Why Is My Cactus Turning White?

There are a few reasons why your cactus spines might turn white, but generally, it's caused by sunburn or by being overexposed to light. Don't worry, though—while your cactus may look dead, it's likely that the damage isn't permanent. There are several ways to help prevent your cactus from developing sunburn in the future.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

Cactus can easily be grown at home and are a popular houseplant for those who enjoy gardening. However, they do not always stay green as they mature. Some cacti turn white due to distress, and it is your responsibility to figure out what is causing your plant to turn white and address it promptly.

So, why is my cactus turning white? Typically, your cactus will start turning white due to sunburn, overfeeding, pest infestation, corking, overwatering, or root rot. Your plant may also turn white because it isn’t receiving a sufficient amount of light.

In this blog post, we explore why your cactus might be turning white and what you can do about it!

1. Pest Infestation

One of the common reasons why your cactus is turning white is due to a pest infestation. Ants, mealybugs, and scale insects all love to eat the sap that is abundant in cacti plants.

They can turn white from being covered with these pests as their bodies excrete a waxy substance called honeydew which attracts more ants!

If you suspect your plant has an insect problem, it’s best to find a solution as quickly as possible.

The best way to start is by giving your cactus plant a good wash with water and then inspecting the undersides of the leaves for any signs of pests. If you see ants or other insects crawling around, use an insecticide that specifically targets them!

A critical factor to keep in mind is that cacti should be placed somewhere with plenty of sunlight and room to grow. If you don’t give your plant enough light or space, their leaves will turn white since a lot of darkness tends to attract more pests!

2. Sunburn

Your cactus may also start turning white from sunburn. Cacti are native to desert climates, and they need sun exposure just like other plants do to survive.

But some cacti species have a highly sensitive stem that may be highly susceptible to extremely high temperatures. So if it’s not given enough time in a shade or protection from the sunlight, the plant may start turning white!

If your cactus is exposed to excessive amounts of direct sunlight, it may turn white from a sunburn.

A good way of preventing this from happening is by giving your cactus a little shade during the hottest parts of the day.

You can do this by placing a piece of plywood or cardboard in front of it and then removing it at night when temperatures start to cool down!

It is crucial to understand the type of light your cactus plant loves and strive to provide it with the right exposure it requires to survive. Ensure it is not too little or too much.

3. Frost Burn

Just like sunburn, frost burn can also cause parts of your cactus to turn white.

Frost is a form of dehydration, and it occurs when an object’s temperature falls below freezing point, and its moisture freezes instantly! This will happen if you’re living in cold climates where frost is common during the winter months.

Unfortunately, the frost-burned areas of your cacti plant won’t return to normal even after the winter season is over. When you realize that your cactus is turning white due to frost burn, bring it indoors and place it on a window where it can still receive plenty of light.

If you keep your cacti in freezing conditions, they will get frost burns and the damage is irreversible.

But you need to ensure that it is not touching the window to avoid further damage. You can either leave the affected parts of the plant or remove them to allow new growth.

One way that may help prevent frosty burns on your cacti is by covering it with a transparent material such as a window screen or plastic sheeting. This will help the leaves stay warm and wet while also providing some protection from frost!

4. Low-Level Light

If you want your plant to grow healthy, green succulent stems and leaves, then it needs lots of light!

Cacti are best grown in a bright, sunny spot where they can receive as much sunlight as possible. If you don’t provide this to them, the leaves will start to turn white, and your plant may not grow properly!

You should aim for at least six hours of direct sun exposure per day if possible. This is perfect for any cacti that prefer a location with lots of sun and heat.

If you don’t have any windows or direct sunlight in your home, then there are some other options for providing the right amount of light that cacti require!

Fluorescent bulbs emit frequencies similar to natural daylight, which may help keep their leaves green (and they’re not too expensive either!).

5. Overfeeding

If you’re a novice cactus plant owner, then it is likely that you are overfeeding your cactus!

All plants need fertilizer or nutrients to thrive, and if they don’t receive enough of these nutrients, their leaves will turn white.

However, it is the opposite thing in cacti plants. Although these succulents require to be fed occasionally, overfeeding them causes unnecessary stress on the plant making some parts start turning white.

So if you can’t see any other signs of health problems on your cactus, then parts of it could be turning white as a result of too much fertilizer!

Giving your cacti too much fertilizer means that you are overfeeding them and they may turn white.

But don’t worry because there’s an easy way to help fix this problem; simply cut back the amount you’re feeding it and give it a little time to recover.

The plant should start turning green again in a few weeks and will return to its usual self!

Typically, you should only fertilize your cactus once per year. The best time to feed it is during springtime when it is undergrowth.

Avoid feeding it during winter because most cacti species go into dormancy during the cold months and don’t need a lot of nutrients.

6. Corking

If you notice your cactus plant turning white from its base and nearly halfway up the plant, then you could be experiencing corking!

Corking is a common problem that happens to many different types of plants. Corky areas are usually found on the base and outside edges of your plant, but they can be all over it in some cases.

