What Cause Yellowing Cactus and How to Fix It?

Some people think that cactus is one of the easier plants to keep alive because they are so small and they take up very little space in your house. But these plants can actually be tricky and temperamental if you didn’t take good care of them.

Cactus can survive well in the desert, which shows that its vitality is very tenacious. Many novice flower growers will choose such a strong self-survivability plant to plant in their houses.

However, the growth environment of domesticated cactus is still very different from that of nature, which causes some problems in the cultivation process of cactus especially when they get yellowing. Today we will take a look at the reasons and solutions for the yellowing cactus.

What Does it Mean When Cactus Turns Yellow?

If you are planting cactus in your house and you see one of them is starting to turn into a yellowish or brownish color, this may be some improper caring been happened to the plants. The yellow color may sometimes happen at the base or bottom of the plant, on the top, or in the middle. If you spotted any yellow part on your cactus, it means something is going wrong and you need to take action right away to solve the problem and save your plant.

yellowing cactus at bottom

What Causes Yellowing on Cactus?

There are many factors that can cause cactus turning yellow and mushy. Those factors include overwatering, underwater, sunlight, soil, fertilizer, ventilation, humidity, and pest. I am going to talk about them later.

How to Save a Yellowing Cactus?

Here I wished to share with you guys some of the symptoms you might see with your cactus and what those symptoms mean. I don’t want to go into any specific types of succulents but instead, I would go into more general cactus plants.

Since cactus are very temperamental and sometime they may turn into yellowish if you didn’t take good care of them. If you catch them early, they will recover to its previous shape very quickly. so that’s why I’m not too worried about some of my cactus plants.

1. Rotting Yellow or Dewy Leaves

This one is probably one of the most common symptoms and that is because it is overwatering. Cactus does not need a lot of water. The way they live is you water them thoroughly and then you may just leave them alone until they are completely dried out.

If you struggle with over-watering your cactus, I would suggest putting them in pots with holes in the bottom for drainage because if you don’t do that and you are putting too much water in your plant, the water will just sit in the bottom of the pot and that affects the top of the plant where it will start going yellowish. Something it may get rot and fall off.

If your cactus is sitting in a pot without a hole at the bottom, you can try to put in some rocks at the bottom of your pot. You shouldn’t just put a few large rocks but you should put in a variety of sizes.

Depending on the size of your pot, you can put in an inch of rocks in the bottom so that the roots will stay above those rocks. By doing so, any extra water will sit in the bottom of the pot and this will not kill your plant.

2. Yellow Shriveled Leaves

The shriveled leaves are happening due to under watering o your plant. This is a pretty easy one to fix if you catch it early enough.

Leave just look dry and just shriveled up. They might discolor a little bit and that’s a sign of under-watering.  Some cactus that do not have a very solid root base may get underwater because it’s root can’t reach to a lot of the water.

3. Yellow Fungus

The yellow fungus is from too much humidity in the room where your plant is living. I had this jade plant in my bathroom which is a very humid environment and I’m not really aware of this in the first place since I thought they are tropical plants and tropical plants should like humidity and they should be able to live well in the bathroom. But I was wrong.

There are tropical plants like pothos, rubber plants, or ferns that like the humidity environment.

But is not for a jade plant. I have few jade plants in the bathroom and they got that white fungus because they do not like humidity.

yellowing cactus

How To Fix Yellow Cactus?

A healthy cactus will have minimal dry dying leaves in the base. It often will happen to a cactus due to it doesn’t get a lot of suns. However, if you notice a certain part of your cactus start to turn to yellow, then that will be some problems that happen to your plant. You need to figure out what’s causing the issue and fix the issue immediately.

Here are some of the issues and things that you can do to fix them.

1. Overwatering

If the soil in the pot has been in a state of excessive humidity for a long time, in which the cactus is extremely hypoxic or lack of oxygen. This may hinder the plant from the absorption of nutrients and water, the plant will gradually getting rots and the leaves will start to turn yellow and fall off.

At this time, you should stop watering and fertilizers the plant, so that it can keep the aeration of the soil.

2. Drought and dehydration

Contrary to overwatering, this is caused by the fact that the plant is underwatering, or you may only watering the top of the plant but the soil is not getting enough water.

This will affects the absorption of water in the cactus, resulting in dark yellow leaves without luster, and gradually withering and falling off from bottom to top.

At this time, you should be watering the soil and make sure the soil is soaking enough water. Then just leave the plant to let it recover gradually.

3. Underfertilization

If the soil has not been changed for a long time, they may have a lack of fertilization. You may take out the plant to repot to another pot or change the soil with fertilizer and put back the plant into the same pot that is having new fertilizing soil.

4. Overfertilization

Due to the excessive fertilization, the old leaves may gradually fall off. At this time, stop fertilization and increase the water in an appropriate volume, immediately invert the pot, and rinse the soil lumps with water.

5. High temperature and heat

If the place that you plant your cactus is having a high temperature for long hours, then you will need to transfer the cactus to a cool and ventilated place in time. Otherwise, if the plant exposes to excessive heat, the leaves may get yellow after some time.

6. Too much shade

If you cactus plants are placed at some cool places for a long time, this may cause insufficient sunlight absorption for the plants. You will need to move them to some ventilated sunny places in time to warm them up.

7. Alkaline soil

In the northern areas where the water and soil are alkaline where the pH > 8.5. This type of soil generally lacks soluble iron. So the leaves will gradually wither and turn to yellow.

To resolve the issue, you can pour some alum fertilizer and water to lower the pH of the soil.

8. High density of the plant

If the leaves and branches of your cactus are growing too crowded, they may get a very small room to grow and some leaves may turn into yellow due to insufficient nutrients.

To resolve this, you will need to prune your plant to get rid of excessive branches and leaves. Because of the luxuriant branches and leaves, it can also easy to cause the leaves to fall off. Besides, you need to pay attention to the ventilation and lighting environment.

9. The air is dry

Drying air also can cause falling leaves and yellowing cactus. If the air is too dry, you can try to spray water to increase the air humidity.

10. Unstable room temperature

Due to the changes of four seasons, the room temperature will change accordingly. To avoid your cactus from getting sick, you need to pay attention to the temperature and you need to timely adjust the appropriate room temperature if necessary.

11. Acidic soil

The loss of chemical elements in the soil causes the soil to become acidic. If you plant your cactus into the soil, your plant my grow yellowish. To rectify the issue, you need to apply alkaline solutions such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus into the soil to lower the acid level

12. Pests and diseases

Due to the pathogenic bacteria, it is easy to cause leaf spot disease, the branches and leaves will wither if you didn’t’ taking care of them.  Timely spraying is required for the prevention and treatment of your cactus.

However, you need to avoid using strong pesticides or herbicides. If the spraying concentration of pesticides is too strong, it will cause the pollution of toxic gases and cause the yellowing cactus.

Pesticides should be used rationally to prevent air pollution as well. You need to make correct judgments and come out with the right solution.

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