow if they are planted in a location where they are exposed to strong sunshine.
Cacti frequently get sunburned and turn yellow if they are left in the sun for an extended period of time.
Relocating your plant so that it isn’t exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day is the best method to avoid this.
Your cactus plant can also be placed in an area with early and afternoon shade, or you can put up a sun-blocking screen.
If you transfer your cactus from a shaded place to a sunny one, yellowing may also occur.
The plant will suffer exposure damage and turn yellow if it isn’t used to getting so much sun.
But it won’t always be this this! Your cactus’s natural defenses will also strengthen as you gradually expose it to more sunshine, which should stop any further damage or yellow discolouration.
Not Enough Water During Hot Weather or Drought Conditions
Too much sun, drought, or even putting the plant in a pot for a few weeks without any watering can all contribute to this.
You’ll need to water more frequently and thoroughly till the soil is moist once more to resolve this issue.
Misting your plant can also prevent it from turning yellow if there isn’t any rain or moisture in the air.
If your cactus has been yellow for a while and they live in a hot area or a drought, you might want to attempt the following:
Make sure it isn’t being sunburned by being in a place with too much light first.
If this is not the cause of the yellowing, make sure to water the plant frequently and wait until the soil is totally dry before watering it again.
A location with some shade or close to an open window where there may be some humidity in the air is another option for moving your plant.
Poor Soil With Low Nutrient Content
Your cactus plant will become yellow if it is being grown in a pot with inadequate soil and little nutrient content.
Cacti require premium, porous soil that can hold plenty of water without becoming top-heavy or prone to tipping over when irrigated.
Because they contain additional elements like iron and calcium, which are crucial for good growth, potting soil mixtures specifically designed for cacti (succulent/cactus soil) are typically highly recommended.
Changes in temperature are among the most frequent reasons why cacti turn yellow.
They can be brought on by moving the object from one place to another or by positioning it next to a heat source, such as a heater or an oven vent.
Your plant may be turning yellow if you haven’t recently relocated it and the temperature in its current location has considerably altered.
Move your plant to its new place gradually over a few days to avoid cactus yellowing from temperature changes.
You can stop a cactus from turning yellow due to abrupt temperature fluctuations by moving it gently.
A cactus may require some time to recover if it becomes yellow as a result of abrupt changes in its environment.
In this situation, you ought to hold off on more fertilization or irrigation until the color has returned. Otherwise, root rot can develop if water was provided too soon after the temperature change while remaining at high temps.
Keep the soil damp but never wet when gradually moving plants between locations with big temperature fluctuations to help prevent cactus root rot.
Too Much or Not Enough Fertilizer
Over- or underfertilizing a cactus is another factor that might cause it to turn yellow. Lack of water will cause the plant to begin to stress out and eventually turn yellow from a lack of nutrients.
The surface leaves may also turn brown and peel off as they degrade if too much fertilizer is sprayed in one day.
Salts in excess fertilizers accumulate on the soil’s surface and prevent moisture from reaching roots.
Although it’s challenging, the best technique to “correct this problem” is to give the plant consistent watering for at least two weeks without giving it any fertilizer.
After some time, you can gradually reapply fertilizer until the plant’s leaves appear better and have sprouted new leaves.
Pests attacking a cactus are among the most frequent causes of its yellowing.
Typically, these are pests that have multiplied and populated the plant, sucking away all the nutrients from its yellow leaves, like mealybugs or spider mites.
Check your plants frequently for any indications of insect infestation to avoid this because even a small amount of pests can quickly grow to be overpowering levels.
Most importantly, make sure to remove any dead matter from surrounding or close to your plant so that it won’t be used as food. Dead organic matter will only encourage bugs to multiply.
Simply spray it on the plant and rub it thoroughly to remove any remaining white residue, just like you would with an insect repellent. Although it smells awful, it produces fantastic effects!
Cephaleuros wilt, a common fungal disease brought on by the fungus Verticillium dahliae, is one such condition that might manifest this characteristic (Vd).
The plant loses its ability to carry water throughout the rest of its body as a result of this illness, which also causes the tissues that conduct water to die. Yellow may also be a result of other signs of diseases like chlorosis.
Due to their low nutrient uptake, cacti and succulents are most frequently afflicted by chlorosis or iron insufficiency.
When this occurs, you could notice that your plant’s general color is a lighter shade of green with light brown flecks.
Though it can occur at any moment during a cactus’ lifespan, it typically does so when the plant receives either too much (overwatering) or not enough (underwatering) water (underwatering).
Repotting them into new soil will help plants acquire new nutrients and a better drainage system. Then, be careful to use a pair of scissors to remove any dead roots, and immediately provide a lot of direct sunlight!
The cactus might not be able to recover if the damage from the frost is causing it to become yellow.
Frost damage has the potential to permanently scar the surface of a plant’s leaves and do irreparable damage to its cells and tissues.
This kind of injury typically happens when it is below freezing overnight or when mild freezes last for several days.
If possible, try relocating your cactus to a location with more direct sunshine or greater humidity levels in this situation.
If the cactus was damaged by frost, keeping it somewhere with temps about 50 degrees Fahrenheit may help it recover over time.
Move your plant back into its usual environment as soon as this region warms up and new growth starts to emerge. Keep doing this until all traces of frost damage are gone.
