Succulents turning pink is a matter that looks pretty, but it may point to a serious issue. While succulents come in a wide range of vibrant colors, pink discoloration indicates a potential problem that needs attention. In this article, we’ll explore the causes of why succulent leaves turn pink and provide you with effective strategies to tackle this issue head-on.Succulents Turning Pink

So, let’s delve into why succulents turn red or pink and discover how to keep them healthy and vibrant!

What Causes Succulents To Turn Pink?

The causes of having succulents to turn pink are due to the heat, or not watering the plant enough. It can also be caused by a nutritional deficiency, water drainage issues, or insufficient lighting. In addition, it can also be due to cold exposure, and infestation.

Sure, in some succulent species like the jelly bean plant, which is called the sedum rubrotinctum, this dazzling pink succulent display is simply a natural part of their acclimatization process. On the other hand, this should be addressed as soon as you encounter it with your green-only succulents.

– Heat

While cacti thrive under the sun’s warm embrace, indoor cacti can sometimes suffer from an unexpected sunburn. Even though these plants that would be finding comfort in the heat can get a little too much of a good thing.

The glass can amplify sun rays if you’ve positioned your prickly indoor friend on a sunny windowsill. This will leave your cactus more vulnerable to sunburn — especially if it’s basking in the intense light of a south-facing window.

If you plan to introduce your cactus to the great outdoors, take it slow and steady. Gradual transitions are the key to a happy and healthy cactus.

Sudden changes in light intensity can cause your plant to feel stressed, and it might have its leaves turning red or pink in response. Remember, even cacti need a little shade and moderation to keep their vibrant green colors shining bright.Causes Succulents To Turn Pink

– Poor Watering

Your resilient cactus may not be too demanding when it comes to watering, but it still needs its fair share — and both overwatering and underwatering can lead to the plant going pink. As the plant is not watered in the right way, neither enough nor sufficiently.

If you’re underwatering your cactus, it will display a pinkish or purple tint before gradually drying up, transforming into a lackluster shade of brown. Keep an eye out for wrinkling or curling near the base as well, as these are telltale signs of thirst.

Overwatering is a recipe for disaster, with the colors taking on a yellowish hue before transitioning into shades of brown, pink, or purple. If you start noticing scabbing, characterized by rusty or corky areas on the plant, it’s a clear indication of overwatering and potential root rot. In addition, if left unchecked, your cactus will eventually become soft and mushy, ultimately meeting an untimely demise.

– Deficiency of Nutrients

When your succulent starts sporting a pinkish hue, it could be a sign that it’s craving some essential nutrients, particularly phosphorus. This essential element plays a crucial role in the cactus’ ability to produce nucleic acids, sugars, and energy, so it’s no wonder that a phosphorus deficiency can lead to a rosy transformation.

Magnesium or nitrogen deficiency can also cause cacti to take on a pinkish tinge because it is the right need for the plant to thrive in green. Keep an eye out for additional indicators such as yellowing, wilting, or a general fading of color, as these are common signs that your cactus lacks vital nutrients.

The potting mix’s quality is worth examining, as spent or depleted soil may not provide adequate nourishment. Poor drainage can also hinder nutrient uptake, so ensure that excess water can freely escape from the pot. Remember to inspect the health of your cactus’ roots. Infestations or damage to the roots can impede nutrient absorption, leading to deficiencies and potentially manifesting as a pinkish hue.

– Drainage Issues

A thriving cactus requires quick-draining and aerated soil. When the soil lacks adequate drainage, it poses a challenge for the cactus roots to breathe and absorb essential nutrients.

This poorly draining soil tends to retain excess moisture, leading to waterlogged conditions that spell trouble, and when the plant is in stagnant water, it will weaken. The latter would cause the roots to stay consistently wet for prolonged periods; they suffocate and eventually succumb to root rot.

Consequently, the impaired root system hampers the cactus’ ability to absorb crucial elements such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and magnesium. This deficiency manifests in the foliage taking on a pink or purple hue, serving as a visible indication of the plant’s struggle to access water and nutrients.

– Poor Light

Inadequate light is a prominent factor contributing to the pinkish hue observed in cacti. When subjected to low light conditions, cacti respond by producing increased levels of anthocyanins as a stress response. These purple pigments overshadow the green chlorophyll, creating distinctive pink hues on the leaves, which may also cause it to grow taller but leggy.

While certain cactus species can endure low-light environments to some extent, the majority of them rely on sufficient sunlight for effective photosynthesis. Insufficient light availability leads to a loss of vibrancy.

You may also observe areas of yellowing or white discoloration, in the long run. This clearly indicates the plant’s struggle to acquire the necessary light for optimal growth and photosynthetic processes.

