The Christmas cactus is a popular indoor plant that is grown in many parts of the world. There are six to nine different species of the Christmas cactus that can be grown. It is scientifically known as the Schlumbergera.
It has broad, hard leaves and the plant looks really good indoors. It can easily go along in any setting, and you can keep it in the corners of the room to give the place a more natural aesthetic.
However, while this cactus is quite popular, you also have to understand that it requires care. When you are growing houseplants, you have to try and make sure that the growing conditions you provide are as similar as the plant is used to outdoors.
If you are unable to provide such a setting, the plant will suffer. Now, if the leaves of your cactus are turning purple, it could be due to any number of reasons. Identifying the root cause and fixing the problem is not easy because you will have to work through the reasons and then apply the solutions one by one to figure out the problem.
In a vast majority of the situations, there are usually three reasons why the Christmas cactus turns purple: crowding around the roots, location of the plant, and the amount of nutrition that you provide.
1 – Nutrition
First and foremost, you need to consider the nutrition that your plant receives. It doesn’t matter what kind of cacti you have in your house; they are going to need an appropriate amount of fertilizer.
While the plant is in bloom, you do not need to provide any kind of fertilizer, but during the months of April through October, you have to make sure that your plant receives lots of fertilizer.
Ideally, you should fertilize the Christmas cactus after every two to four weeks. There’s no reason to opt for any special kind of fertilizer either; any general-purpose indoor fertilizer will do the trick just as well.
On top of that, you must also understand that the Christmas cactus requires much more magnesium as compared to other indoor plants. To fulfill its requirements, you must mix a teaspoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, and then provide it to the plant.
Apart from the regular fertilizer that you are giving to the plant, this should also be added to the feeding routine to keep the plant healthy.
If you don’t want to buy generic fertilizer from a local store, you can also use your own. One of the best general-purpose fertilizers that you can use is to just sprinkle coffee grounds on the cactus.
Coffee contains a significant amount of potassium and magnesium, and the plant will be able to get its fix this way.
But, you should avoid doing this if you don’t know what kind of soil you have added to the pot. For instance, if you are using acidic soil, the coffee grounds won’t benefit the soil.
They increase the level of acidity in the soil but if the soil is already between the range of 5.8 and 7 pH, then there’s no reason to add coffee grounds. Instead, it would be a better option to just head out to your local garden nursery and buy one there.
Just go for the basic 20-10-20 formula or choose one with a 20-20-20 mix for your Christmas cactus. Not only are they easily available, but you won’t even have to break the bank for them.
2 – Crowded Roots
Another reason why your Christmas cactus might be turning purple is due to the crowded roots in the pot. Over the passage of time, your Christmas cactus is going to get bigger.
The roots are also going to expand throughout the pot until they eventually take up all of the available room within the pot. When this happens, your plant will begin to suffocate.
This is a serious problem and if you do not address it in a timely fashion, your plant is eventually going to succumb to death. The roots need space to breathe, and a smaller pot simply won’t give it enough space.
One of the best ways to check whether the roots are crowded out or not is to take a look at the drain holes on the pot. If you notice the roots popping out from there, it’s a clear sign that there is no more space inside the pot.
You might also want to think about propagation when you are repotting a bigger fuchsia plant. It might not seem like much, but propagation is a great way to make your place more beautiful by adding different variants of the plant without much of a hassle.
3 – The Location
Last but not least, you have to look at the location of the plant. Where have you kept it in your house? During the winter and the fall season, your house plant requires bright light.
But, during the summer months, the plant does not need to be exposed to bright sunlight to thrive. Instead, you just need to make sure that the plant receives lots of indirect sunlight to do well.
Instead of keeping the plant right in the sun, you should consider placing it near the window. Ideally, look for a window that faces toward the north for this plant.
Furthermore, if you want your Christmas cactus to bloom, you should keep it in a dark room for at least 12 hours starting in September. Artificial light also has negative effects, so find a room in your house that isn’t in use, such as a closet, and just keep the plant there.
Once you notice the buds appearing on the plant, you can simply take it out and keep it in its original spot, but just make sure that it is not exposed to direct sunlight.
These are just a few reasons why your Christmas cactus might be turning purple, and what you can do about the problem. Make sure you are careful about these things and you won’t have much to worry about!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.