With their daring shapes and delightful green hue variations, cacti are one of the sophisticated plants you can find and are suitable in different home decor styles. Not only that, caring for them is not difficult at all, making it quite alarming to see parts of your beloved cactus start to turn brown.
Fortunately, there are some tricks to identify what really causes a cactus to turn brown, and at the same time, how to save them.
Read on to learn more.
CACTUS ROOT ROT
You'll know it's root rot if the browning starts at the base of the cactus, and at the same time, the stems feel soft, mushy, and look yellow.
Now, saving a root rotted cactus can be a bit difficult but not impossible. As soon as you see early signs of rot developing, immediately stop watering and transplant it in porous and well-drained soil. But if the rot is already advanced, you can still try saving it by cutting away the parts with all signs of rot along with some of the healthy tissues to make sure it wouldn't spread.
CORKING SIGNS OF AGE
Corking is a normal part of an aging cactus. It involves the change in color and texture of a cactus, which usually begins from the base of the cactus and moves upward. So if the browning of your cactus starts from the top down, then it's not corking. It's most likely a sign of sunburn or other issues.
And sadly, as with our own aging, there's no way to prevent corking, nor there's a way to slow down its process.
Although cactus are fairly hardy, they are still susceptible to sunburn, especially when exposed to high-intensity sunlight.
Depending on the gravity of the burn, the damage may appear in brown, black, or tan in color patches. But normally, the more intense the sunburn, the darker the discoloration will be.
Sunburn damage can easily be prevented by transferring the cactus or covering it with a shade cloth once it receives the sunlight it needs for the day (5-6 hours of sunlight a day should be enough).
In case you catch your cactus showing some early signs of sunburn damage (like yellowing on the surface of the plant), better move it to a different spot where it can get less intense sunlight to save it.
SCALE INSECT INFESTATION
Scales are small insects that are usually mistaken to be brown spots appearing on a cactus due to their hard brown shell coverings. They weaken the cactus and make them look yellow, as they suck its juices through its leaves.
To remove the scales, all you have to do is to spray your cactus with a stream of water or wash it with a weak solution of detergent, then kill it using a cotton swab to dab horticultural oil on each one.
SPIDER MITE DAMAGE
Red spider mites are small reddish-brown insects that look like dust when viewed by the naked eye. The first sign of red spider mites on the cactus will be webbing and small brown spots on young growth.
These pests like hot, dry conditions and dislike high humidity, so misting and overhead watering can discourage and reduce their incidence. But to totally get rid of these pests, you can use a miticide according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Yes, cactus can sometimes be difficult. But being able to tell the difference of issues would definitely help you take better care of them. Plus, you'll easily be able to apply the right trick to save it and grow a happy cactus all year long.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comments section below.
You can also watch this video to see some of the tips in action:
SEE MORE ABOUT HOW TO GRAFT A CACTUS
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