Thanksgiving cactus segments yellowing #727779 - Ask Extension


Thanksgiving cactus segments yellowing #727779

Asked September 29, 2020, 2:05 PM EDT

This Thanksgiving cactus is five or six years old, grown from a cutting.  I noticed that segments on some of the branches started yellowing around the edges.  I also own other Thanksgiving cactuses and none of them have ever done this.  

I researched this online first and couldn’t find an answer.

Thank you.

Harnett County North Carolina

Expert Response

Hello and thank you for your question! 

Sometimes yellowing can be the result of too much sunlight.  In their natural environment, holiday cacti usually hang out in dappled shade/indirect light. 

Additionally, answering these questions can help pinpoint the problem: 
  • Where is the plant kept?  In how much light?  Next to a heater, another object, etc?
  • How often has this plant been fertilized?  What kind of fertilizer?
  • How often is the plant watered?
  • Have you noticed any damage to the plant?
  • Are the leaves firm and healthy?  
  • Do the roots show any signs of disease, decay, etc.?
Hopefully, we can figure this out soon!
Selena McKoy Replied October 12, 2020, 11:36 AM EDT
Hi Selena,
It’s great to hear from you again.

1. April through October, it’s kept on my back porch next to my peace lily and other Thanksgiving cactuses and they get morning sun.  No heat source is near there.
2. I have used a 1-1-1 plant food every few weeks, but was told by a member of my online gardening group who worked in a nursery for 14 years that holiday cactuses shouldn’t be given any fertilizer.  Hmm.
3. I only water when the soil is dry to the touch.
4. I haven’t noticed any damage.
5. The leaves are firm, healthy, and buds are forming (because of the weeks of cool weather and nights).  Yay!
6. I haven’t inspected the roots yet.
The Question Asker Replied October 21, 2020, 12:58 PM EDT
Here is an Extension article on care requirements for this species: I think the yellowing is chlorosis caused by inadequate nutrients, specifically nitrogen. Hope this helps.
Kristena LaMar Replied November 04, 2020, 11:22 AM EST
Thank you.  After it blooms this month, I’ll get a better fertilizer for them.
The Question Asker Replied November 04, 2020, 12:30 PM EST
Welcome! 1-1-1 is like no fertilizer at all!
Kristena LaMar Replied November 04, 2020, 12:41 PM EST

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