Exposure to Chemicals
Some chemicals have the ability to turn cacti yellow. These include fluorine, chlorine, and other elements that can be found in fertilizers or water.
It’s possible that a nearby chemical spill or overuse of these goods surrounding your plants is the source of your cactus’ yellowing.
Moving them away from any suspected sources of contamination, such as sprinklers used on nearby lawns, may help if you feel that this is the cause.
Can a yellow cactus revert to greenery?
The soft yellow sections of the cactus do not turn green again if root rot is the cause of the yellowing, and they should be removed to stop the rot from spreading throughout the entire plant.
The cactus does not turn green again if it has been turned yellow by sunburn. Keep the cactus out of direct sunlight and produce a new green cactus from any offshoots, pads, or cuttings that are still healthy.
The cactus should turn green again if it has been yellow and wrinkled as a result of submersion. Make sure the soil is evenly moistened by giving the cactus plenty of water. This aids in replenishing the cacti’s moisture stores and transforming their previously yellow appearance into one that is healthy and green.
Why is the yellow on my cactus there?
There are more possibilities besides rot and overwatering for why the cactus feels soft. It may occasionally be a sign of the plant being severely dehydrated. Because they can store water, cacti and succulents can endure prolonged periods of drought. This does not imply that they do not require any water, either.
Water is a must for cactus plants, especially during the summer when it’s scorching. If they go too long without water, their water reserves start to run out. You can notice them softening at this point.
The plant may also turn yellow if it is very dry or lacks water. The plant will typically also look withered or wrinkled. Give your plant a good soaking when this occurs, and it should recover in a day or two.
The severity of the damage to the plant increases when there is bottom-up yellowing and the plant feels mushy and soft. The plant’s roots are starting to decay. The most frequent causes of this include excessive watering, exposure to extremely high or low temperatures, or any combination of the aforementioned.
Cacti require correctly draining soils, claims SFGate. Heavy soil types, like clay soil, may end up holding on to too much water, which could cause the roots of that plant to rot.
The plant will turn yellow once the roots begin to decay since it won’t be able to transport nutrients from the soil.
Make sure your container isn’t too huge because larger containers tend to cause the soil to remain wet for an excessively lengthy time. Consider adding a little bit of sand to your soil to improve drainage if necessary.
Underwatering or overwatering
Given that it is a desert plant, it could seem acceptable to let the cactus go without water for months on end, but too little water can be harmful to your cactus.
Every plant must be watered regularly. Because water is essential for plant growth, even arid cactus makes every effort to gather and conserve water.
Too much or too little, though, could be harmful to your plant. When the cactus plant receives enough water, it expands.
The plant may start consuming more of its stored water during the summer and spring, when it is in the growing season, and this could make it appear shriveled. The plant may also become yellow, which is typically noticeable starting from the bottom and moving upward.
Despite the fact that cacti can store a lot of water, an excessive amount could be harmful to their health. It becomes yellow because too much water prevents air from reaching the roots.
Fungi and bacteria are also likely to flourish in soil with little to no aeration, which might ultimately harm your plant.
The darkening of leaves is another indication that you’re overwatering your plant. The plant could potentially begin to decay.
How do you know whether you’re providing the right amount of water for your cactus?
The use of fingers
To determine how dry your soil is, stick your finger into it. Make sure the soil in your pot is dry in the top one or two inches. This shows that the plant needs to be watered.
Employ a moisture meter
To determine whether your soil has enough moisture, you can also use an electronic moisture meter. You may purchase the device at your neighborhood plant shop, and it is reasonably priced.
Simply bury the device in the ground is all that is required. The presence of a dry marking indicates that the soil can be watered. If not, don’t water your plant unless it really needs it.
Use a bamboo or wooden stick.
Put a wooden stick inside the saucepan. When the stick is taken out, it should feel dry to the touch. Do not water your plants if it feels damp since you will be overwatering them.
In general, water your plants every two weeks. Make sure your pot has a few holes in it. When watering, make sure that at least some water begins to escape from the holes; this will signal to you when your plant has received enough water.
The desert has a hot, dry climate that gets very cold at night. The cold at night is necessary for several plants to blossom, including the Christmas cactus epiphyllum and jade. Therefore, when it’s cold outside, try not to worry too much.
The soil may dry out too quickly in the summer, depriving your plant of enough moisture. When it’s hot outside, you might need to water your plants more frequently than every two weeks; otherwise, they will turn yellow.
Your home’s temperature is humid due to cooking and breathing. Because you close your windows and doors at night, the temperature stays damp, unlike in the desert where air may circulate freely. This humidity is ultimately absorbed by your soil, which may promote root rot and plant yellowing.
While sucking on the juices of the succulent plant, some pests, such as scale insects, mealy bugs, spider mites, slugs, or snails, attach themselves to cacti. These creatures leave traces behind after they separate from the plants.
The insects tend to attack plants in colonies and spread quickly as well. The plant may appear tattered when this occurs. The most effective way to get rid of these bugs is to use a pesticide, which you can purchase at your neighborhood pest control shop.
Lack of proper nutrients
To flourish, cacti need nutrients. Your plant’s yellowing leaves could be a result of the roots not properly absorbing nutrients. In areas where the roots are rotting, this issue is typical.
Examine your roots for any indications of rotting. You might have to grow new roots if the old ones have started to decay. Replant your roots after removing the decaying components and replacing the dirt in the pot.