Overwatered christmas cactus care also includes identifying the symptoms of overwatering, including slightly black or brown roots, dropping leaves, and increased susceptibility to root rot infections.

Overwatered Christmas CactusSuch symptoms on your plant may distort its beauty and ability to bring that unique touch to your home. To find out how you can rescue your plant when it is overwatered, go through this article for the problem identification and the solution.

Why Is Christmas Cactus Overwatered?

The Christmas Cactus is overwatered because of poor drainage, the type of soil that it has, the rainy place you have located it, due to pests and diseases it would ask for more water.

In addition, the container size may be smaller, or high humidity, and temperature would cause evaporation.

– Poor Drainage

Overwatered Christmas cacti can be caused by poor drainage. Poor drainage decrease the rate of water infiltration, leading to damp conditions. Little or no infiltration will eventually lead to more water in the pots and your plant become exposed to overwatered conditions.

Poor drainage and too much irrigation will impact the Christmas cactus’ flower formation. Additionally, overwatering can contribute to the cactus turning yellow as well as showing limp leaves.

Excessive watering, on the other hand, is the common cause of overwatering in every holiday cactus, be it the thanksgiving cactus, easter cactus, or christmas cactus plant. These cacti are succulents that keep water in their leaves, which is why they are easily affected by excessive watering.

– Type of Soil

The type of soil plays a significant role in decreasing or increasing the chance of your holiday cacti being overwatered. Remember that a well-aerated soil tends to encourage infiltration, thereby lowering the chances of your plants being overwatered.

Soils that are highly compacted, like clay, decrease the ability of the water to pass through the soil. In that case, there is a high chance that your Christmas cactus will get overwatered.

Overwatered Christmas Cactus Growth

– Rainy Location

The space where you are growing your plant may also either protect your plant from or make it susceptible to overwatering. For instance, some areas receive rainfall all year round, as is the case with tropical areas. If you water your Christmas cactus frequently in areas like these, there is a high probability that your plants will get overwatered.

In areas that receive little rainfall, chances of your plants being overwatered are slim if you follow a proper irrigation schedule. When you choose to grow your plants indoors where there isn’t much sunlight, your plants may get overwatered easily if you water them too often without exposing them to sunlight.

To elaborate further, sunlight aids the process of transpiration, thereby increasing the rate at which your cactus takes up water from the soil.

– Pests and Diseases

A healthy plant uses water more efficiently than a diseased one. In some cases, when the plant is affected by pests and diseases, it becomes difficult for it to take up water the normal way. Diseases that influence the roots, such as rot, decrease the amount of water that should be taken by the Christmas cactus for it to stay alive.

This is because the roots are the ones that absorb water from the soil, so when they are damaged, this does not happen, further leading to overwatering. In such cases, you will see disorders such as cactus limp and finally a decrease in cactus flower formation.

Some pests and diseases that alter the normal functioning of the Christmas cactus may include powdery mildew, mealy bugs, aphids, spider mites, root, and stem rots. The plant becomes distorted and show brown spots.

However, damage to the plant parts such as leaves will decrease photosynthesis, which is the procedure by which plants make food in their leaves using water and carbon dioxide. This will decrease water usage, leading to overwatered conditions.

– Container Size

Larger pots have large surfaces to take more water, and they do not dry out in short periods. Overall, the overwatering can be a result of continued irrigation at the same frequency when you have repotted your plants to new pots.

– Humidity

If the air in the atmosphere has more moisture, there is a high chance that the evaporation of water from the soil becomes low. This has a significant effect, especially if you maintain the watering frequency that you would follow under lower humidity conditions.

High humidity and continued watering could be a deadly combination that might lead to damp conditions that are typical of overwatering.

– Temperature Causes Evaporation

Water evaporates at a higher rate in areas that are warm. The same applies to transpiration rates. Remember, transpiration simply refers to the process whereby a plant releases water through its surfaces to the air.

A watering schedule that could effectively work for your plant in summer, where temperatures are hot, is unlikely to work the same way in winter months when it’s cold.

Basically, if you are facing a scenario of overwatering, also check to see if you are not using summer irrigating schedules for colder months.

How To Save an Overwatered Christmas Cactus

To save an overwatered Christmas cactus you must reduce the frequent watering, allow it to drain properly, remove the dead or the discolored leaves, optimize the environment away from heavy rain, expose the plant to proper light, and save the roots from rotting.

In most cases, when the plant has been overwatered, it will eventually get infected with diseases, but with the proper care, it can stand again.

