Why is My Cactus Turning Yellow? (8 reasons why)

It is a visible cue that your cactus plant needs assistance if the leaves or stem turn yellow. Lack of water can occasionally cause succulents to turn yellow or brown. To learn how to solve it, continue reading.

Main Reasons for Cactus Turning Yellow

1. Lack of water

Try giving your cactus plant a really good soak first if it seems yellow (and shriveled) throughout the summer. Make sure the root ball is moistened, then let the extra water drain away. Does this assist? After a day, check it again to see if the plant appears a little happier.

2. The quality of your water

Your cactus might not like the fluoride and other toxins in tap water that it contains. Your soil can eventually start to contain white salts.

3. Check for white, powdery leftover salts on the topsoil

If they are there, try giving the plant a nice soak before draining it.

4. Another trick is to use distilled water, i.e. leftover boiled from a kettle

This typically has an impact. If all else fails, frequently replace the soil.

Another factor that can cause your cactus plant to seem less than its best is overwatering mixed with poor drainage. Actually, this is the main cause of issues with cactus plants.

Make sure the soil is completely dry before watering. Then give them a thorough watering, similar to what a desert plant would receive during a storm.

Verify that nothing, such a stone, is blocking the drainage openings. Sandier soil, which allows water to drain away rapidly, is ideal for these plants.

5. Location – is your cactus plant getting enough sunlight?

A lot of sunlight coming through glass can scorch the leaves of household cacti. But keep in mind that these plants are native to the desert and are accustomed to long, hot days in the sun. Thus, a sunny position is ideal—but not one that is too hot to prevent leaf burn.

6. Temperature

Cacti are perennial succulent plants that like the light but are also utilized to reduce nighttime temperatures. Yellow leaves can result from too much sun. Keep them away from drafts because if they are placed in chilly conditions, their leaves will turn black and the plant will die.

7. Soil and nutrients

Your cactus plant may complain by turning its leaves yellow if it is in a pot that is too small. Repotting and changing the soil might help! However, adding too much rich soil should be done with caution. Low nitrogen soil is ideal for cactus plants; read FAQs for more information.

8. Pests

Aphids, mealy bugs, and even red spider mites attack some domestic cactus. Periodically, gently wipe the leaves off with a moist towel and mild dish soap. It ought to get rid of them. Red spider mites detest moist environments, therefore this will deter them from returning as well!

Why is my cactus turning yellow and mushy?

Why is my cactus turning brown at the base & at the top?

You may occasionally notice that a portion of your cactus is becoming yellow-brown. This may occur at the plant’s base, its peak, or occasionally even the stem. There are a few potential reasons why cactus plants could become brown, therefore it’s crucial that you respond quickly!

The brown portion’s position is crucial first.

If it is on the stem:

Cut off and kill the plant’s rotting, brown section. After every cut, clean the knives or secateurs. By doing this, the illness won’t spread to the plant’s healthy portions.

Next, look at the stem piece you just cut. Is the stem’s interior also brown? If the stem is brown, the rot may be spreading inside the plant as well.

It’s crucial to prune the plant completely back to the point where fresh, healthy growth is visible. It may be difficult to prune, especially if you adore the plant, but it is absolutely necessary to remove any browning flesh from the plant. The fungus illness or root rot may be to blame for this.

Make sure not to overwater your cactus after the clipping. Root rot is typically brought on by this. So, just add water until the pot feels dry. Give it a thorough soaking after which you should remove it after 30 minutes, letting the excess drop onto a saucer.

If the plant’s tip is where the brown area is, prune as described above to check the extent of the rot. After every cut, remember to clean the blades or secateurs!

Clean the knife and move away if the area beneath the wound appears to be green. It might be challenging to stop a cactus from rotting if it starts at the tip of the stem. In case there are any more attacks, keep a close check on your cacti.

If the root is brown, you have a lot of work to do!

A root’s browning or mushiness is a sign of root rot. Your plant could perish if you do not adequately dry it out. Carefully remove it from the pot and look at the roots. Make an effort to remove any truly gloomy regions. Cut these back and throw them away.

In order for the roots to seem dry, place the plant on newspaper or cardboard and allow it to dry out. Healthy roots have a creamy white color and no odor.

Now choose a sandy soil that drains well and doesn’t overfeed a cactus with nitrogen. Odd leaf growth may result from this. Repot in dry, sand-based soil and use significantly less water than before.

Make sure the plant receives adequate sunlight without burning its leaves.

Since root rot frequently results in plant death, keep a close eye on this plant. After the pruning, if any green growth appears, you can exhale in relief and start taking good care of your cactus.

Different types of cactus: Typical problems and how to fix them

There are almost 2000 different types of cactus that may be found growing all over the world, from Asia to Africa, Europe, and North and South America (from Texas and Arizona to Mexico).

Most cacti thrive on arid, sandy soil that drains well, along with strong sunlight. You must as precisely as possible mimic their natural habitat for indoor plants.

Any plant label should be carefully read. Continue reading to learn about typical issues and how to restore health to your specific cactus.

Why is my Barrel cactus turning yellow?

