You bought an easter cactus loving the look of it, but you soon find it dropping leaves. What gives? A common problem with the plant, many people don’t know how to address it when the Easter Cactus starts dropping leaves. We’re going to cover why this happens and how to address it.
Why is my easter cactus dropping leaves? Overwatering the Easter Cactus is the main culprit behind dropping leaves. Check the soil. You may not have overwatered it. In some cases, you used the wrong soil mixture, which holds the moisture in too well, and this causes overwatering.
Easter Cactus Drainage Common Problem for Many Cactuses
All cactuses need sandier soil to let the moisture pass through more easily. Cactuses can handle copious amounts of water, but the water can’t remain in the soil for too long or root rot occurs. When you go to grow an Easter Cactus, it prefers soil natural to its environment where it thrives on rocks and trees.
To grow well, the easter cactus requires rough soil. That means you would use potting soil with a mixture of:
- Tree bark
Especially for easter cactus, they prefer pumice, so you’d want to use more pumice in the soil.
Bugs Can Cause It to Drop Leaves
Scales, in particular, like to feed off the Easter Cactus, and it can cause the plant to shed its leaves as the insects suck the fluid from the stem and leaves. You can spot a heavy infestation of scales because the plant will turn yellow. Parts of the cactus will begin to die, but if left untreated, the entire plant will die.
To kill scale on your easter cactus and stop the leaves from dropping, you can apply Dawn liquid dish soap to kill the insects and keep them from returning. This alternative has advantages over using insecticidal soaps.
Shedding Leaves in Dormancy Period?
The easter cactus, also known as the spring cactus, has a dormancy period beginning in December and going until late March. During this time, you want to encourage your cactus to enter dormancy. Minimize the watering and decrease the fertilizer as it enters dormancy because if done incorrectly, the leaves will shed more in the dormancy period.
You want to apply just enough water to prevent the leaves from wilting. Maintain nighttime temperatures between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Several processes happen during dormancy to help your easter cactus feel healthy.
Spot Changes Can Cause Dropping Leaves
Let’s say that you had put your easter cactus outside to feel the summer sun on its leaves. Come the autumn season before the first freeze, you bring it back inside so that it doesn’t die. The sudden change in placement and temperature, however, has been known to cause some of its leaves to fall off.
You can’t do much about the shock it experiences from changing spots except to let it drop off some of its leaves. As you move your cactus indoors, beware of putting it next to drafty windows or a heater vent because this can exacerbate the problem.
The Right Lighting
Easter Cactus usually don’t like direct sunlight. While they like the sun, they don’t do as well in direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight works best for the Easter Cactus and the Christmas Cactus. Using indirect sunlight can cause your cactus to bloom on cue. Bright but indirect sunlight yields the best results for the Easter Cactus.
Direct sunlight will burn the leaves of your Easter Cactus and cause them to wilt. Left unchecked, the cactus will start to die. Although, the Thanksgiving Cactus does fine in direct sunlight.
Overwatered Easter Cactus
The chief cause of problems in the Easter Cactus, such as when the leaves start to fall off it, comes from when you overwater it. You want to water the cactus thoroughly, but once you have watered it, you won’t water it again until the top half of the soil feels dry. Never let water stand in a cactus because it can cause root rot, which kills your plant.
If you know for certain that you have overwatered your Easter Cactus, the best thing that you can do is to take the plant out of the pot and re-pot it with new and dry soil. This gives your Easter Cactus a fresh start and can revive it.
Easter Cactus usually only requires water every three to six weeks. You have minimum maintenance with this plant.
Any of these things can cause your Easter Cactus to have leaves that fall off the plant. Check some of these factors to see if that isn’t the cause. In many cases, if it isn’t because the Easter Cactus has gone into dormancy, it has to do with overwatering or underwatering the cactus. Be aware of the temperature and type of lighting that your cactus gets as well.