Overwatered Christmas Cactus Causes

-Reduce the Frequency of Watering

Once you notice that you have overwatered your plants, it is good to stop watering for a while. You should do that so that you can carry out the next procedures on how to rescue your plants. The reason for this is that if you proceed to water your plants, the problem will become worse.

Overall, you must consider following the correct procedure for watering your plants. You should be watering it only when the top of the soil feels dry. Water your plants in two to three weeks.

On another note, you could also save the plant by placing a watering schedule, remember to water it every two to three weeks, and this way you would save it from turning yellow and being over watered.

– Allow Proper Drainage

Once you have noticed that your plants are overwatered, you should take immediate action to save them. You can consider elevating your pots to ensure that water will drain out of them. You should make sure that your pots have drainage holes. If you notice that they do not, evacuate your Christmas cactus to pots that are well-drained.

Consider checking the soil. If your soil is too compacted, you may create small holes and shake them to enhance root aeration. On another note, you should take extra caution to avoid damaging them. The other method of allowing proper drainage is to change your plants to fresh soil.

Potting soil with a pH that ranges between 5.5 to 6.0 is ideal for growing your plant. We advise you to choose permeable soils. In the process of rescuing your Christmas cactus, you can consider mixing your potting soil with sand if you note that they are impermeable.

This will increase soil porosity, thereby encouraging water infiltration. It will stop the plant from dying from being overwatered.

– Remove all Dead and Discolored Leaves

You should cut off all yellow leaves and all those with black spots or molds. Leaves that are badly damaged cannot revert back to the original color of a normal Christmas cactus.

You should consider removing the badly affected leaves with caution, as deep cuts may shock your plant. In addition, taking off the affected leaves will assist in redirecting the plant’s energy to healthier parts and to growing more foliage that replaces the one that you would have removed.

– Optimize the Environment

You can consider letting the place you have grown your overwatered christmas cactus dry out. You can evacuate your plant to another place that has low humidity and is free.

This will also speed up the evaporation of water. You can choose to increase air circulation and heat. Avoid too much heat as it may damage the plant. You can even replace the plant from its location, to somewhere that it doesn’t receive too much rain water as well.

– Expose Your Plants to Light

The overwatered Christmas cactus is a succulent plant that requires sunlight. Bright direct sunlight is the best for your plant.

If you have overwatered it, consider exposing it to more light to let the soil dry out. When you grow your plants indoors, move them to a very sunny window or evacuate them outside during the day, because its nature, that’s where these cactus live.

Exposing your plants to sunlight will enhance the moisture release from water in the soil and the leaves. An overwatered Christmas cactus plant becomes soft because of more water. In this case, when you expose them to light, transpiration will take place and the plant will go back to its normal state after a little while.

– Save Your Plant From Root Rot

In the early stages, an overwatered cactus with root rot may be easily saved through repotting. The cactus need to be repotted only once every three to four years. However, with overwatered plant, you should repot the moment you notice the attack.

You should take the pot and remove all the roots that are affected. Continue by washing all the roots remaining to remove any remaining fungus.

Leave the plant in the well-ventilated room overnight to let the roots dry. Proceed by placing your plant into a new pot with well-aerated soil. Last, wait for a couple of minutes before watering your plant.

Nonetheless, be sure to continue with proper christmas cactus care to ensure that your plant survives. Other plant care factors such as temperatures, light, and humidity should be highly upheld so that christmas cactus root rot does not occur again.

– Place it Outdoors

A christmas cactus is a succulent, epiphytic plant that can thrive well in the tropical rainforest. You can take your plants outdoors in spring, but make sure that nighttime temperatures are above 50 Fahrenheit.

Placing your plant outdoors may also save your plant if you are watering them frequently without exposing them to sunlight. Note that leaving your plant in sunlight for long periods may scorch your plant.

If you stay in a place that experiences hot summers, light shade could be more beneficial, mostly during the day. Take your christmas cactus back inside your house when nighttime temperature drops to 50 Fahrenheit.

Christmas Cactus Care


This guide highlighted some of the causes and revival strategies that you can use as you take care of your christmas cactus. Let’s quickly review some immediate measures you should take to rescue your plant:

• Reduce watering your plant to avoid worsening the problem.
• Create a proper drainage system for your plant.
• Let the soil dry out to get rid of dump conditions before you can give your plant another drink.
• Propagate plants with severe damage.
• Expose your overwatered plants to more sunlight to let the soil dry out.

Now you know how to rescue an overwatered christmas cactus. It is possible to save your plants from overwatering, start today!

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