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Why Are My Christmas Cactus Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

Updated: April 14, 2022

Christmas cactus is a popular houseplant that adds color and cheer to any room during the holiday season. But if you notice that the leaves of your Christmas cactus are turning yellow, it can be a cause for concern. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why your Christmas cactus plant leaves may be turning yellow and what you can do to fix the problem.

Lack of Water

One of the most common reasons for yellowing Christmas cactus leaves is a lack of water. Christmas cacti are tropical plants that require moist soil, especially during their growing season. If the soil becomes too dry, the leaves will begin to wilt and turn yellow. To fix this issue, make sure that you water your Christmas cactus regularly and keep the soil moist but not soggy.


While a lack of water can cause yellowing leaves, overwatering can also be a culprit. Christmas cacti are susceptible to root rot, which can occur when the soil is too moist for extended periods. If your Christmas cactus leaves are turning yellow and feel mushy to the touch, it is likely due to overwatering. To fix this problem, allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering again and ensure proper drainage.

Lack of Light

Christmas cacti require bright but indirect light to thrive. If your plant is not receiving enough light, its leaves may begin to turn yellow and drop off. To fix this issue, move your Christmas cactus to a brighter location or provide additional lighting with a grow light.


Christmas cacti prefer temperatures between 60-70°F (15-21°C). If your plant is exposed to temperatures outside of this range or sudden temperature changes, it may cause the leaves to yellow and drop off. To fix this issue, ensure that your Christmas cactus is in a stable environment with consistent temperatures.

Nutrient Deficiency

Yellowing leaves on a Christmas cactus plant can also be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Christmas cacti require regular fertilization during their growing season to promote healthy growth and flowering. If your plant is not receiving enough nutrients, the leaves may turn yellow and appear stunted. To fix this issue, fertilize your Christmas cactus with a balanced fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.

Pests and Diseases

Finally, yellowing leaves on a Christmas cactus can also be caused by pests or diseases. Spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects are common pests that can infest Christmas cacti and cause yellowing leaves. Fungal diseases such as root rot can also cause yellowing and wilting of leaves. To fix this issue, identify the pest or disease and treat the plant accordingly with insecticides or fungicides.


Can I save my Christmas cactus if its leaves are turning yellow?

Yes, you can save your Christmas cactus if its leaves are turning yellow by identifying the cause of the problem and taking corrective action. In most cases, providing proper watering and lighting conditions will help revive the plant.

Should I prune yellow leaves from my Christmas cactus?

Pruning yellow leaves from your Christmas cactus may help improve its appearance, but it is not necessary for the plant’s health. If you decide to prune yellow leaves, use clean scissors or pruning shears and make clean cuts close to the stem.

How often should I water my Christmas cactus?

Water your Christmas cactus when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. During the growing season (spring-summer), water your plant more frequently, about once a week. During the dormant season (fall-winter), water less frequently, about once every two weeks.

In conclusion, yellowing leaves on a Christmas cactus can be caused by a variety of factors, including lack of water, overwatering, lack of light, temperature changes, nutrient deficiency, pests, or diseases. By identifying the cause of the problem and taking corrective action, you can save your Christmas cactus and enjoy its beauty for years to come.

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