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Christmas Cactus leaves turning yellow

Posted by kt2000 Ohio (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 30, 07 at 15:37

I have had my Christmas Cactus for probably around 8 years. It has done great and I have repotted it three times...it's really good sized. Just recently some of the leaves on a few of the branches have begun to turn yellow. Also, a bunch of the leaves have fallen off; even green colored ones. I keep it in my window where it gets partial sun and only water maybe once every other week, or longer depending on the soil. Does anybody know why the leaves are turning yellow and falling off? Please help if you can! :)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Christmas Cactus leaves turning yellow

Kt, the most frequent reasons leaves yellow are overwatering, underwatering and insects.
When was the last time you fertilized/repotted? Soil should dry between waterings..soil should look and feel crumbly..
Have you checked your CC for insects? Look under leaves and between stems. Webbs, white cottony patches, brown bumps..
Can you set your plant outside for summmer months? Toni


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RE: Christmas Cactus leaves turning yellow

Hi KT,

I agree w/ Toni & would have guessed overwatering, but if only watered every one to 2 wks, 2 wks is likely too long for this plant now. It's summer, if it's getting hot where you are, pls. check the leaves closely, are they getting wrinkly looking?

Pls. be reminded (even tho' you've had yours 8 yrs. so you must have a clue what you're doing) that these are jungle cacti that hail from the tropics, so they need lots of water esp. in the heat (as long as the mix is very fast draining).

They also generally don't need potting up larger very often as their roots aren't too large.

Also pls. check the soil & rootball to make sure it hasn't become to dry & hard to actually absorb the water. This can happen easily if the mix is high in peat. Good luck!


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RE: Christmas Cactus leaves turning yellow

Could this be the season that they rest? July1 through Sept 30 When is the rest period for these plants? Jungle plants usually rest during our hot months, because we are No. of the equator. Norma


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RE: Christmas Cactus leaves turning yellow

Hiya Norma,

No, I believe this is their time of most active new growth, lots of new growth now (from April/May) thru Sept./Oct., when they slow down & start getting ready to set blooms.

They rest after blooming, so since mine blooms at New Years, it tends to rest through Jan.-Feb. (& looks pretty crappy then too).

I really think the soil may have hardened too much to absorb water (& it's likely running out the sides of the pot). I'd suggest the grower unpot the whole thing to see what's going on underneath. There's really no other way to know for sure.


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RE: Christmas Cactus leaves turning yellow

"I really think the soil may have hardened too much to absorb water (& it's likely running out the sides of the pot). I'd suggest the grower unpot the whole thing to see what's going on underneath. There's really no other way to know for sure."

I concur wholeheartedly with this conclusion. If the problem persists, unpot it and check the roots. If you are using a mix high in peat, water it as usual and then unpot the next day. This will tell you whether the peat is hydrophobic and starving your plant. HTH - Jo


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RE: Christmas Cactus leaves turning yellow

Thank you all for the help! After reading your responses, it triggered in my memory, that after coming home from a week's vacation, that I watered my Christmas Cactus two days in a row, which I have never done before. I did overwater it. I took some of your advice and tried putting it outside, hoping it would help dry it out and recover. It has gotten rained on a couple times, so it is still recovering. Is there anything else that I can do to help it recover faster, or just to make sure it comes back completely? It hasn't lost too many more leaves, but parts of it are still pretty yellow.

Also, when I do water my plant on my normal regular basis, I water it from the bottom up. I have a special pot with a hole in the bottom to water it there. Would the roots still possibly be hardened from watering with doing it that way? I'm wondering if I should still un-pot the whole thing and then re-pot it. Any suggestions would really be appreciated. Thanks to everyone!


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