The cactus is a very common plant family that is different from anything you might have seen before. The cactus plant does not contain any leaves; it has sharp thorns on it to protect itself.
There are more than 1,750 species of the plant itself, and it is available in a multitude of different sizes and shapes.
You might have seen cactuses growing in extremely harsh and dry environments. Some have even been found in the Atacama Desert, which is widely regarded as one of the driest places on this planet.
The plant is a succulent that is known to adapt quite easily to different kinds of environments, and is also grown by people who want to add some variety to their gardens.
Owing to the unique appearance of the plant, the cactus is a very popular choice for people who like to grow plants at home. Almost all of the cacti are succulents, and require very little care as a whole.
You don’t need to worry about watering the plants on a consistent basis, nor do you need to focus on maintaining them after every few days.
However, over time, you might notice that your cactus is turning yellow or brown. This is a disturbing sign because cacti are supposed to be green in color.
Despite the fact that taking care of the plant is incredibly easy, you should know that there are going to be instances where the plant might not survive at all. This primarily depends on a mix of conditions.
There’s hardly anything more disheartening than watching your beloved plant die before your very eyes, especially one that is so easy to care for. There are many reasons why your cactus might start turning yellow.
Here are a few of the major reasons that you should know about, and what you can do to fix them.
1 – Inadequate Lighting
Inadequate lighting is a serious problem in many houses, and your cactus might not survive without it. When you talk about the cactus plant, you should know that there is such a thing as too much light or too little.
Depending on the type of species, the amount of light required by your plant is going to vary.
You might feel a bit of temptation to put your plant out on the windowsill, but this can cause the plant to burn up, which will turn it yellow. As mentioned, not all cactus species require as much light.
The best way to figure out whether your plant is getting enough light or not is to take a close look at its behavior. If the plant starts turning yellow or brown, it is an indication that you are giving it too much light. It’s time to move it indoors.
Keep in mind that if the weather conditions continue to change, the plant may scorch. This could lead to permanent damage as well. If the plant is outdoor, you should consider keeping it out in the morning, and bring it in during the afternoon.
The sun is quite hot in the afternoon, and could damage the plant.
2 – The Type of Soil
Cacti require proper draining soils to remain healthy. Clay soil, which is quite heavy, often retains too much water. This could end up causing damage to the plant.
Ultimately, this is going to cause the roots of the cactus plant to rot. As the roots begin to rot, the plant will be unable to move the nutrients from the soil to its upper layers, which will turn it yellow.
You also need to keep in mind that the container isn’t too massive for the plant. Bigger containers often keep the soil wet for a much longer period of time.
If the soil doesn’t drain efficiently, one of the things that you can do is add a bit of sand. This is going to solve the issue.
3 – Watering the Plants
Both underwatering and overwatering your plants is harmful. At first thought, most people think that they don’t need to water the cactus plant at all, and just a little amount of water over the months is good enough, but that’s not true.
Despite being a desert plant, you should know that the cactus requires quite a bit of water.
Even the cactus found in the desert often stretches its roots underneath to tap into underground sources of moisture and conserve as much of it as possible. The cactus plant is likely to swell when it receives a sufficient amount of water.
During the growing season that usually lasts between the summer and spring, the cactus is likely to use more water from its reserves. Over time, this may cause the plant to develop a shriveled appearance.
In some cases, the plant might turn yellow or brown. You will notice the first signs of yellowing closest to the soil.
While the plant is capable of storing quite a bit of water, too much of it is also harmful. To prevent this from happening, you can use a moisture meter to make sure that your plant is doing well.
4 – Bug Infestations
Despite having no leaves, you should know that cacti are also incredibly prone to bug infestations. If you do not care for the plant properly, it won’t take long before this infestation spreads to other plants as well.
Certain small bugs, such as the mealy bugs or the scale insects, often like to suck on the juices from the succulent plants.
They also spread real fast, and quickly develop colonies along the way. You need to prevent this from happening, and the best way to do that is by using an insecticidal soap. Avoid using harmful pesticides unless you are absolutely sure of their effectiveness.
You might want to talk to a professional gardener as well and find out what can be done to get rid of the infestation. These are just some of the many reasons why a cactus might turn yellow, and what you can do about fixing the problem.
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.