Since the barrel cactus is extremely susceptible to direct sunlight, yellowing of the leaves could be a sign of leaf burn. Taking your cactus out of the sun for a bit is obviously the first thing to do, just like with people who get sunburned.

See whether the leaves start to turn green by placing it somewhere where the sunlight is indirect for a bit. If so, the issue has been resolved.

The potential of overwatering is another. So, be sure to check the soil before adding more and let the plant dry out completely in between waterings.

Why is my Pencil cactus turning yellow?

The yellowed elder leaves of the Pencil cactus frequently fall off. The early leaves of your Pencil cactus will also fall off as the plant grows, just like any other plant.

Simply remove the leaves; it is a necessary part of the growing process. But if you’re still concerned, have a look at the list of potential problems with cactus in the list above, including watering, soil, fertilizer, and sunlight.

Why is my Totem Pole cactus turning yellow?

When the air feels very dry, the Totem Pole cactus may become yellow.

The solution is typically to give it a lot of water to drink! Water is unquestionably the solution if the leaves don’t look their best, for instance, if the texture is wrinkled.

Your Totem Pole plant enjoys a good soak to ensure that the entire root ball is hydrated. Like most cacti, it needs to be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Why is my Moon cactus turning yellow?

The flowering portion of the moon cactus is actually the top of two cacti that have been grafted together. Its brightly colored star-shaped flowers have earned it the nickname “Star Cactus.”

Dryness and insufficient irrigation are the usual causes of a plant becoming yellow. Ensure that your plant is on good soil so that water may readily drain away. Only water it when the dirt is completely dry, and then give it a good soak before letting excess drainage from any saucer it rests in drain away. Thus, root rot will be prevented.

Just before it blooms, fertilizing your Moon cactus won’t do any harm. But because cactus enjoy it, make sure the diet has a low nitrogen content.

Why is my Euphorbia cactus turning yellow?

This cactus probably requires more light. If they begin to take on a greener tone, try transferring it to a position that receives more sunlight. Check the watering after that. The leaves of Euphorbia become more yellowish when they receive too much water.

If it doesn’t work, make sure the plant isn’t exposed to a draft that would make it feel colder than it would want. Last but not least, make sure there is no root rot if the leaves are still yellow.

For advice on how to resolve this, see “Why is my cactus becoming brown?” (above).



Generally speaking, a yellow cactus might signal either too much or too little water in the pot, which is hilarious. Cacti that are dehydrated feel floppy. Additional elements you can examine are:

  • True light
  • good ground
  • Suitable fertilizers
  • Temperature

Consequently, avoid overwatering cactus as a general rule. Before beginning to add more, let the soil totally dry up. This will also aid in preventing root rot.

The plant’s yellow leaves could be the result of root rot if the plant is wrinkled, yellow, and smells in the roots. Return to the section about cactus plant browning and follow the instructions there in this situation.

These are the four things you need to be concerned about to make sure that your cactus flourishes. It might be a characteristic of your particular type of cacti that the leaves alter depending on the light it receives.

Can I grow cacti outdoors successfully?

It is easier for some cactus plants to survive outside than others. Black leaves are typically the result if a succulent is left outside during a frost, and the cactus plant will most likely die as a result. One way to prevent this is to offer some protection by wrapping the plant in a layer of cloth or polythene during colder months.

Cactus cannot be grown outside unless you live in a tropical area. Some people might enjoy the increased summertime sun in a protected place. However, bring it inside given the brisk autumn winds.

Do I need to fertilize my cactus plant?

With stark variations between the high temperatures of the day and the cold temperatures at night, cacti thrive in the wild.An indoor cactus may be maintained with the bare necessities of water, light, nutrients, and temperature however it is a good idea to fertilize your plant in the spring when the growing season begins.

Avoid using fertilizers that contain a lot of nitrogen. Cactus plants require a low nitrogen mixture; if there is too much nitrogen present, the plant may suffer and develop too thick leaves.

Winter is not the time to fertilize. Outside of their growing season, most plants don’t require it because too much nourishment may merely stay in the soil and eventually result in root rot.

If you have recently re-potted your plant, do not fertilize. Excess nitrogen is not good for cactus either. However, wait a few weeks before fertilizing a newly re-potted plant.

You should absolutely feed your cactus plant if you see it blooming. The most crucial factor is that specialized cactus feeds typically have a lower nitrogen concentration than common household plant meals, which the cactus prefers.

However, you can use household plant fertilizers with the 10-10-10 ratio, which provides 10% of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as long as the nitrogen content is no greater than 10. To flourish, healthy plants require each of these.

How can I help my cactus plant to flower?

Many different kinds of cactus produce beautiful flowers in the wild, usually following a rainy season or when conditions are ideal for growth and fertilization.

To find out when your plant typically blooms, it’s crucial to check the label that came with it. For instance, because the Christmas cactus often blooms in December rather than in the summer, this plant is practically dormant during the summer and requires fertilization during the winter to promote flowering.

Keep in mind that other varieties, like the Moon cactus, are truly crosses between two separate cactus species. The top plant is where the flowers grow, so be sure to verify the flowering season when you buy and fertilize according to when you anticipate blooms to appear.