This condition occurs when there’s insufficient airflow for the roots to get oxygen, so water builds up, and the corky areas start to form. It mostly happens if you cover your plant with soil or mulch that’s too thick and prevents air from reaching it.

Remember that a cactus plant affected by corking can look white, but it may also turn brown or pale grey.

The best way to know that your plant is corking is by touching the affected areas and note how it feels. If it’s soft and wet, then this condition is likely to be corking.

7. New Growth

A cactus can also turn white due to the presence of new growth.

This is usually a sign that the plant is in distress or has experienced some injury, so it’s essential to take notice if you see it happening!

If there are no other symptoms on your cactus and some parts keep turning white but not browning, then they may be experiencing an issue with their roots and need to be repotted.

If the leaves turn white on a cactus that is not new, this may be an issue with overwatering or excess fertilizer. It’s important to take notice of any other symptoms as well before you try anything else!

8. Root Rot

If you have been overwatering your cactus or the potting mix has poor drainage, then your cactus may be suffering from root rot.

This condition is characterized by browning and rotting roots as well as a white or yellowish discoloration on the leaves, which will eventually turn them brown too!

If you have noticed that your plant has been having these symptoms for a while, then it’s time to repot into a fresh potting mix.

This should help provide the right amount of drainage your plant needs and prevent it from experiencing any further root rot problems!

If you suspect the whitening is due to overwatering, the first thing you need to do is reduce the amount of water you’re giving it. You should only be watering your cactus when the top inch or two of soil feels dry to touch, not wet!

If your cactus has been turning white due to root rot, either reduce watering or repot the plant.

If things don’t change, then you should proceed to repot it in the new potting mix. Ensure the new potting mix has excellent drainage and also make sure that the pot has holes in the bottom to prevent water from accumulating.

The best time for repotting a cactus is during winter because they go into dormancy during this time, so their roots won’t be disturbed by the new soil or pot!

Conclusion

Sometimes a cactus might turn white due to frost burn, low-level light exposure, or too much watering. These are all conditions that require care and attention in order for the cactus to thrive.

If you suspect your cactus is experiencing any of these problems, please contact your local plant expert for immediate assistance.

Furthermore, you must know how your cacti plants grow so you can properly care for them. With the right information about the diversity of problems that can occur, you’ll be able to identify and address them early.

Happy cactus growing!

Share on email
Share on print
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

read this next

Many people can’t keep their houseplants alive and end up disappointed. However, there is a beautiful solution to having the lush green thumb. Grow low care plants indoors. This article will give you ideas for low maintenance plants that only need to be watered occasionally and will leave with a mini cactus garden to brighten up your home year round.
Making your own cactus soil can save you a lot of money and time. In fact, homemade soil is much better than a commercial potting mix because you can control the amount of ingredients you use. The process is also easy to follow
How to care for a string of pearl plant will probably be the first question that you have. This succulent is one of the more hardy ones, but it does have some specific needs. In this article we will tell you how to care for your string of pearl plant and provide you with tips on how to make sure that you are keeping it happy and healthy.
One of the most important things you need to do to achieve better results is to find the best soil for your plant. Good cactus soil needs to drain quickly while holding on to the right amount of moisture to nourish the plant when need be
What could be worse than seeing your beloved cactus plant slowly dying? Root rot is one of the signs that your cactus is no longer healthy. Identifying the problem can help you save your precious plant.
Many people prefer keeping cacti as a houseplant because they are low-maintenance and easy to care for. As long as you provide it with sufficient light, air, water, drainage, and nutrients, your cactus will not only survive but also thrive
Planting a cactus isn’t very hard to do; however, there are some steps to follow that will ensure that you buy the right one and plant it in the right way. If you’ve never grown a cactus before this article is for you
Cacti are succulents and grow well in dry climates. Because they are native to desert areas, cacti store water in their thick swollen stems, grouping is a root word describing a plant specifically adapted to grow in regions of scarce moisture. Because they are low-maintenance plants, it’s important to tell if a cactus is rotting or merely shriveled.
Succulents are some of the easiest plants to grow in the world. Succulent seeds can take anywhere from 10 to 40 days to germinate depending upon how warm they are kept and what type of seed they are. Let’s learn how to start succulents from seed right now!
A good pot is an essential part of a succulent garden. It provides the right amount of drainage and proper support for your plants to ensure their long and healthy growth. Succulents are a lot like babies: they need a lot of tender love and care. The pot you choose can literally help your plants grow up strong and healthy!
Explore why your cactus is getting sunburned and how to know if it is. Sudden changes in growth conditions and habitat are two primary reasons why cacti might suffer from sunburn. Learn how to take care of your sunburned cactus or prevent it from happening.
having a cactus at home would provide you and your family with many health benefits, the truth is quite the contrary. There are a plethora of benefits to having a cactus at home, helping to improve both your physical and mental condition
Have you had your succulent for some time now? Did it stop growing? Is it turning yellow, or even brown? Reviving a dying succulent is not as difficult as you’d think. Just follow these six easy steps and your succulent will be growing again in no time.

Receive the latest news

Get Our Cacti Newsletter

Stay updated with the latest facts, tips, advice, and more!

Your privacy is important to us.