If your Christmas cactus leaves are curling, don’t worry. In this guide, we’ll explore why this happens and how to fix it easily.
Let’s get straight to the root of the issue.
6 Reasons for Christmas Cactus Leaves Curling
#1. Inadequate Watering
People often assume that a Christmas cactus cannot be underwatered simply because it’s succulent.
However, it’s possible for this aesthetically attractive succulent to be underwatered, which may cause its leaves to curl and shrivel.
There are a number of factors that determine how often a Christmas Cactus should be watered. These factors include:
- The Season: During spring and summer, Christmas cacti need more water since they exponentially grow and are more active than during the winter.
- Planting Location of Christmas Cactus: Christmas cacti are grown in small-sized containers that need to be watered more often than those grown in large containers. Also, Christmas cacti grown directly on the ground in the outdoor space must be watered more often than those grown in containers and indoor spaces.
- Humidity: The humidity of the environment in which these succulents are grown in. Christmas Cacti grown in regions with high humidity should be watered less frequently than those grown in an area with low humidity.
Below are some of the other telltale signs that your Christmas cactus leaves are curling due to being underwatered:
- Its leaves may become brown (this happens when a Christmas cactus is chronically underwatered)
- Its leaves become thinner
- Its leaves feel spongy to touch instead of feeling firm
#2. Root rot
Fungal infection, inadequate oxygen supply in the soil, and overwatering are some of the main causes of root rot in a Christmas cactus.
Christmas cactuses with root rot have their leaves shriveled or curled up.
#3. Temperature and Stress
Temperature stress may cause Christmas Cactus leaves to curl. This succulent may be subjected to either high, chilling, or freezing temperature stresses.
When this plant is unable to cope or respond favorably to any of these temperature changes, it automatically curls its leaves and shrivels.
#4. Pest infestation
Despite the Christmas cactus is relatively pest resistant, it may sometimes become pest infested, which may cause its leaves to curl up and shrivel.
Spider mites, Mealybugs, Fungus gnats, and Scale insects are some of the most common pests known to infest the Christmas cactus.
Spider mites are almost impossible to spot. However, their fine sheet-like webs, which they build between the cactus’s spine, give away these extremely hazardous minute red pests when they infest a plant.
#5. Inadequate Lighting
For a Christmas cactus to thrive, it requires plenty of sunlight. Thus, by not providing it with enough lighting, a Christmas cactus will curl or shrivel.
How to Fix Leaves Curling in Christmas Cactus?
#1. How To Fix a Christmas Cactus Whose Leaves Have Curled Due to Inadequate Watering
- Create a flexible watering schedule and adhere to it
- Water the Christmas Cactus until the soil is thoroughly soaked
- Cut out any browned or yellowed leaf if it doesn’t turn to a green color after a week or 2 of routine watering
#2. How to fix a Christmas Cactus whose leaves have curled due to pest infestation
- Use a miticide to de-infect your Christmas cactus leaves from spider mites
- Apply an insecticidal soap spray to get rid of fungal gnats and scale insects on a Christmas cactus
- You can scrap off Mealybugs from a Christmas cactus by using a brush with soft bristles dipped in a rubbing alcohol
- Consider replanting the succulent in another container or another spot or completely replacing the soil the infested Christmas cactus was planted in.
#3. How to fix a Christmas cactus whose leaves have curled due to root rot
- Uproot the Christmas cactus from the soil or the container
- Hold a clean pair of shears or scissors with your dominant hand
- Cut the healthy root 1 cm above the rotten root
- Disinfect the container by soaking it for 10 minutes with 1 part bleach and 9 parts water
- Ensure that you rinse the container thoroughly before filling it with fresh soil
- Add a nitrogen-based fertilizer to promote root growth to the soil before replanting your Christmas cactus.
#4. How to fix a Christmas cactus whose leaves have curled due to temperature stress
Christmas cactus cannot tolerate low temperatures, so make sure that you place this succulent in a room with an average temperature of 7-16 °C. Consider placing a Christmas cactus with shriveled leaves in the kitchen room.
#5. How to fix a Christmas cactus whose leaves have curled due to inadequate lighting
Ensure that you expose your Christmas Cactus to sunlight for a minimum of 4 hours to 6 hours daily. During the winter season, place this succulent in the southern or western direction. These 2 directions have the best sun exposure during winter.
Let’s conclude the post!
Though your Christmas Cactus leaves have got shriveled, still it can recover fast following the above steps mentioned above.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post.
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Anirban Saha is an Engineer with a specialization in Electronics and Communication. He is the Founder and Editor of mrplanter.com and also techbullish.com. Anirban loves plants and pursue gardening as a hobby for more than 10 years.