Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Red (5 Reasons And Solutions)

christmas cactus leaves turning red

Christmas Cactus (Schlumberger) got its second name due to the abundant flowering in December. How beautiful a flowering plant looks on the windowsill when there is snow and blizzards outside the window.

Provided the plant is properly cared for, it can delight you with beautiful flowers every year. The flower is quite unpretentious to care for, so it can be found in many gardeners.

But, despite its undemanding content, the Christmas Cactus can be attacked by pests and various diseases. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the main causes of Christmas cactus leaves turning red.

What Does A Reddened Christmas Cactus Look Like?

Often novice growers notice that the Christmas Cactus bush changes color, while the foliage turns red. Often there is a situation that, together with reddening, the bush begins to fade, and the stems become soft, while the Christmas Cactus does not form flower buds.

Why Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Red Dangerous?

If not only redness is observed, but also softening of the leaves and stems, then, most likely, the flower is supercooled.

Important! In this situation, the plant can be saved only if the lower segments of the flower are not damaged and remain healthy. If not, the flower is dead.

check out the guide on Feed Christmas Cactus with home remedies.

Why Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Red? (5 Reasons)

The condition of the plant directly depends on the conditions of care and maintenance. The following factors can influence the reddening of the leaves of the Christmas Cactus.

Bright Sunlight

The Christmas Cactus does not like a lot of light, since in nature it grows in the shade of trees like an epiphyte. Therefore, for growing at home, you need to choose western or eastern windows, and in the summer it is better to rearrange the plant to the north side of the apartment. If you do not provide the Christmas Cactus with shading in the summer, then spots of a purple or red hue will appear on its leaves, gradually the segments will turn red completely and will begin to fall.

Growth Of New Segments

If the tips of the leaves turn red in the spring, then it is too early to sound the alarm, since at this time the plant begins to grow rapidly. Redness, in this case, is due to the formation of new segments.

Incorrect Feeding

In order for the flower to develop well, it needs to be fed periodically, and this must be done correctly. Fertilization begins in mid-October and stops feeding the plant after flowering. Fertilizers designed for cacti and succulents are suitable for the Christmas Cactus. If the leaves turn red, and the plant is healthy, then most likely there is not enough phosphorus in the soil.

Excessive Watering

The plant loves moisture, but waterlogging is destructive for it. It is worth watering the flower often, but not abundantly – the top layer of the earthen coma should dry out. If moisture stagnation appears, then the roots of the plant begin to rot, which immediately affects the shade of the foliage – it turns red, and the Christmas Cactus may die.

Hypothermia May Cause Of Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Red

Leaves can turn red from non-observance of the temperature regime, for example, drafts that the plant gets under when airing the room. Not only the ground part of the flower, but also the roots can get hypothermia.

From the above, we can conclude that there are a lot of reasons why the leaves of the Christmas Cactus can turn red. But if you correctly approach the care of the plant, this problem can be avoided.

Reference! The Christmas tree responds very well to proper care with vigorous flowering and healthy appearance, and becomes a real decoration of the home flower collection.

Treatment For Christmas Cactus Leaves Turning Red: Step By Step Guide

First of all, as mentioned above, the plant needs proper care. This is usually enough for the leaves to return to their original green color.

If the cause of the reddening of the leaves was waterlogging, then most likely the roots of the flower were affected by rot. How to save a plant?

step by step treatment for Christmas cactus leaves turning red:

  1. examine the flower well for pests, if any, then the ground part of the plant must be treated with special preparations;
  2. prepare new soil, antiseptic composition and sharp scissors, it is better if it is a small garden pruner;
  3. remove the plant from the pot, gently free the roots from the ground;
  4. rinse the root system under a stream of warm, running water;
  5. inspect for decay;
  6. remove all damaged fragments with a sterile instrument, grabbing 1-3 cm of healthy tissue;
  7. treat all sections with an antiseptic – it can be crushed activated carbon, ash or simple brilliant green;
  8. leave the plant to air dry for 2-4 hours;
  9. lay a drainage layer on the bottom of the pot – perlite, fine gravel;
  10. close the drainage with soil;
  11. dip the roots into the pots and sprinkle with earth.

