A cactus is a succulent perennial plant from the flowering plant family Cactaceae. It mainly grows in hot and dry areas and is found in North and South America.
Although some species grow in humid areas, most Cacti are drought-resistant and love growing in dry environments. They are capable of storing water, and most species are leafless to avoid water loss.
Cacti have edible parts that can be cooked or eaten raw and offer lots of health benefits. They are rich in dietary fibers and improve your digestion system.
Excess amount of fiber reduces cholesterol levels, thus benefitting your heart. In addition to that, studies have shown that cacti can support weight loss as well. It can be boiled, deep fried, grilled, or even squeezed to make juice.
With that out of the way, many farmers have noticed discoloration in cactus plants. If you are growing cactus plants in your yard, you’d know that they have a vibrant green color. So, when they change their color, there is definitely something wrong with them.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, this article is for you. In this guide, we have compiled some common reasons why cactus plants may turn light green and their viable solutions so you can stop pulling your hair out. Let’s delve deeper without any further ado!
How to Fix Cactus Turning Light Green?
Has your cactus plant turned light green recently? Here are a few possible reasons.
- Low Exposure to Sunlight
Not enough sunlight is one of the primary reasons for discoloration in cactus plants. They are sun-loving plants and need a lot of sunlight for optimal growth. These plants do not have leaves, but like every other plant, they also carry out photosynthesis to produce food and energy.
It takes place in their stems, and as we all know, plants require sunlight for photosynthesis.
These plants need at least ten hours of sunlight to maintain their natural green color. If they don’t receive sufficient sunlight, their health will start to deteriorate, and they will likely lose the depth of their color.
This is the reason why so many cactus plants die in the winter when they can’t get enough sunlight.
If that’s the case, your cactus plant will likely grow taller. Plants that are starving of sunlight tend to grow taller to gain more sunlight. Cactus plants usually grow 12-18 meters long. So, if you notice abnormal growth, insufficient sunlight could be the reason.
If you are growing your cactus plants indoors, the simple solution for this problem would be to relocate them to a sunny place. If they are already in the yard, check to see if some obstacle is blocking sunlight. In some cases, cactus plants did not get enough sunlight because they were shaded by nearby trees.
- Direct Sunlight
As mentioned earlier, cactus plants thrive in sunlight. Since they are drought-resistant and sun-loving plants, you may want to keep them in full sun. However, it is seen that harsh sunlight can also cause them to lose their color.
So, if you have kept them under direct sunlight for too long, they may turn light green or yellow.
It is recommended to place your cactus plants where they will get morning sunlight, then relocate them to a shady area to protect them from harsh sunlight during the hottest part of the day.
Installing a shade cloth would be a good idea to prevent your cactus plants from getting sunburned. A wide variety of these clothes is available in the market nowadays. They usually come in black and green colors to absorb sunlight.
The best thing about these shade clothes is that they do not block the sunlight completely. Regardless of the temperature in your area, your cactus plants need a lot of sunlight to flourish.
Shade clothes are made of different materials to let different percentages of sunlight penetrate through them. And yes, they do not affect the quality of the light spectrum, making them a perfect choice for many landscapers.
Installing a shade cloth is a pretty straightforward process. Start by attaching it to some anchor point on your lawn. If there aren’t any, consider installing wooden stakes. Next, place the shade cover where it will protect your cactus plants from peak sunlight in the afternoon.
And that’s pretty much it! Place your cactus plants under this shade cloth in the afternoon to prevent sunburn.
- Insufficient Water
Inadequate water intake is another reason why your cactus plant might be turning light green. Although these plants don’t require as much water compared with other plants, they may start turning light green if you neglect it for too long.
If your cactus plants turn light green during drought conditions, you will need to water them more frequently.
Having said that, it is pertinent to mention that overwatering can also damage your cactus plants. Therefore, it is advised to check the top few inches of the soil before watering your cactus plants. If it feels dry, your plants need watering.
On the contrary, if the soil is moist, it indicates that the soil has enough water. If so, refrain from watering your plants.
- Dead Potting Soil
Dead potting soil with insufficient nutrients can also lead to discoloration in cactus plants. Usually, landscapers do not dispose of the soil of a dead plant and reuse it to grow cacti.
However, cactus plants need high-quality soil with enough nutrients for the best growth. So, if the soil is the culprit, consider transplanting your plants.
Fertilizing is another effective way to increase nutrients in the soil. A fertilizer is a substance that contains vital nutrients that your plants need to grow properly. If your soil lacks nutrients, consider applying fertilizer. Nowadays, all-purpose fertilizers are readily available all over the world.
However, it is important to note that some fertilizers have side effects and can damage your cactus plants. So, it would be better to reach out to a botanist before applying fertilizer.
They will tell you whether your cactus plants need fertilizer or not and will recommend a suitable plant food that will not cause any problems later.
While fertilizing, make sure to apply just enough fertilizer because overfertilizing can disturb the nutrient balance in the soil. Guidelines regarding fertilizer amount are usually given on the package.
So, do not forget to read those instructions before fertilizing your soil. If done properly, it will restore the green color of your cactus plants.
The Bottom Line
Cactus plants are drought-resistant plants that usually grow in deserts and dry areas. When stressed, they sometimes change their color to light green. It usually happens when they do not receive adequate sunlight or get direct sunlight for a long time.
Low water intake and insufficient soil nutrients can also lead to discoloration in cactus plants. So, make sure to water them regularly and fertilize them when needed.