Why are My Cactus Spines Turning Red?

Ever looked at your cactus to find red spines growing on it? You might feel alarmed at the sight of it, thinking that your cactus might be dying. This could be a few things, and we will cover the different things that it could be.

Why are my cactus spines turning red? When cactuses get red spines on them, consider this a normal part of the maturing process. You don’t have to worry too much. It’s normal for all cactus species as they start growing. Give your cactus extra water when you see the red spines.

Why Do Cactus Spines Turn Red?

As said before, this usually begins as the cactus starts to mature. The cactus might turn red to protect themselves. In particular, this happens during the winter to protect from nature’s elements.

Cactus plants themselves might start to turn red during the winter months, especially in colder climates. That happens as the chlorophyll disperses, and it causes the plant to look red. Your cactus might turn red as a result of getting too much sun. Some plant experts believe this change of color protects the plant from the ultraviolet rays.

Red Spines: Not a Bad Sign

You might see the red spines and worry that your cactus suffered damage somehow. In truth, this happens as a natural part of its growth. Previously, I wrote about a cactus which has black spines, which happens because of the rain. If you’d like to learn more about that article, check it out here.

Like with black spines on your cactus, red spines don’t say anything bad about the cactus. In most cases, your cactus spines will return to normal after a period of time. You don’t have to do anything except water it a little more.

How to Water Your Cactus to Promote Growth

Provided you water your plant correctly, you will eventually encounter the red spines on the cactus. This happens as a natural part of the growth process. You need to first understand how to water your cactus to promote growth. 

Cactuses inhabit the desert where they live by the saying, “Feast or famine,” when speaking about rainfall. This means that when the rain comes, it drenches. Cactus could experience flooding, but at the end of it, they come out fine. Why?

This has to do with the cactus adapting to the environment. They have learned to absorb a lot of water into their root system during this time. You can mirror the cactus’s environment through soaking it. Next, you neglect to water the cactus for at least a week. How often you should water your cactus depends on the species, like a Christmas Cactus needs watering every two to three days. 

What Color Should Cactus Spines Be?

Red spines signal cactus growth, but that isn’t the normal color of the cactus. Your normal color of cactus spines depend on the species of cactus. Saguaro cactus, for example, will usually have gray spines, but they turn black when wet. Christmas Cactus, on the other hand, don’t have sharp spines, and their color is green.

The color of your cactus spines can tell you a lot about your cactus. Red spines will usually be a good sign because it means that your cactus is experiencing growth. Keep giving it a healthy watering.

Red Spines Mean Maturity

Once you see red spines, it means the cactus has reached a new stage of growth. It indicates that your cactus is doing well. Never worry if you see red spines on your cactus because this doesn’t mean anything bad. You might see either red spines or black spines to signal the maturity.

What Happens if My Cactus’s Red Spines Turn White?

As said before, you have nothing to worry about with a cactus that has red spines. When the spines turn back from red into white or another color, you should look at it as a normal part of the maturing process. As the cactus grows older, its spines will change from red to white. Later, the white could turn to another color. You don’t have to worry.

The only times where you might want to check over your cactus closely is when the spines have turned brown. Brown could mean that you have an infestation, but it could just mean that your cactus has aged naturally. You want to take the time to learn specifically why your cactus changed its color.

Your cactus changes color to red spines because it has reached a new stage of growth. In other words, you don’t have to worry too much. You should feel alarmed, however, if you start to see the plant itself turn a color, such as black. This could indicate that your plant has parasites, and it has begun to die. To save the plant, you may have to cut away at portions of the dead plant. Red spines, on the other hand, don’t mean anything bad.

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