Cactus is a spiny succulent plant without foliage, having chubby stems and dazzling blooms. One fine day, you notice that your cactus is turning pink. At times, you may also notice your cactus turning red or purple as well. What can be the reason for your cactus plant turning pink?
Why is my Cactus turning Pink?
There are several reasons that you would find your cactus turning pink. analysing the reasons can be helpful in letting you find the exact solutions and fixes to help you take an absolute care of your cactus.
Check out the following video to find what makes cactus turn pink or red.
Pest and Diseases
A pink cactus can be a sign of pest infestation or disease.
One of the reasons for discoloration is cactus cyst that occurs due to Cactodera cacti found in infected soil. On checking the soil, you can notice small, spherical nodules. Wilting and stunted growth are some other signs.
Fungal root and stem rot
These infections occur due to fungi like Dreschlera and turn your cactus pink. Check your cactus for mushy parts, rotten smell and sick appearance.
These pests draw sap from soft parts of the cactus. Look for small mite webs, especially on the lower side of the foliage. You may find brown spots with a yellow aureola.
Cacti sometimes turn pink as they don’t get sufficient water. Mostly, a cactus that turns pink is not dangerous for the life of the plant. Water it regularly so that the cactus restores its normal state. Some species of cactus turn pink on being exposed to sunlight.
Why Is My Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Pink?
If your Christmas cactus leaves turning pink, it can be an indication of a lot of sunlight or even overwatering. Check if your Christmas cactus is close to any window that is receiving heavy sunlight. The window grill may also be one of the reasons that amplifies the sunlight.
Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) leaves can turn pink due to root rot which results from overwatering or poor drainage.
- One way to find out is to examine the roots. The roots are healthy if they are fresh and white. If the tips of the roots are brown or black, they have started rotting. Mushy or slimy roots means they have rotted and the plant cannot be saved.
- Remove any damaged roots and wash the roots with fresh, cold water, then keep the plant unpotted overnight. Trim any mushy or damaged foliage as well.
- If the plant is outgrowing its pot, shift the plant to a pot one size larger. If the pot is proper sized, wash and disinfect it with a 10 percent bleach solution, rinse and then dry well. Repot the plant in a fresh potting mix and avoid watering it for about one week.
- When you start watering, water thoroughly till water drains through the holes at the bottom of the pot, the top inch of soil should be completely dry before next watering. Water accumulated in the saucer can be thrown away so it is not absorbed back into soil through the drainage hole.
- Christmas cactuses turn pink or red when they don’t get sufficient water. If kept indoors, these plants need less water in winters, but in growing season, water frequently.
- If the roots are healthy, then possibly, your plant is turning pink due to inappropriate sun exposure. Christmas cactuses need bright sunlight in winters and partial shade in the active growing season. Make sure that you place it properly.
- Magnesium deficiency can also turn your cactus plant pink, which quite often occurs in winters. This can be cured by spraying the whole plant, including the lower sides of leaves, with one teaspoon of Epsom salts dissolved in a gallon of room-temperature water. This can be done once a month till the colour of the plant becomes normal.
- Finally, use a balanced houseplant fertiliser, as per directions written on the package on a monthly basis from spring through fall — but do not use it in the same week when Epsom salts are applied.
Why Is My Cactus Mushy?
If you notice your cactus turning mushy, it can be a clear sign of over watering. Cacti do not work well with too much water. The mushy appearance of the cactus can be a telltale sign hat the roots of your cactus might have already rotted.
When a cactus starts turning brown and mushy at the top, it is suffering from tip rot also called cactus stem rot.This means that your cactus is rotting. Cactus stem rot spreads quickly if proper steps are not taken to stop it from spreading.
If a cactus has started rotting top-down, it spreads continuously down the entire stem, thus killing the plant. So, as you discover cactus tip rot, take quick action to save the plant.
Reasons For Cactus Rotting Top Down
If you notice the cactus rotting top down, it can be due to infection from fungus, or any disease. It can also be due to the water getting into a wound on the plant. It may be possible that the cactus might have damaged in some way. This makes it vulnerable and get infected with the fungal spores or even any disease.
