The cactus is known as a hardy, easy-care and long-lasting succulent. However, it can be a tricky day when you notice your cactus turning pink. Is your plant dying or are you trying to tell something is wrong?
Your cactus often turns pink in response to environmental stress. The most common stressors are sudden temperature changes, nutrient deficiencies, improper watering, root rot, and excess sun. With some species of cacti, this is completely normal and your plant is acclimatizing.
Read on to find out all the possible causes and what you can do to fix your rose cactus.
Of course, cacti are sun-loving plants. However, an indoor cactus can be prone to sunburn when exposed to too much direct sunlight.
Your cactus can be on the windowsill because the glass amplifies the sun’s rays. Sunburn will be especially severe if you park your plant at or very close to a south-facing window.
If you are going to move your cactus outdoors, be sure to do so in small steps. Sudden changes in light intensity will stress your plant, which will react by turning pink.
You should place your cactus away from strong direct sunlight. Place it in a location where it receives at least six hours a day of bright, indirect light. A north or west facing window would be ideal.
too much heat
Your cactus may turn pink due to excessive heat. This is especially the case if the heat is related to too much direct or unfiltered sunlight.
This happens in two ways. First, your cactus may respond to heat stress by producing protective anthocyanins, a pink to purple pigment.
Second, extreme heat can burn the cactus and damage tissue. This prevents your plant from absorbing UV rays from the sun important for photosynthesis, hence the discoloration.
Overheated roots can also turn your cactus a reddish-purple color.
Move your cactus away from the heat source. Either direct sun, heating grid or radiator.
Your cactus isn’t too picky about watering, but it still needs water. It can turn pink both from excess and lack of water.
When flood the problem is that your plant will turn pink or purple before drying out to a dull, crispy brown. You may notice wrinkles or curls near the base of your cactus.
give too much water your cactus is a surefire recipe for root rot. It will first turn yellow and then take on a brown, pink or purple hue. Scale (the development of corky or rusty areas) also indicates excess water.
Eventually, your cactus will become mushy and mushy and die.
- Water your underwater cactus thoroughly and deeply.
- For a cactus that has been overwatered, remove all diseased roots, treat healthy roots with fungicides, and reseed with fresh soil.
- You want to let the 2-3 inches of soil dry completely between drinks.
Cacti often turn pink if they lack important nutrients, especially phosphorus. Your cactus needs phosphorus to produce nucleic acids, sugars and energy.
Pink cactus can also be the result of a magnesium or nitrogen deficiency. Yellowing, wilting, or discoloration are other signs of a nutrient-poor cactus.
Worn potting soil, poor drainage and too much fertilizer often cause a nutrient deficiency. Also check for pest damaged roots.
Cover or reseed with fresh, fertile, high-quality soil if the current soil has already been depleted. You can also fertilize your cactus with a medium-strength houseplant fertilizer during the peak growing season. (Source: University of Minnesota)
For magnesium deficiency, you can use Epsom salt.
The cactus thrives in well-aerated, fast-draining soil. Poor drainage prevents the roots from breathing and absorbing nutrients.
Unfortunately, this poorly drained soil also tends to become waterlogged and cause root rot. If they stay wet any longer, the cactus roots will suffocate and die.
As such, your plant is unable to absorb water and nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, and magnesium, causing the foliage to turn pink or purple.
If root rot has started, prune dead or diseased roots. Remember to cut back the foliage for better recovery.
Otherwise, simply transplant your fresh plant, cactus potting soil.
Low light is another major cause of cactus pink. Your cactus typically produces more anthocyanins due to stress from insufficient light. This purple pigment outweighs the green chlorophyll, giving your cactus that pink look.
While some cacti can tolerate low light, most cacti will lose their bright green glow if they cannot receive enough sunlight for photosynthesis. You may also notice yellow and/or whitish areas.
Again, the best solution is to place your cactus near a location where it receives plenty of bright, indirect light. Some types of cacti do well in sun and partial shade.
Although some species of cacti (like prickly pears) are hardy, they generally don’t like extreme temperature drops below 10°C (50°F). This leads to heat stress and your cactus will discolor in response.
To prevent your cactus from turning pink due to low temperatures, place your plant in a room with ideal temperatures. Your cactus will be happiest in a temperature range of 70-80°F (21-27°C).
During the resting phase of your cactus, maintain the temperature between 7 and 13°C. Also place it away from sources of cold drafts, such as exit doors, uninsulated windows, and HVAC vents.
Plagues and diseases
A pink cactus can be a telltale sign of a pest or disease.
- Cactus cyst: The most common discoloration-inducing disease is a cactus cyst (caused by Cactodera cacti usually found in contaminated soil). If you check the ground, you will find small spherical nodules. Other signs include wilting and stunted growth.
- Fungal root and stem rot: These infections that can turn your cactus pink are caused by fungi such as Dreschlera. Beware of weak spots, rotting smell and sickly appearance.
- red spiders: These pests suck sap from the softer parts of the cactus. Watch out for tiny spider mites, especially on the underside of the leaf. You may also see brown spots with a yellow halo.
- Balance: This is another type of insect that sucks sap from soft parts. They also leave unsightly brown spots, while some areas may turn pink or purple.
You should immediately isolate and treat the affected cactus. Cut off diseased or affected areas to prevent further spread.
Now you know all the possible reasons why your cactus is turning pink and how to give it new life.