Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Red: Causes & Fixes

Just by reading the title of this article, you should get in the mood of reading the whole article. And, you know why is that? Because, Christmas might be one of the happiest seasons of the whole year for many people, and everything related to it, seems captivating for everyone.

As we might all know, red is the official color of Christmas, and it reflects positive and happy energy, but that’s not the case with the Christmas cactus leaves. If you see red leaves in a Christmas cactus, that might not be a good thing.

In this article, I’m going to explain the cause of Christmas cactus getting red leaves and ways how to prevent it. Here I go!

Christmas Cactus – What Does It Represent?

The Christmas cactus is a highly well-liked houseplant, and that is for good reason! They produce vibrant, tubular flowers that are pink or violet when they bloom. They are a fantastic plant because of their lovely blossoms, lengthy bloom period, and simple maintenance needs. Someone in your family most likely has a Christmas cactus!

The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) and its cousins don’t exist in hot, arid conditions like deserts or plains, in contrast to other cacti. These epiphytic succulents, which grow on tree branches and take in the high humidity, dappled sunlight, and moderate temperatures, are actually endemic to the tropical rainforests of southern Brazil.

Bottom line: Don’t handle a Christmas cactus like a typical succulent or cactus. They are unable to withstand the same kind of hot, dry weather that other cactus can. These cacti require more frequent watering than most succulents, but you also need to be careful not to overwater them.

Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Red – Why That Might Happen?

Root Infections

By restricting the amount of oxygen that roots can absorb and by weakening their tissue, overwatering harms them. Overwatering frequently results in root rot.

Mushy tissue, wilting, and pink or reddish discolorations on the leaves are characteristics of Christmas cactus. An unpleasant odor in the soil is another indicator of root rot. A damaged plant needs to be replanted in new, unused medium and let to dry out for two to three weeks.

Pathogens and Pests

If Christmas cacti are propagated from an infected plant or are potted in unclean soil, they may become infested with cactus cysts (Cactodera cacti). Cactus cyst is a nematode that predominantly affects the roots, although it can also impact the foliage and cause a variety of symptoms.

Common signs include stunted growth, wilting, and reddish discolorations; however, the most telltale symptom is observed on the roots as tiny, pearl-like lumps. Cactus cyst treatment is challenging and rarely effective, thus prevention is essential.

Nutrient Deficiency

Christmas cacti frequently suffer from a magnesium deficit, which manifests as drooping and foliage that is stained red or purple.

It mainly happens in the wintertime when feeding and watering are restricted and nutrient uptake by the plant is slowed down by the chilly weather. Wintertime temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for the cactus.

Other Factors

One of the typical issues with Christmas cacti is cultural stress, particularly if the plant is exposed to bright sunlight in the summer or isn’t given enough water. This cactus thrives in partial shade during the hotter months because it is a tropical forest species, but it loves full sunlight in the middle of the year.

It should be irrigated if the soil feels dry 1 inch below the surface because it needs a little bit more water than many other cactus species do. Examine the light exposure of an established Christmas cactus if its foliage turns reddish but otherwise seems healthy. If required, reposition it.

Similarly, alter the soil’s moisture content and avoid letting it go for too long without watering.

Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Red – How To Prevent It?

Prevent Root Infections

Trim away the severely harmed leaves and gradually bring the plant back to its regular watering schedule by allowing the top inch of soil to become dry in between waterings. Pruning blades should be cleaned with rubbing alcohol before and after use to disinfect them.

Prevent Pathogens and Pests

To prevent contact with infected soil, put the plant in a brand-new, disinfected container and keep it off the ground. If a plant becomes infested, get rid of it to prevent the infection from spreading.

Prevent Nutrient Deficiency

With Epsom salts, a magnesium deficit can be easily treated. 8 heaping tablespoons of Epsom salts should be dissolved in 2 1/2 liters of water together with 1–2 drops of dishwashing liquid.

Spray the tops and undersides of the foliage with the mixture after pouring it into a spray bottle. Every two weeks, reapply the mixture to the foliage until it takes on its natural hue.

The stems of Christmas cacti become more like wood as they get older, therefore a plant with a woody stem may not have any problems at all.

Closing Words

The leaves of Christmas cacti are probably droopy and drooping. They might become slack and droopy due to flowering, for example. Christmas cacti require a lot of energy to create blossoms, therefore as a result, their leaves frequently droop.

Therefore, if you find yourself in this scenario, you should wait until the plants have finished flowering before giving them some time to relax. You might give them very little water and no food during this time. Later, you might continue giving the plants their regular care.

Further Reading

Since I’ve been talking about cacti in this article, I can offer to you even more articles which have cacti as their main topic. For instance, you can start with the article about cacti shrinking and how can you fix that issue.

We all know that cacti accumulate water in them, but to do that, they first need to be watered, so feel free to read the article about the watering process of a cactus. 

Knowing that you are eager to read even more content, I’m suggesting an article again related to cacti, such as how to revive a dying cactus. 

Ella Holmes

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