Christmas Cactus Turning Purple: Why Is This?

The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) is a low-maintenance plant that may grow with little care. This does not, however, imply that you should neglect your houseplant. If your Christmas cactus has started to turn purple and wilt, there are a few things that might be causing the problem. This article will walk you through the most prevalent reasons why your Christmas cactus is turning purple, as well as provide you with additional Christmas cactus care recommendations.

If you believe your Christmas cactus is about to die, we’ve prepared an excellent post on how to save it! You may also learn about the finest Christmas cactus soil.

The leaves of the Christmas cactus are turning purple

You should notice a variety of brilliant pinks and reds when your Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas cactus blooms! However, if you observe the margins of your Christmas cactus leaves becoming purple, your plant is most likely attempting to alert you something is wrong. If you’ve come to a halt while trying to figure out why Christmas cactus leaves turn purple, don’t worry; we’ve listed all of the most prevalent causes below.

When you ask yourself, “Why is my Christmas cactus becoming purple?” you’ll almost always get one of three answers:

  • Nutrition
  • Roots that are overcrowded
  • Location

We’ll go through how to fix the problem in more detail later, but if your plant hasn’t bloomed yet this holiday season, don’t worry.

Why do the leaves of Christmas cactus become purple?


The first and most important reason you’ll notice purple Christmas cactus leaves is for nutritional reasons. Cacti, regardless of kind, require fertilization. While the Christmas cactus is in bloom, it does not require fertilization; however, from April through October, you should fertilize every two to four weeks with a general-purpose indoor fertilizer. Schultz Cactus Plus 2-7-7 liquid Plant Food is something I constantly buy since it’s cheap, easy to use, and effective.

It’s also worth noting that Christmas cactus requires more magnesium than most other indoor plants, so you should feed them with 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts per gallon of water. This should be done once a month in addition to your usual fertilizer but on a different week each time!

To encourage your Christmas cactus to bloom, cease fertilizing at the beginning of October

Instead of buying store-bought fertilizer, many gardeners choose to make their own. Coffee grinds on Christmas cactus are a nice option. This is due to the fact that coffee includes a significant quantity of magnesium and potassium.

To prevent your Christmas cactus leaves from becoming purple, use a general-purpose cactus fertilizer if you are unclear about the sort of soil you are currently using. This is because coffee is only good for Christmas cactus if the soil isn’t acidic. Coffee grinds raise the acidity of your soil, but if it already has a pH of 5.8–7, you’re better off going to your local garden shop or purchasing a fertilizer online to boost your Christmas cactus’ nutrition.

If you’re serious about generating your own fertilizer to keep your Christmas cactus from turning purple, remember the 20-20-20 or 20-10-20 formula. Water-soluble half-strength formulations work nicely and will get the job done. We usually recommend applying a fertilizer with a high Phosphorus content.

When the cactus blossoms, never fertilize it because the buds will fall off. Your Christmas cactus won’t turn purple during the holiday season if you follow these nutritional standards. Instead, you’ll get a lovely plant with brilliant pinks and reds that looks great both indoors and out.

Roots that are overcrowded

If you’re positive you’ve been feeding your Christmas cactus properly and it’s not suffering from any nutritional issues, your Christmas cactus turning purple and withering might be due to overcrowding. Your houseplant may not be getting all of the nutrients you’re providing it if it’s rootbound.

It’s vital to note that Christmas cactus prefers to have snug roots, therefore changing purple foliage is only due to overcrowding if the plant has been in the same container for three to four years. If you’ve repotted in the previous three years, it’s more than probable that your Christmas cactus leaves are becoming purple due to nutrition or location.

If you do decide to repot your Christmas cactus, you should do it in the spring. Your pot should only be one size larger, and you should replace the soil throughout the repotting procedure for added nutrients. When your Christmas cactus is in bloom, you should never repot it since it will be damaged.

You’ll want to use well-draining soil when replacing the soil. This Organic Succulent and Cactus Dirt Mix or Hoffman 10410 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix is my go-to soil for my Christmas cactus. Both use perlite, which allows for quick drainage, and both have a pH level that is appropriate for a Christmas cactus.

If you’re unsure when to repot your Christmas cactus and suspect it’s the cause of the leaves turning purple and drooping, there are a few tell-tale indicators to look for. You should always inspect the bottom of your pot, for example. If the roots are springing out of the drainage holes, it’s probably time to repot.

You may always take cuttings from the plant for propagation during the repotting procedure. This is where new plants are grown from a number of sources, including seeds and cuttings. This is also a perfect time to look for any other issues with your cacti, such as Christmas cactus pests!


So, you’ve recently repotted your plant and are convinced that you’ve provided it with all of the nutrients it requires. That brings us to the final reason you might be wondering, “Why is my Christmas cactus turning purple?” And then there’s the matter of location.

Your plant will thrive in strong light during the fall and winter months. In the summer, though, too much intense sunshine can cause your Christmas cactus leaves to turn purple. Most succulents and cacti will become sunburned in the summer, and your Christmas cactus will lose leaves.

It should be put in a north-facing window for indoor Christmas Cacti. From September onwards, you’ll need to keep your plant in a dark environment for at least 12 hours every day for it to bloom. We suggest putting it in a room that isn’t utilized at night because artificial light has its own set of drawbacks.

When the buds start to develop, transfer them to a display place that is out of direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can cause your Christmas cactus to become purple and wilt, as well as sunburn on the margins of the leaves and an overall sad, drooping, and sickly appearance. This is not what we want during the joyous holiday season!

When your Christmas cactus is in bloom, it loves temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with moderate to high humidity. It makes sense to add additional humidity to your house by placing a tray of pebbles filled with water beneath the container if you live in a dry climate.

Overall, while wondering “why do Christmas cactus leaves become purple?” it’s crucial to consider the area. It’s all too simple to make the mistake of placing your plant in direct sunlight. It’s a cactus, after all, and desert cacti LOVE direct sunlight. The Christmas cactus, on the other hand, is a rainforest plant that can handle higher humidity and enjoys indirect light.

What is causing my Christmas cactus to turn purple? Conclusion

In today’s blog article, we’ve covered all of the common reasons you might be wondering why your Christmas cactus is turning purple. We understand why you might be disappointed if you discover your Christmas cactus leaves becoming purple around the edges after looking forward to seeing your magnificent plant bloom into gorgeous pinks and reds. We hope you’ve learned something new today and have a better understanding of what’s going on.

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