– Cold Exposure

Despite the hardiness of certain species like prickly pears, cacti are not fond of drastic temperature plunges below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Such extreme drops in temperature inflict stress upon these plants, causing them to change colors as a natural response.

– Infestations

One common culprit is the cactus cyst caused by Cactodera cacti, typically found in infected soil. Check the soil for small spherical nodules and be on the lookout for wilting and stunted growth, as the infestation will also stress the plant.

Fungal root and stem rot are fungal infections, often caused by Dreschlera, and can cause your cactus to show a range of ill-pointing colors. Look for mushy parts, a rotting smell, and an overall sickly appearance.

And then there are spider mites — these creatures suck sap from the cactus’ softer parts. Keep an eye out for small mite webs, especially on the underside of the foliage. Brown spots with a yellow halo may also be visible. Another type of insect, scales, feeds on the sap of tender cactus parts. They leave behind unattractive brown spots; some areas may exhibit local pinkish or purple discoloration.

How To Deal With Pink Discoloration in Succulents?

To deal with pink discoloration in succulents can be fixed by preventing heat strokes to come near the plant, and to make sure that you get rid of the pests that are stressing the plant. You may also try to employ proper watering, and aim to supply nutrient remedies.Pink Discoloration in Succulents

– Prevent Heat Strokes

Move your pink succulents to a more shaded area during the hottest periods of the day. This simple adjustment can make a significant difference, especially if your succulents are potted and easily movable. If your succulents are planted in the ground and not easily relocated, consider using shade cloth to create a shaded area specifically for them.

This will shield them from the intense afternoon sun. It’s also important to allow your succulents to acclimate — when moving your succulents from one location to another, give them time to adjust. Avoid watering them immediately after placing them in a new spot.

– Get Rid of Pests and Diseases

When dealing with aphids or mealybugs on your succulents, avoiding chemical solutions is best, especially if your succulents grow indoors. Instead, try a natural and highly effective remedy. Mix a small amount of neem oil with a larger portion of water to which you can add some soap too, as this solution can be applied to the affected areas.

To ensure thorough elimination, you can also rub the infested spots with rubbing alcohol to target any remaining eggs. After treating your succulents for pests, it’s crucial to isolate them and prevent any transmission of pests to other plants, so try to keep them in quarantine until you are certain they are pest-free.

For mildew infections, can often disappear on its own. However, copper fungicide is highly effective against it. Alternatively, you can create a powerful homemade mixture by combining a tablespoon of baking powder and handwashing soap in a gallon of water.

Use a mister to spray this solution all over the affected succulent. It’s important to apply treatments in the appropriate conditions, avoiding direct sunlight as it may cause the solution to evaporate too quickly, rendering it ineffective. Be cautious, as baking soda can promote sunburn on the plant.

It’s best to use a horticultural or neem oil solution when dealing with sooty mold. Neem oil is less harmful to plants and thus recommended. Remove the affected leaves in cases of severe fungal disease like anthracnose as soon as possible. You can also use fungicides to eliminate any remaining fungal bodies still present on the plant.

– Employ Proper Watering

To remedy overwatering, allow the soil to completely dry out and consider repotting to improve aeration. If the succulent is severely damaged, you can trim it back, and it will regrow. Quarantine the succulent after repotting to prevent fungal infections or root rot.

For watering less than what they need you must gradually increase watering without overdoing it to avoid shocking the plant. Water every other day until you see signs of revival. If the entire plant has withered without any healthy parts, it may be too late to save the succulent.Dazzling Pink Cactus

– Nutrient Remedies

To address nutrient deficiency, repot your plants in a fresh, well-draining mix to eliminate any previous nutrient traces. You can use a potting mix with built-in nutrients or apply a well-balanced fertilizer after repotting.

Succulents and cacti don’t require heavy feeding, so it’s best to dilute fertilizers in more water before applying them to the soil. Feeding them once a month during the growing season should be sufficient!


The pink discoloration of succulents is a warning sign of underlying issues that require attention. Keeping yourself observant and responsive will be crucial, but we still have time to go through the most important things we’ve said:

  • Factors such as environmental stress, poor watering practices, nutrient deficiencies, drainage, inadequate light, cold exposure, and pest infestations can contribute to your succulents going pink.
  • To address this issue, it is important to take preventive measures. Provide adequate shade, allow for acclimatization, and avoid overwatering or underwatering at all costs!
  • Improving nutrient intake capability and soil drainage, ensuring proper light exposure, protecting plants from extreme cold, and implementing effective pest control measures are essential for restoring succulents to their healthy and vibrant state.

Now that you understand the causes and can implement appropriate strategies for the turning pink, you’ll be able to maintain the beauty and vitality of your plants for years to come.

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