Why is my cactus turning light green? causes & solutions

Why is my cactus turning light green causes & solutions

Or, that moment when we discover that our beloved cactus has changed its color to bright green, could it be more frustrating than that? This phenomenon of color change indicates that something is bothering our cactus, which is his way of signaling distress to us. Just before the cactus dies completely, there is a way to get our cactus back to being a healthy cactus. In the following article, I will review why cactus plants change color and how to fix it.

Cacti can change from its natural color to a light green color due to various factors. The majority of the reasons for the color change of cactus are related to environmental conditions such as direct sunlight exposure and extreme temperatures, some of the reasons for cactus to change color can be attributed to how we care for the cactus such as watering issues and nutritional deficiencies, and finally, some of the reasons for cactus to change colors are not our fault at all, but are because of pests that damaged our cactus. Let’s explore each of the causes in depth now so we can better understand your cactus change in color.

The most common reasons for Light Green Cactus Color and Solutions

The most common reasons for Light Green Cactus Color and Solutions
The most common reasons for Light Green Cactus Color and Solutions


Cacti are renowned for their resilience in various environmental conditions, but the amount of sunlight they receive plays a crucial role in their overall health and appearance. While they require ample light to thrive, too much or too little sunlight can cause issues. A cactus subjected to low light conditions may gradually turn light green as it struggles to produce enough chlorophyll to maintain its vibrant color. On the other hand, excessive exposure to intense sunlight can lead to sunburn and subsequent light green or yellowish discoloration, indicating stress. Striking the right balance is essential, ensuring the cactus receives adequate light without being scorched by too much sunlight.

​Placing the cactus in a location with enough sunlight but avoiding direct exposure to the scorching afternoon sun is crucial. In contrast, if the cactus is not getting the right amount of light, relocating it to a spot with better lighting conditions can help it regain its deep green color and thrive again. The key lies in understanding the cactus’s specific light requirements and providing the ideal sunlight to foster its growth and maintain its captivating green hue.

Discoloration and temperature

one of the reasons for the light green cactus color revolves around temperature-related issues and discoloration. Extreme temperature stress, whether from cold or high temperatures, can significantly impact a cactus’s health and cause it to lose its vibrant green hue.

Cold temperatures can hinder the plant’s metabolic processes, affecting its ability to produce chlorophyll, which is responsible for the characteristic green color in most cacti species. On the other hand, exposure to scorching high temperatures can lead to heat stress, manifesting as light green or yellowish patches on the cactus’s surface. Additionally, rapid temperature changes, especially from hot to cold or vice versa, can put additional stress on the plant, resulting in discoloration.

To mitigate these issues, it is essential to protect cacti from extreme temperature fluctuations by providing suitable insulation during both cold winter months and hot summer periods. Properly shading the cactus from intense sunlight and keeping it in a temperature-stable environment will aid in maintaining its lush green color and promoting its overall well-being.

Watering and Overwatering

Another possible reason for the light green cactus color is often related to watering practices, particularly overwatering or underwatering. The best way to maintain a vibrant green cactus is to provide enough water to meet its needs. Too much water can lead to excess water in the soil, causing root rot and impeding the plant’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, resulting in a paler appearance. An overwatered cactus may display signs of stress, with parts of the plant turning light green or yellowish. On the other hand, a cactus subjected to too little water can experience water loss and lack of hydration, also leading to a light green or dull color. 

The key is to strike the right balance by thoroughly watering when the soil is dry, allowing the excess water to drain. Regularly monitor the moisture levels in the soil and adjust your watering routine accordingly to prevent both overwatering and underwatering, thus ensuring the cactus maintains its radiant green color and remains healthy.

Nutritional deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies are among the most common reasons for light green cactus color, as cacti depend on specific nutrients to retain their vibrant green hue. When the soil lacks essential elements like nitrogen, the cactus may display signs of nutrient deficiency by turning light green. To address this issue, the best way is to ensure the cactus receives enough nutrients from the soil. Choose a well-balanced cactus soil mix that provides nutrients and promotes good drainage to prevent soggy conditions. Avoid using regular potting soil or soil mixes that retain too much moisture, as this can exacerbate nutrient deficiencies and hinder the cactus’s health. Transplant the cactus into fresh soil that meets its specific nutrient requirements and maintains adequate soil moisture levels. Regularly monitor the plant’s health, and if signs of nutrient deficiencies persist, consider using specialized cactus fertilizers to supplement the soil and promote a healthy, rich green color in the cactus.

Pests or diseases

Pests or diseases can be among the most common causes of light green cactus color, as they can significantly impact the plant’s health and appearance. Infestations of pests like mealy bugs or bacterial infections can weaken the cactus, leading to stress and alterations in its color. For instance, a fungal infection can result in brown spots on the cactus, causing it to lose its vibrant green hue.

To combat these issues, proper care is essential. Regularly inspect your cactus for signs of pests or diseases and take immediate action if any are found. Isolate the affected cactus to prevent the spread of infection to other plants. Provide enough nutrients and ensure the cactus grows in a well-draining soil mix to bolster its disease resistance. Maintaining a healthy environment and promptly addressing pest or disease issues can protect your cactus from distress and prevent it from turning light green or exhibiting signs of a dying cactus.

Cactus Fertilization

Cactus fertilization can be a common problem that leads to light green cactus color. While providing nutrients to cacti is essential for their health and growth, using too much fertilizer can have adverse effects. Excess fertilizer, or too much fertilizer too frequently, can cause nutrient imbalances, resulting in a light green or pale appearance in the cactus. The best way to avoid this issue is to follow a proper fertilization schedule and use a balanced, diluted fertilizer formulated for cacti. Providing the right amount of nutrients at the appropriate intervals will ensure the cactus remains healthy and maintains its vibrant green color while preventing any detrimental effects associated with over-fertilization.

Can cacti recover from discoloration?

Can cacti recover from discoloration
Can cacti recover from discoloration?

Yes, cacti can recover from discoloration under certain circumstances. If the discoloration is not due to irreversible issues like cactus rot or severe damage, there is a chance for the cactus to regain its healthy appearance. For desert cacti, the best thing to do is identify the root cause of the discoloration. Correcting these issues is crucial if it’s due to overwatering or poor drainage. Rotting cactus caused by waterlogged conditions should be addressed immediately by removing the affected parts and allowing the cactus to dry out. The pale green color can signify stress due to too much sunlight, lack of nutrients, or extreme temperature fluctuations. Moving the cactus to a location with more suitable light and providing proper care, including balanced fertilization and well-draining soil, can help it recover its vibrant green color. Additionally, placing the cactus in dry climates, similar to their natural habitat, can contribute to their recovery and overall well-being. Patience and attentive care are vital to assisting the cactus in restoring its healthy appearance after experiencing discoloration.


Hey, My name is Liat and I am addicted to house plants! I have at home more than 50 different types of plants of all kinds - succulents, cactus, tropical plants, orchids and more! Feel free to share the blog with friends on social networks.

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