Will a Yellow Cactus Turn Green Again?

Did you know that there are over 1,750 species of cactus plants found worldwide?

Although all these species have certain similarities and differences, one thing that almost all of them have in similarity is that whenever they are not treated well or are unhappy, they communicate that to their owners through signs like yellowing leaves.

Similarly, cactus plants also tend to turn yellow due to issues like overexposure to sunlight, root rot, or malnutrition. When a cactus plant turns yellow, most plant owners ask, ‘Will a yellow cactus turn green.’

So if you are also looking for the answer to this query, keep reading to find out.

Will a Yellow Cactus Turn Green Again

There is no simple answer to the question, “Will a cactus turn green again?” A cactus can turn yellow for several reasons: sunburn, overwatering, under-watering, temperature change, pests, diseases, mineral deficiency, etc.

The best method to ensure that your cactus returns to green is to address the issue causing it to turn yellow as soon as possible. By finding out what might make your cactus plant unhappy, you can correct the issue and bring it back to its normal green color.

However, acting fast is crucial since allowing a cactus to remain yellow for an extended period may make it impossible to revive it, causing your cactus to die eventually.

Although it can be difficult to determine if your yellow cactus will turn green again, if you take action early and get to the bottom of the issue, the probability of your cactus turning green again increases.

Moreover, whether your cactus will turn green again depends on why it turned yellow. If the cactus turned yellow due to factors like temperature change, it might be easier for you to help it turn green again by changing its location.

However, if a cactus turns yellow due to factors like root rot or pest damage, it may be challenging to recover and require more effort to turn back to its green color.

Reasons behind a Yellowing Cactus Plant

Here are a few reasons why your cactus plant may be turning yellow.


Overwatering is one of the most common reasons behind a cactus turning yellow. Cactus plants enjoy occasional watering. However, you should not water most species more than once or twice a week.

Overwatering can cause the plant to drown and also result in the plant developing a fungal disease called root rot.

The best way to ensure you are not overwatering your cactus is to create a watering schedule, so you remember when you last watered your plant. Moreover, placing one finger inside the plant’s soil is a great way to determine whether your plant needs to be watered.

If the soil feels damp, it is best to wait until it is completely dry before watering again. So if you suspect that overwatering is the reason behind your yellowing cactus, hold off watering until the plant is completely dry.

Under Watering

Many times cactuses tend to turn green due to a lack of moisture. Water is critical for any plant since the nutrition found in the water helps the plant to carry out photosynthesis.

As discussed above, watering your cactus after every one to two weeks can help you avoid issues like over or under-watering. The best way to determine how much water your cactus likes is to follow this watering schedule and keep an eye on your plant to see how it reacts.

Excessive Sun Exposure

Since cactuses grow in the desert, these plants require sunlight exposure to thrive. However, placing your cactus in an area with a lot of direct sunlight exposure may cause the plant to burn and turn yellow. Therefore, avoid leaving your plant in a sunny spot for long hours.

Pro tip! Adding light curtains to a window can also help you filter out the sunlight and reduce its harshness.


Sudden temperature changes can also cause a cactus plant to turn yellow. For example, if you move your cactus plant from one location to another, such as near a heater or air conditioning, it may turn yellow due to the sudden temperature change.

If you have recently moved your plan to a location in front of a breezy window or a heater, and your plant has turned yellow, the sudden temperature change may be the culprit.

You could also try switching locations again to see how your plant reacts or keep the plant back to its old spot if it was thriving there. 

Pests and Diseases

Pest infestations or diseases can also be a reason behind a yellowing cactus plant. Although cactuses are not susceptible to pests, they may catch spider mites or mealy bugs from other plants.

The best way to prevent pest infestations is to regularly inspect all your plants for pests and take immediate action to eliminate them if you find any.

Apart from pests, cactuses can also develop diseases like root rot. This disease can quickly cause a plant to die by cutting out the nutrients from the roots to the rest of the plant.

Potting your cactus in well-draining soil and avoiding overwatering is the best way to avoid root rot in your cactus plant.

Nutrient Deficiency

Cactus plants require nutrient-rich soil to survive, and their nutritional requirements may be greater than those of other plants. A healthy cactus plant requires a nutritious potting mix and regular fertilization.

Therefore, malnutrition can be another reason behind a yellowing cactus. Rotting roots accompanied by yellowing can also signal malnutrition in cactuses.

If you notice these signs, you must act quickly by scraping off the roots and replanting your cactus in nourishing soil with a cactus-specific fertilizer.

Tips on Making a Yellow Cactus Turn Green Again

A yellowing cactus is usually considered half dead, and if no immediate action is taken to assist it in recovering, it will turn brown and eventually die.

Individuals with yellowing cactuses may search for how to bring a cactus back to life to find information on how to revive their plants. Here are some tips for reviving a dying cactus plant that has turned yellow.

Water Only When the Soil Is Completely Dry

Maintaining a healthy watering schedule can help you transform your cactus from a yellow color to a green color if over or under-watering is the reason behind the yellowing.

You can also change the watering schedule according to the climate. Watering more than usual during the summer season if your cactus soil turns dry quickly can help you avoid yellowing triggered by a lack of moisture.

Keep the Cactus in Temperatures between 13°C to 29°C

Cactus plants do not like being in too much heat or extremely cold temperatures and may turn yellow due to temperature changes.

Keeping a cactus plant anywhere between the temperatures 13°C to 29°C may help you turn a yellowing cactus back to green again (if the yellowing is caused by high or low temperature or sudden temperature change).

Water Less During Wintertime

Since a cactus can dry quickly during the summer, watering more frequently is acceptable. However, during the winter, the soil may remain damp for a longer period.

So, if you continue to follow the same watering schedule as you did in winter months, you may overwater your plant, causing it to turn yellow. Reduce the watering during winter to help the plant return to its normal color.

Plant Your Cactus in a Pot with Drainage Holes

A pot without drainage holes is yet another reason behind a yellowing cactus. This is because, without drainage holes, the cactus has nowhere to drain excess water — which may cause it to drown.

A clay pot with drainage holes is the best choice for a cactus due to its porous structure that enables the potting mixture to dry evenly.

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Bottom Line

Although it is difficult to answer ‘Will a cactus turn green again’ since it depends on factors like how long it has been since your cactus turned yellow and if you have taken any actions to help it recover.

Determining the reason behind the yellowing and taking quick action can help you turn a cactus from yellow to its natural green color. You can follow the tips discussed above to revive a yellowing cactus.l

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