Why is my Christmas Cactus turning Red/Maroon/Pink? (+Fix)

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In case your Christmas Cactus has changed color recently and has turned to Red, Maroon or Pink, you need to immediately take action to prevent it and make your Christmas Cactus back again in its green color.

In this post, I will discuss this issue in detail, its reasons and fixes.

Christmas cactus turning red
Christmas cactus turning red

Let’s get started!

Is Christmas Cactus Turning Red, Maroon or Pink a Thing to Worry About?

Yes, Christmas cactus turning red, maroon or pink is a thing to worry about. Naturally Christmas cactus should look green, or close to the green. If it appears red or purple on some of its parts, something might be off with the plant.

Why is my Christmas Cactus turning Red/Maroon/Pink?

Christmas cactus, also known as schlumbergera, is a self-sustaining house plant that does not require much effort to grow.

However, it’s not like other desert cacti as it requires a tropical climate to mimic a rainforest habitat. That being said, you can’t leave a Christmas cactus without water or light and expect it to bloom flowers.

If your Christmas cactus is turning red/maroon/pink, chances are high that you have left your plant unattended for a long time or you can’t address the stressors.

Since plants cannot communicate with you directly like humans, they show symptoms like this. Christmas cactus should appear green while its flowers should be pink.

If you notice discoloration of the plant then look for the possible factors causing the problem. 

Magnesium Deficiency

Cactus require a lot of macronutrients to grow well and produce beautiful flowers in the blooming season. If your plant does not get sufficient nutrition then malnutrition will make it dry and then die.

The most important nutrients are nitrogen Phosphorus and magnesium. Lack of these nutrients can be due to poor potting soil, incorrect transplanting, accidental damage, insects or pests and irregular water.

Sometimes tightly bound roots can also be the main reason for magnesium deficiency as they are unable to absorb nutrients from the soil. 

Too Much Sun

Plants require sunlight for the photosynthesis process but the Christmas cactus is a bit different. It requires sunlight to but in a limited amount.

It is naturally wired to survive in the indirect sunshade of a rainforest environment. Keeping the plant under direct sunlight for too long or moving it away from the sun can be life-threatening for your Christmas cactus.

Undoubtedly sunlight reacts with chlorophyll present in green parts of the plant and helps in preparing food.

However, this thing completely changes when the plant is exposed to direct sunlight. Too much exposure to light or heat causes the plant to produce anthocyanins which are phenolic compounds.

The plants produce such compounds to protect themselves from overexposure to UV light. Several anthocyanins group together and dominate the green color of the plant into a purple tint.

If the plant remains under an overabundance of sun rays like this, the stem tissue becomes damaged. Damage tissues can no longer absorb light or take part in photosynthesis.

To learn more about the light requirements for Christmas cacti, see our guide on light conditions.

Lack of Water

The Christmas cactus not only requires balanced sunlight to grow well but it also requires a balanced amount of water. Lack of water makes the plant shrink and brittle.

It also turns into a lifeless purple color. If a plant does not get sufficient water then it will become stressed and photosynthesis won’t be proper.

On the flip side, too much watering can discolor the cactus plant and also leave brown cast on the leaves. Over-watering also causes the roots to rot. 

Solutions for Christmas Cactus Turning Red

We have already talked about the possible factors which might be causing problems with your Christmas cactus and it is turning red.

Now, let’s see the solutions for the Christmas cactus turning red and how to apply them to recover the stressed plant.

Fixing the Magnesium Deficiency Issue

Using a regular fertilizer will balance all the macronutrients in your Christmas cactus. If you find that it has too much magnesium deficiency then you need to give it a Magnesium boost through Epsom salt.

Put one to two tablespoons of Epsom salt in two and a half gallons of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it on the plant to overcome the deficiency. 

Solution for Changing color due to Too much Sun

If you find that too much sunlight is a problem for your cactus then move your plant away from the Sun. Keep it in a dappled shade where sunlight reaches indirectly.

You can keep the plant under the Sun for 5 to 6 hours in winter but doing the same in summer can be life-threatening. Schlumbergera does not require direct heat or light in summer.

If your cactus has become narrower or rounded than before then it is a sign that it requires more sunlight. Look closely for the symptoms and find out what your plant is asking for.

Solving Lack Of Water Causing Christmas Cactus to turn Reddish

As discussed earlier, lack of water causes your plant to dry and brittle. It won’t grow properly as it should. Shrinked or wrinkled plants indicate that they require more water. Red or pink cacti indicate the same.

That is no exact rule for watering Christmas Cactus. You should water it depending on the season and the temperature. It’s good to water about once a week for indoor house plants in the hotter season. While in cooler months, they require too little watering, only when the top one inch of the soil feels dry. 

Sometimes, rooms become too dry in winter but that does not mean your plans require frequent watering. You can balance the moisture by keeping a shallow pan of water near a heat register and letting the water evaporate.

This will add enough moisture and humidity to the air that your plant seeks. Another option is to keep the cactus on a gravel bed. Then add some amount of water up to the gravel level. 

How much time will it take to recover this Christmas Cactus to its healthy State?

A Christmas cactus that is adequately watered and is receiving balanced nutrients and sunlight will recover to a normal and healthy state within a few weeks.

However, if the plant is too damaged, it’s better to trim the damaged parts and repot it to a different pot. If this doesn’t work, you may need to replace it with a new Christmas cactus. 


Let’s conclude the post on why is Christmas Cactus turning Red, Maroon or Pink!

Once you follow these fixes after you found out for several weeks you will notice a change in the color of your Christmas Cactus. It will soon recover and come to its healthy state.

I hope you found this post helpful and that it solved the issue.

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