Why Are My Cactus Spines Turning Yellow?

So, you initially bought a cactus with white spines, but later on, it turned yellow. You might think something is wrong with it, or perhaps you think it might indicate an unhealthy growth. Do not panic yet! Not all cactus that exhibit color change through their spines mean something is wrong with your little plant.

Why are my cactus spines turning yellow? Cactus spines change their color depending on the variety, and it is perfectly natural. Cactus variety such as Mammillaria Elongata exhibits yellow spines and depending on its type, some may be red, and some may be brown. It should not alarm you as a first-time plant owner. As long as the cactus itself does not turn yellow, it should not be a problem.

Close-up of a cactus with yellow spines in a white pot filled with white pebbles as topsoil, set against a clean white background.

What If the Cactus Itself Turns Yellow?

When you notice that your whole cactus is turning yellow, that is the time to be alarmed. It is a big sign that your cactus is dying. So, it is better to detect the problem early than to regret it later. There are several reasons why your cactus is turning yellow.

Inappropriate Watering – This type of problem refers to the overwatering or underwatering of the cactus plant. Any inadequacy of the water intake of your cactus plant can contribute to the problem. Make sure you carefully watch the amount of water you give your plant.

Pests Infestation – What leads to the insect infestation problem? One possible answer is the one we discussed above – overwatering. Moisture on the soil invites different kinds of fungi and bacteria to the roots that multiply later on. That is the start of the infestation. You can notice your cactus getting wobbly and yellow at the base.

Mineral-Deficient Soil – Again, I will emphasize the importance of using the right soil for your cactus and other succulent plants. Sand alone is not enough. It must contain minerals that are necessary for its healthy growth, such as potassium, phosphorous, and nitrogen. You can achieve this by using ready made soil mix, but you can look it up online for instructions and mix it on your own. You can use fertilizers too.

Sudden Change of Environment – This problem usually happens when you just bought your cactus, and it exhibits a yellow color. The sudden change in its environment gives a shock to your cactus. The best thing you can do is to take care of it properly, do the things that can make it adjust to its new environments, such as appropriate watering, adjustment to exposure to sunlight, and re-pot if you need to.

Why Is My Cactus Plant Turning Yellow At The Base?

Yellowing at the base of your cactus plant is a sign that your cactus is dying. It may have been caused by overwatering or underwatering. If it is overwatered, check your soil. Did you use well-drained soil? What about the pot? Does it have enough holes for drainage? The other problem is the underwatering of your plant. Just because it is a cactus, you can neglect it for up to a week or longer without it dying. Make sure you check the soil to see if it is entirely dry. There is no exact timeline on when to water your cactus. If you notice that its soil is becoming very dry, water your cactus right away.

Can I still Save My Yellowing Cactus?

The answer depends on the extent of the damage. For example, if it turned yellowish due to sunburn, you can still save it. The first thing you need to do is to remove it away from the spot where it got sunburned. Second, water your cactus a little bit extra than what you usually do. It will help your cactus repair the damage caused by the sunburn. And lastly, make sure it gets protection from other threats such as bug infestation.

On the other hand, overwatering is a threatening issue. It leads to root rot. When your cactus roots start to rot, there is no way you can save it. That is why it is essential to use well-draining soil in a pot with good drainage.

Are There Yellow Varieties of Cactus?

Yellow varieties of cactus do exist. One example is the California Barrel Cactus. This type of cactus has a long yellow body that is very distinct and covered with spines. This cactus is a native of deserts’ Mojave and Sonoran in the United States. Aside from the California Barrel Cactus, there are also other classified yellow cactus such as the Golden Barrel Cactus and Balloon Cactus. These two mentioned were actually green in body but heavily engulfed with yellow spines.

Close-up of a cactus with yellowish spines in a brown plastic pot, with a softly blurred background.

Yellowing spines are natural. It depends on the variety of cactus. On the other hand, if the whole cactus plant is turning yellow, that is something to watch. It is a dangerous sign that your cactus is dying. It is crucial to watch over your cactus and detect the early signs and correct the cause before it is too late. Want to make your cactus room official? Add this sweet LED neon green cactus sign to your room. It looks fantastic!

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