Attention! The roots of the Christmas Cactus are very delicate, so it is better not to press the earth, but to compact it with a little shaking.

Immediately after transplanting, the plant is not watered, leaving it alone in a shaded place for 2-3 days.

Prevent Christmas Cactus Leaves From Turning Red

In order for the plant to be healthy, it must be properly looked after, for this:

  • Soil. The Christmas Cactus loves loose, permeable nutrient soils, with small inclusions of different fractions – this can be tree bark, coal, perlite or broken brick. It should be borne in mind that the drainage should occupy 1/3 of the flowerpot.
  • Air humidity. If the room is dry, then the flower needs to be constantly sprayed, the plant responds well to water procedures – take a shower every week.
  • Temperature. There are no special recommendations here, it is important that the air temperature does not fall below +10 degrees.
  • Provide proper lighting– the Christmas Cactus will feel good on the northern windows and north-western window sills, away from direct sunlight. If all windows face south, then the plant is best placed in a room where only scattered rays penetrate. The Christmas Cactus can be taken out into the fresh air in the summer, but it should be in the shade.
  • Watering. The water should be at room temperature and settled. It is necessary to water the plant only when the top layer of the earthen coma dries out by 5 cm. It should be understood that the lower the temperature in the room, the less often the plant is watered. It is good if watering is combined with spraying.
  • Top dressing Fertilizers need to be applied in a timely manner during the active growing season of the plant – from autumn to spring. The frequency of feeding is 1 time in 2 weeks, while it is worth alternating organic fertilizers and mineral complexes.

If you take into account all the recommendations for growing this magnificent flower, then it will delight you with rapid flowering every year.

Is Christmas Cactus A Succulent or not do you want to know?

Other Diseases And Pests Affecting Christmas Cactus Plant

In addition to the above, when growing a Christmas Cactus, flower growers may face other problems:

  1. The leaves wilted, became pale, and lifeless – there are several reasons, pest damage, sunburn or drying out of an earthen coma in a pot. Examine the plant and balance the care.
  2. Brown spots have appeared on the leaf segments – sound the alarm, the plant has been hit by a scale insect. To combat this pest, simple laundry soap is suitable, which needs to be treated with leaves from all sides. if this does not work, you can buy an insecticide at the store and spray the flower.
  3. The bunches of white insects on the leaves are a mealybug. You can fight it with soapy water, for this you need to wet a cloth and wash off all the pests. Hard to reach places, just spray with soap solution. If it does not help, buy a special preparation in a flower shop and process the plant according to the instructions on the package.
  4. The plant is lethargic and sheds buds – it is a spider mite. It can be seen immediately, on the plant, upon close examination, you can see a thin cobweb, while the leaves themselves will be covered with small brown specks. It is difficult to remove this parasite, since microscopic insects can even settle in curtains. Therefore, once every 2-4 days, give the plant a shower with soapy water or buy a special preparation that should be used to treat not only the plant, but also the space around it. If the tick is not found, then stir the plant in the pot, it is possible that the roots have rotted.

Important! If the drug also turned out to be ineffective, one thing remains – cut off all damaged areas, otherwise, the plant will die.

Christmas Cactus is a gorgeous, flowering plant that can be susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. But don’t worry too much, just give your houseplant a little more time and attention. Remember this is a living organism that feels your attitude towards it.


Read the above guide carefully if you facing your Christmas cactus leaves turning red. This problem can be a sign that the plant is not getting enough light. Other reasons for leaves turning red can include too much water, overfertilization, or a temperature change. If you are seeing your Christmas cactus leaves turning red, try adjusting the plant’s environment to see if that fixes the problem.

I am an avid plant enthusiast and horticulture aficionado with a deep passion for houseplants. With years of nurturing green companions, my expertise in caring for indoor foliage is well-rooted. Through my journey, I've cultivated insights into optimal plant care, propagation techniques, and creating vibrant indoor ecosystems. Join me as we explore the verdant world of houseplants together. Let's turn your living space into a thriving oasis of botanical beauty. Connect with me on and Facebook and explore more at Houseplantspro. 🌿🪴