Asked on Aug 10, 2017

How can I resolve this Thanksgiving/Christmas cactus problem?

by Anthony

I've been keeping them outside during the summer months and recently found white spots on the Christmas cactus leaves. It's as if the leaves have started to turn partially white (as circled in the photo below).

What could be causing this disease? Is it due to overwatering, underwatering, a lack of fertilizer, or too much early morning sun?

Christmas cactus disease picture
  11 answers
  • Danielle Odin Danielle Odin on Aug 10, 2017

    It is a Christmas cactus and that looks like the soil is too wet.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Aug 10, 2017

    the cactus needs repotting in fresh soil for cactus only,the pot seems not to have drainage holes,the white seems to be from to much direct sun as well.The stems are very pale which also is a indication the cactus is struggling

  • KattywhampusLOL KattywhampusLOL on Aug 10, 2017

    Korevette, Good Evening :) I have done almost an hour's worth of research and reading, trying to find out everything I could that MIGHT cause white spots on Christmas cactus leaves and almost each article I have read just mentions Water Spots. I also read in one of the articles that during the summer that Christmas cactus that has been put outdoors only needs to be watered once a week.

    Ok, so, I did say ALMOST every article, but here is one that mentions something else -- mealybugs and red spider mites -- and what to do about them

    and one more that mentions 4 other things that could affect Christmas Cactus

    This is all I could find with the best information. Most of the sites I found were garden and plant discussion groups and they were repeats of the sites I have posted above, or saying the white spots were water spots.

    Good Luck Korvette, and thank you for using Hometalk.

    • J J on Aug 10, 2017

      Looks like too much sun . It also looks like the leaves are thin. This is a succulent plant. Needs water and a shower of water might help the "leaves" plump up a bit. Let dry between watering, but then water well. It can get windburn, also, so keep in a more sheltered place. Bright light is fine, but direct summer sun can burn the plant. Give a bit of miracle grow once in a while.

  • Danielle Odin Danielle Odin on Aug 10, 2017

    Actually this is not a true cactus. It lives in the jungle where there is high humidity and roots in the leaf mold in the crooks of trees. This and the Easter cactus ( epiphyllium) are close relatives and require somewhat simmilar culcutures.

  • KAREN KAREN on Aug 10, 2017

    could be to much water, not enough water , or to much sun,,

  • Suze Suze on Aug 10, 2017

    Is it sitting in direct sun? If so, it's being stressed. It also shouldn't be allowed to totally dry out between watering. It needs softer, partial sun in summer, stronger in winter. It's a tropical understory plant. Also, water when soil feels dry about an inch into the soil.

  • Terry Terry on Aug 10, 2017

    When mine have done this, I found I was not watering it enough and it was located in too hot an area. I had it on my back porch. Hope this helps....

  • Karen Karen on Aug 10, 2017

    It looks like overwatering and it could be fungus

  • Becki mathewson Becki mathewson on Aug 11, 2017

    Mine never do well outside. Being a cactus unless in a dry barrier area nurturing indoors is better. Fresh potting soil...small drink of plant fertilizer. ..shot in the arm sort of speak. Then near a window getting indirect sunlight. South west is a good choice. Water when top inch is dry. Then water only from the bottom. If you forget to water regularly. Walmart can help. The have pots that will take about 12 days for your plants...before waterin again. Good luck. The should flower for christmas

  • Bon594372 Bon594372 on Mar 30, 2023

    I actually have red leaves forming on my Thanksgiving Cactus. Could this also be a cactus disease? Thanks

    comment photo
  • Mogie Mogie on Apr 03, 2023

    Looks like the leaves got too much sun.