Why Is My Cactus Turning Light Green?

If you notice your cactus turning light green, it could be due to a few different reasons. First, it could be a sign that your cactus is getting too much sun.

Cacti are succulents and therefore can store water in their stems and leaves. Too much sun can cause the water to evaporate, causing the cactus to turn light green.

Another reason your cactus might be turning light green is that it’s not getting enough water. Again, because cacti are succulents, they can store water in their stems and leaves.

If the cactus isn’t getting enough water, it will start to use the water it has stored, causing the cactus to turn light green.

If you’re not sure why your cactus is turning light green, it’s best to consult with a professional.

Why Is My Cactus Turning Light Green?

Taking care of plants isn’t always easy, and beginners often encounter several problems during their growth period.

Although cacti are low-maintenance plants, caring for them can be challenging at times as they typically grow in the desert, and replicating the same environment in your homes may not always be possible.

These beautifully colored plants may turn pale and light green when not receiving the appropriate care they require to grow and thrive.

Cacti turning light green isn’t uncommon and can be treated promptly if you diagnose the issue timely.

This blog covers the reasons for your cactus turning light green and the steps you can take to treat it.

Reasons Why Your Cactus Is Turning Light Green

Here are a few reasons why your cactus is turning light green:

It May Be Receiving Inadequate Sunlight

Low exposure to sunlight is one of the leading reasons your cactus plant may be turning light green.

Cactus plants need at least 10 hours of daylight to grow, thrive, and maintain their fresh green color.

If the plant does not receive sufficient sunlight, its health will deteriorate and will start getting paler by the day.

If your plant is getting taller than usual, it is probably because it is trying to adapt and reach out to the sunlight.

This growth is an obvious indication of your cactus not receiving sufficient light. If you have placed your cactus plant outdoors, ensure no obstacles blocking its sunlight.

Place your cactus in warm parts of your room and even under direct sunlight.

Similarly, too much sunlight may cause the cactus to develop sunburns, leading it to turn light green.

Additionally, if you have repotted your cactus plant recently, it needs to be placed in a brighter spot before new sprouting appears.

It is common for cacti to die in the winter months due to insufficient sunlight. However, you can create artificial light using LED plant bulbs to tackle this issue.

It would be best to ensure that you have not overexposed your cactus to artificial lighting, as this can also cause their color to change over time.

Over Exposure to Sunlight

Desert plants need sufficient direct sunlight to do well. However, placing your cactus in an area that receives too much intense sunlight can cause the cactus to turn light green.

You can prevent this by placing the cactus plant in the shade for a few hours daily. By blocking the sunlight using a screen, you can reverse the damage caused. 

Moreover, if you’re thinking about changing the location of a cactus plant, be sure to do it gradually, allowing it to adapt and create its natural defenses.

Immediately transferring your cactus plant from a shaded area to a bright sunny spot will not be good for the pant.

Temperature Changes

Another reason why your cactus is turning light green could possibly be because of the temperature.

Cactus plants aren’t very good with temperature change despite being known to have survived in the toughest of climatic conditions.

Your cactus plant may have turned light green after being placed close to an object emitting heat.

Similarly, if you haven’t changed its location, consider if the overall temperature of the environment around it has changed.

You shouldn’t worry too much; you only need to move the cactus plant to a cooler place.

You’ll notice improvement and restoration of its original color after the plant’s position has been changed.

Be sure never to water your cactus plant suddenly, as this could be counterproductive if you feel it has changed color due to heat.

Insufficient or Excess Fertilizer

Over and under-fertilization can also cause your cactus plant to turn light green.

Although cactus plants can do without fertilizers, this is an excellent way to boost and improve their health.

Applying too much fertilizer to your cactus can lead to salts building up on the soil’s surface, preventing moisture from reaching the roots.

We recommend adding fertilizers after at least two to four weeks to avoid over-fertilizing your cactus. 

You May Have Under or Over Watered Your Cactus

Insufficient water is another reason your cactus plant might turn light green.

Although cactus plants can survive for extended durations without water, neglecting them for too long can harm their health.

You can inspect the water component of your cactus pot by checking the top few inches of the soil.

Simply dig your finger in a few inches to check the moisture level. If you find that the soil is dry and dehydrated, this is your sign to water it more frequently.

However, if the soil is relatively moist, you don’t need to increase the water supply of your cactus plant, as overwatering can cause root rotting.

Moreover, overwatering also causes the stems to turn soft and mushy, eventually discoloring.

If your cactus plant is experiencing root infections, take the plant completely out of the soil and cut off the rotten roots.

Then, shake off the excess dirt to relax the healthy roots and treat your cactus plant using an eco-friendly fungicide.

Next, it is time to repot your plant. Find a new pot, add a good quality cactus potting mixture and ensure proper drainage holes are present at the bottom of the plant’s pot.

Lastly, adequately water your cactus at regular intervals to ensure hydration.

It Is Not Getting Enough Nutrients

A nutrient deficiency can also lead to your cactus plant turning light green. Cactus plants require a healthy balance of magnesium, phosphorus, and nitrogen to survive.

If the cactus is not getting its required share of nutrients, its skin will weaken and turn light green.

Moreover, if your cactus plant has rotten roots, it will not be able to absorb sufficient nutrients, depriving it further.

You can enhance the soil quality by adding a nutrient-enriched fertilizer at regular intervals.

It is recommended to seek help from a local expert if your compost mixture is not delivering the required nutrients to your cactus.

Furthermore, if you cannot revive the potting soil, you may have to transplant your cactus (depending upon the time of the year).

Cactus plants do best in high-quality porous soils, so when repotting your cactus, be sure to use soil that best fits their needs!

It Is Infected by Insects, Pests, or Plant Diseases

Cactus plants are vulnerable to pest and insect attacks which can cause their leaves to turn light green.

These bugs suck essential nutrients from the cactus plant, causing it to turn pale.

The common bugs to look out for are mealy bugs and spider mites, which usually cause this color change.

The key to combating pest infestation is to take immediate action when you see even the earliest signs.

These pests have a rapid growth rate and can surprise you with how fast they are.

Two common remedies to rectify this are applying Neem oil or using a pesticide.

Cactus plants are vulnerable to diseases as well which cause discoloration.

Remember to watch out for signs of any deficiency disease when investigating why your plants have lost color or turned light green.

There are two particular diseases that you need to look out for:

  • Fungal diseases are a common reason why cactus plants display a light green tint. These diseases cause discoloration because they inhibit the plant’s water transport throughout its stem and leaves. Antifungal treatments can solve this issue, but it is best solved in their earlier stages.
  • The second disease is related to a deficiency of minerals. Usually, this refers to Iron deficiency in Cacti, which leads them to have a light green color. You can meet iron deficiencies by increasing watering and using fertilizers. Both remedies bank on making it easy for the plant to absorb nutrients which will sort your issue.

Tips for Caring For Your Cactus

Here are some essential care tips for keeping your cactus happy and healthy:

  • Cactus plants love soaking in the sun, so if you want to keep them indoors, ensure they are placed next to a south-facing window. You can place your cactus plants outside at night when the temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Moreover, It is also recommended to keep them away from air-conditioned areas.
  • Water your cactus every 2 to 4 weeks to ensure optimal growth. Avoid overwatering it as it may cause root rotting.
  • Cactus plants thrive in porous and nutrient-rich soils. Use a good soil mix for potting your cactus plant. Look for a soil mix that has more sand and rocks. Also, don’t overwater the cactus plant, and only water as per a set schedule. Otherwise, you risk causing the cactus’s roots to rot. A fertilizer with a 20-20-20 ratio is recommended.