You can easily and quickly brighten up any space with a dash of color and newness by placing a Christmas cactus plant in the center of the room.
These low-maintenance winter-blooming plants have many stems of delicate green pads that develop into showy pink and white blooms in late winter or early spring.
But if they aren’t looked after correctly, they might have issues including stunted development and browning leaves.
Scroll down to know some major signs of a dying Christmas Cactus and a few easy steps you can take to ensure that your plant stays healthy all season long.
Let’s get started!
What are the Signs of a Dying Christmas Cactus?
While the stem segments of this blooming plant are quite stunning, dry and limp stems indicate that the plant is sick.
Their unhealthy appearance is reflected in symptoms such as yellowing, white spots, drooping, leggy growth, black or brown patches on leaves, poor growth, or discoloration.
Here are some major signs of a dying Christmas Cactus:
1. Christmas Cactus Leaves getting Shriveled
When Christmas cactus leaves aren’t getting enough water, the leaves will shrivel and dry up. Both excessive and inadequate watering might cause this problem.
You can tell whether your soil has been kept very wet or just too dry by digging a few inches down into it or by using a soil moisture meter.
2. Yellow or Brown Leaves of Christmas Cactus
They are accustomed to the tropical heat, not drier heat like that found in a house window. Excessively direct sunlight causes the leaves of Christmas cactus to wilt and take on a subtle red hue.
Too much exposure to direct, hot sunshine causes leaf yellowing and eventually reddening.
3. Christmas Cactus Leaves Falling
Stem decay at the plant’s base is the reason behind your plant’s leaves coming off, which indicates that the plant is dying.
Fungi that live in and around the soil are to blame for this condition. This is always the case when the plant receives an excessive amount of water.
4. Root Rot Issue
Fungi lurking in the soil are to blame for root rot. As with stem rot, root rot may be diagnosed by its obvious symptoms, which are most obvious near the plant’s base.
Root rot is fatal to plants, so repotting them into fresh soil eliminates the risk of spreading the fungus. Instead, collect all of the healthy leaves and use them as a source for future plants.
5. White Spots
The Impatiens necrotic spot virus causes white patches on the foliage of Christmas cactus plants. Also, mealybugs may create white patches.
The leaves of a diseased plant will become yellow. Symptoms of the illness can go unnoticed until the plant wilts. This disease is spread from a sick plant to a healthy plant by tiny insects called thrips.
6. Stunted Growth on Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus is likely to dry out and experience stunted growth in the long run if you are not watering the plant adequately.
Another reason your plant doesn’t grow properly is exposure to too much sunlight, or not getting a minimum of 8 hours of light each day.
How to Save a Dying Christmas Cactus?
Examining the symptoms is not enough; you also need to understand what’s causing them. Now that you’ve identified the signs, you can provide the plant with the care it needs.
Below is all you need to do to save your lovely plant and keep it blooming.
1. Proper Watering
Providing your Christmas cactus with some water is the first step in bringing it back to life. If the top layer of soil is dry, the plant needs watering.
Christmas cactus, in contrast to their desert-dwelling relatives, need moist soil at all times. As a result, if you haven’t watered your houseplant in a while, it’s definitely time to do so.
For tips on watering your Christmas cactus, see our guide on watering.
2. Inspecting the Causes
One of the most important things you can do to restore health to your cactus is to give it a thorough inspection. Examine the plant’s leaves one by one.
Take them out if they’re crunchy, but leave them in if they’re soft. Furthermore, if the soil is dry on top but soft underneath, you may simply replace the hardened soil with new soil.
You should repot if the soil is too hard and dry to work with, even after the first inch.
3. Choosing the Right Soil Mix
Mixing potting soil and river sand expands the space between soil particles, making it great for Cactus.
Christmas cacti cannot thrive in heavy garden soil because the dirt does not allow enough oxygen to reach the roots and retains too much water.
The oversaturation will cause the leaves to become floppy and yellow. If you didn’t start with the correct soil, you may repot using the right mixture of soil and sand.
4. Repotting the Christmas Cactus
The rapid expansion of a cactus’s root system means that it may soon outgrow its pot. As a result, roots may begin to protrude from the small bottom hole in the pot.
This causes problems with hydration and nutritional uptake, leading to malnutrition.
This means the cactus needs repotting immediately. Pick a new, larger container, fill it with soil mix, and then replant the cactus.
To avoid shocking your plant, be sure to give it plenty of water and return it to its original location.
5. Fixing the Light Requirement
Unfavorable lighting conditions are usually harmful to Christmas cactus. The leaves will benefit most from indirect sunshine rather than direct sunlight.
Too much exposure to sunlight may turn the leaves purple and will slow down the plant’s development. Also, avoid exposure to any artificial light sources.
A minimum of twelve hours of darkness each day is required during the months of September or October.
You may like to read more about the lighting requirement of Christmas Cactus.
6. Paying Attention to the Christmas Cactus
Look for indications of growth or withering in your cactus every day. Crunchy leaves indicate a problem that has to be addressed as soon as possible.
Verify that your plant is receiving an adequate amount of water, but not too much or too little. Always check the top layer of soil to see if it needs water before watering your Christmas cactus.
Root rot may be caused by overwatering, so don’t do that unless you’ve first examined the soil.
7. Proper Fertilization
During the growth season, fertilize your Christmas Cactus plant every two months with a balanced fertilizer. The health and growth of your plants will suffer if you fertilize them while they’re supposed to be resting.
Remember to give your plant enough water and sunlight before you even think about fertilizing it. The fertilizer will be spread out more evenly in the soil, and the increased amount of nutrients will help the plant grow.
8. Resolving Pest Infestation
In the event that your Christmas cactus becomes fungus-infested, it is important to keep it apart from other plants. With clean scissors, cut off the infected leaves and throw them away.
Thoroughly wash the plant, and then spray it all over with the neem oil solution. Do this for a few days, or until the infection and pests are gone.
Another option is market-ready chemical insecticides. Overuse might be harmful to the plant, so be cautious.
Getting rid of the pests and then repotting the plant in new soil can speed up its recovery to achieve better health.
Christmas Cactus is an attractive succulent that may survive almost effortlessly if given the right conditions and care.
Yeah, you got it correctly! This plant can thrive for decades, ensuring that it will always be there to brighten your space.
For a plant that is as affordable and uncomplicated as Christmas Cactus, following the aforesaid measures to care for the plant makes it totally worth it.
Let’s conclude the post on how to save a dying Christmas Cactus!
I hope you enjoyed reading the post.
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.