Some reasons for a cactus to rot from the top down are either fungus, disease or water entering into an open wound on the plant.
If a cactus is damaged, it is susceptible to being infected with disease or fungus spores. Sometimes, water also settles into the wound, making the plant rot from the inside out.
The damage can be caused by anything like bugs or animals feeding on the plant. If someone brushes up against it, the plant may have tipped over, or something fell on it will also damage the plant. At times, it might be difficult to find the exact reason behind it.
You may also check out the video here to know more –
How To Save A Rotting Cactus?
If you find your cactus rotting, one of the best options to take care is to let it dry in a cool and dry place away from the direct sunlight. If your cactus is too large, you can let it dry for a few weeks.
The steps to save a rotting cactus are the same no matter how it started, but these will depend on where it is rotting
A rotting cactus can be saved by pruning off all the rot. If it is not removed entirely, it will keep spreading, thereby killing your cactus.
As cactus rot spreads quickly, you have to take action faster.
So at first, let’s learn the steps for how to save a cactus that is rotting top down.
How To Save A Cactus Rotting Top Down
Cactus tip rot can be very tricky. When you find small brown spots on a cactus, you may take it as a small bit of rot.
Then while removing these spots, you may come to know that it is even worse inside than it appeared on the outside.
Follow these steps to remove cactus stem rot –
Step 1: Selecting the pruning tool
Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to remove the rot. For a thick cactus, use a sharp knife.
For small cactus plants having thin stems, precision pruners or bonsai shears are recommended. Make sure that they are sharp enough to not crush the cactus stem.
Step 2: Cleaning your cutting tool –
It is important to clean your cutting tools and sterilize them before you start to cut.
A clean pruning tool will prevent the spread of disease and fungus spores. Simply wash your pruning shears or knife with soap and water, and dry it before use.
It is advisable to wash and dry your tool before each cut. Dip it in rubbing alcohol to sterilise it.
Step 3: Removing cactus stem rot in layers –
Prune off the rot in layers so that all of it is removed.
If you find that the centre of the healthy-looking portion of your cactus plant still has rot on the inside, then keep removing layers till all the rot is removed. Even a little bit of rot left can spread again. Remove all the brown, soft and mushy cactus till there are no more traces of rot left.
For an outdoor cactus plant, make the last cut at an angle such that water does not settle on the wound or it will rot again.
Also, move the plant to a dry area to protect it from rain until the wound has callused over.
Cactus Care Tips After Pruning
After pruning, keep an eye on your cactus plant to make sure it doesn’t rot further. If it starts rotting again, follow the same procedure to remove the rot.
After some days, the wound will callus over and your cactus will develop new growth near the cut.
How To Save A Cactus Rotting Bottom Up
- If your cactus is rotting bottom up, or the cactus roots are rotted, then there is no way to save it.
- In such a case, cut off the healthy stem pieces to propagate the cuttings.
- Prune your cactus back in layers as in the steps above to get rid of all the rot. Allow the cuttings to dry for some days till the cut end has callused over.
- Then dip the stem in rooting hormone and put it into a sandy cactus soil mix.
- Don’t water the soil till you notice new growth on the cutting.
- Cactus cuttings will root in some weeks depending upon the variety.
The Parting Thoughts
Cactus turns pink due to an exposure to the extreme conditions to the changes in the environment. It can be due to conditions such as underwatering, excessive sun exposure, and consistently cold temperatures. It may be noticed that some cactus owners tend to put their plants under extreme stress intentionally to make them appear pink.
A cactus turning pink is not an issue in itself in most of the scenarios except when it is due to root rot or wounds in the cactus stem or any other parts of the plant. Taking precautions to avoid the stress can help you avoid the possibility of turning your cactus pink.
A few FAQs
Is there a naturally red cactus?
There are no pink or red cactus as such. They come with the pigment betalain which turns it red or pink. But the pink condition is visible only when the plant is exposed to extreme conditions such as over watering, extreme sun, or extreme cold.
Does a cactus need direct sunlight?
Cacti normally thrive in good lighting conditions. However, the direct, bright sunlight can be a concern and that can turn the cactus pink or red or even purple.