How to Solve Christmas Cactus Problems

How to Solve Christmas Cactus Problems

If you’ve noticed your Christmas cactus isn’t growing like it should, you may have several problems. These problems can include root rot, lack of water, and sudden changes in light. To find the right solution for your plant, follow the tips below. Soil problems can also cause your plant to wilt.

Every Christmas cactus owner goes through this at some point. The horror of discovering that your beloved plant has leaves turning black and mushy is enough to make you scream, “Why me?!” You’ve been taking care of your plant according to the directions on the tag, why is it suddenly dying? It’s as if someone or something is intentionally out to kill it! First thing you should do is breathe. You’ll get nowhere fast with a panicked mindset. Then, you should ask yourself a couple of questions. Has the soil in the original pot been drying out faster than usual? If so, re-pot your plant into fresh soil but make sure the new soil is only lightly damp. Also cut off any blackened or mushy roots before re-potting.

How to Solve Christmas Cactus Problems
How to Solve Christmas Cactus Problems

Root rot

Root rot in Christmas cactus is caused by an infection of the roots. To treat it, spray the plant with a fungicide in the fall. You can also prune it and repotted it in a clean pot. After pruning, make sure to sterilize all tools, including clippers and pruners. Try to tackle each problem one at a time, so that you don’t overstress the plant.

Lack of water

Lack of water can be a killer for Christmas cactus plants. Sudden changes in temperature, light, and watering can all damage them. This is because the plant needs energy to put out flower buds. Therefore, keep it in bright indirect light during the day and a dark room at night. The plant can survive with a little direct sun, but not too much.

Sudden changes in light

Sudden changes in light, temperature, and water can all cause stress to Christmas cactus plants. Sudden changes can also cause flower buds to drop off before they open. However, with proper care, Christmas cacti are relatively low-maintenance houseplants. Their main pest is mealybugs, but organic pesticides can treat infestations. If you see a problem early enough, pruning off affected leaves may also help.


When your Christmas cactus is suffering from moisture problems, it is time to take action. To find out if your plant needs more humidity, use a hygrometer. Humidity is important for the health of all plants, including cacti, and a low humidity level will be disastrous for them. Misting your plant is a good way to maintain the correct humidity level. However, misting does not provide long- term results.


Temperature is one of the most common problems that Christmas cactus have. Temperature fluctuations can damage the cells and tissues in the plant. Consequently, you must maintain a consistent temperature and humidity indoors. Ideally, your Christmas cactus should have a temperature between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It will not flower if the temperature drops below this range.


Christmas cactus pests can be troublesome, especially if they are feeding on the sweet sap of the plants. These pests can decimate the plants quickly. One way to tell if a plant is infested is to look for waxy, yellowish spots on the underside of the leaves and stems. In the early stages of infestation, you can treat the plants with insecticidal soap. However, if you are dealing with a severe infestation, systemic insecticides may be necessary.

Why is my Christmas cactus not doing well?
What kills a Christmas cactus?

Repotting a limp Christmas cactus

If you’ve noticed that your Christmas cactus’s leaves are drooping, you may need to repot it. This plant will need a new pot with fresh soil to revive its life. To do this, gently remove the plant from its current planter. Then, remove all the soil around the roots and repot it into a fresh pot.

The good news is that Christmas cactus problems are pretty easy to identify, because they’re mostly caused by a small handful of common culprits: incorrect watering, incorrect fertilization, or a sudden change in environment (like moving it outside during the summer season, or bringing it inside during the winter). As long as you take the steps above to prevent each of these issues from happening, your Christmas cactus will live for many Christmases to come.

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