Succulents turning white is a rather upsetting site, and when plants go pale on us this usually means that we’ve reached the point of no return, but the same doesn’t necessarily mean the same for our resilient succulents.Succulents Turning White

When they go white, it can point to mineral buildup or water evaporation. You can even save them if it’s too serious, though, so let’s see how in this article.

Why Are The Succulents Going White?

The succulents are going white because of excessive sunlight, or because they face fungal issues. It can also be because of pest infestation stress, bad watering habits that you have adopted, and lastly, because of the build-up of minerals in the soil.

Excessive exposure to sunlight or extreme heat can lead to the whitening of succulents, making sunburn your most likely culprit. Another possible cause for cactus turning white change is the presence of powdery mildew or pest infestation.

– Excessive Sun

Succulents have different levels of tolerance when it comes to sunlight exposure. While many of them enjoy basking in the sun, you should watch out for excessive sunlight. Sunburns typically occur when succulents are subjected to prolonged periods of direct sunlight.

It’s important to note that the degree to which succulents are affected may vary depending on the specific succulent you have. While succulents generally thrive in sunny conditions, their turning white could indicate exposure to excessive amounts.

The sun will manifest as the sudden appearance of pale patches on the stems and leaves of your succulent and patchy discoloration in areas that receive the most sunlight. However, you will notice that these white patches may make your cactus turn brown, and the affected areas may start to wilt.

Even after reducing direct sunlight exposure, these sunburned patches will not regain their green color. On another note, as the succulent grows and produces new leaves, it will gradually shed these patches.Cactus Going White

– Fungal Issues

A fungal infection will often cause panic, and we’re almost always talking about powdery mildew regarding succulents. This one poses a threat to the health of your plants and can eventually consume them entirely. It is often mistaken for farina, protective coating plants develop to guard against sunburn and excessive heat.

You can distinguish powdery mildew by observing the cactus turning white-yellow shade and noticing brown spots on the stems. If these symptoms are present, it indicates a fungal body infection rather than sunburn.

The positive aspect is that, unlike issues like sunburn, the fungal disease is possible to restore the succulent’s original color and treat cactus rot. While fungi infections may not immediately kill plants, they cause damage and deplete vital nutrients.

– Pests Infestations

Watch out for those pesky sap-sucking bugs if you notice white spots or dots on your succulent leaves, and you will see them becoming weaker and looking very unhealthy. These tiny creatures have a knack for devouring and causing damage to your beloved succulents.

Mealybugs are notorious for their rapid spread, easily hopping from one plant to another if they’re close. Another culprit that can have your cactus turning white is the spider mite. These little critters also wreak havoc on succulents, hindering their healthy growth. Spider mites are hard to see, but you’ll easily identify them if you notice a silky white webbing on your succulent.

To prevent a full-blown infestation, it’s crucial to catch these pests before they can infect your entire plant collection, and they will do so pretty quickly. Mealybugs, in particular, can be relentless, completely obliterating your beloved succulents as they swiftly move from one plant to the next.

– Bad Watering Habits

The change of color and turning to white in the succulents might be a warning sign that you’re showering your succulents with too much water. As a caring plant parent, it’s only natural to want to provide your green friends with ample hydration. However, this can pose a problem for succulents, which have adapted to thrive in arid irrigation conditions.

With their robust roots and plump leaves designed for water storage, excessive watering can lead to root rot. When cactus turns white, it’s a clear indicator that their roots are decaying, and it’s crucial to catch this sign early on.

Resuscitating these succulents becomes quite challenging once their leaves take on a gray or yellowish tinge. This is the key cause that is telling you that your succulents and maintain a careful balance in watering to keep them vibrant and thriving.

– Mineral Build Up

If you’ve been using tap water to quench the thirst of your succulents, you may have noticed a sneaky culprit: mineral build-up. This phenomenon tends to afflict Jade plants and Haworthias the worst.

Different succulents can often turn white dots nestled in the skin or little indentations on their leaves. Fear not, as these spots can be easily wiped away, allowing your plant to grow undeterred. They usually don’t threaten the plant’s overall health, even if you choose to let them be.

Haworthias and Haworthiopsis plants, on the other hand, may experience a crusty accumulation of minerals near the base of their leaf rosettes. Over time, this buildup can adopt a charming orange or yellowish hue, and you will see how this is generally not a cause for concern with Haworthias, but if it starts to detract from their aesthetic appeal, a gentle wipe or brush can restore their beauty.

How To Save Your Succulent Turning White?

To save your succulent from turning white, you can start exposing it to proper lighting, and ensure that your plant is free from pests and fungi that would be harming it. Lastly, you should also try to adopt better watering habits.Saving White Succulent

Sure, succulents becoming white can be disheartening, but it has cures. But now, the best thing is that you can start addressing them one by one, taking it easy and knowing that your resilient green friend will probably come out alive and kicking.

– Adjust the Lighting of the Plant

Shielding your succulents from the scorching sun will be key when trying to prevent cactus sunburn, and luckily, there are several nifty tricks up your sleeve. You may try to give your sun-sensitive succulents a much-needed break by moving them to a more shaded spot.

Especially during the hottest periods of the day, a cool and sheltered area will provide them with a welcome rest. If your succulents reside in pots, this adjustment is a breeze.

Fear not if your succulents are firmly rooted in the ground and not as mobile. For instance, placing a shade cloth comes to the rescue. Place and adjust some of this magical fabric and create an oasis of afternoon shade for your beloved succulents.

– Dealing With Pests

When it comes to banishing those pesky aphids or mealybugs from your cactus indoors, it’s best to steer clear of harsh chemicals. Instead, we have a natural and highly effective solution up our sleeves.

Mix a dash of neem oil with a generous amount of water. Add just a few drops of liquid dish soap to the mix, and you will see how the plant will get better as this mix will remove all the pests. You must apply this solution to your infested succulents and watch as the pests meet their match.

Take things up a notch by gently rubbing the affected areas with some trusty rubbing alcohol. This extra step ensures that any eggs lurking around get obliterated as well in case they have infested already.

Remember, a little TLC goes a long way, so use these substances cautiously, as too much can harm your precious plants. With this natural and mindful approach to pest control, you’ll have your succulents back to their thriving selves in no time.

– Improving Your Watering

Watering once a week is generally sufficient for their needs. If you can establish such a regular watering schedule, you will provide your succulents with consistent soil moisture and keep them healthy.

Alternatively, you can opt for a “dry soil” method, and with this approach, you only water your succulents when the soil has completely dried out. You will see how the following method mimics the natural conditions, as our green friends are adapted to withstand drought periods.Cactus Turn White

By allowing the soil to dry between the times that you water the plant, you help prevent overwatering and promote a balanced moisture level for your plants. In short, you may also see how it will help prevent infections too.

While watering your succulents with hard water is mostly acceptable, with excessive mineral buildup can be managed by switching to filtered or distilled water. Soft water should be avoided as the additional salts present can disrupt the potting mix’s pH balance, posing a challenge for succulents to thrive.

So, keep an eye out for those minerals, but don’t fret too much—your succulents will continue to thrive with a little care and the occasional mineral wipe-down. Finding the right watering routine for your succulents may require some trial and error, and the right way of watering is necessary.

Observing how they respond to different watering frequencies will give you valuable insights into their specific needs. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where they receive enough water to stay healthy without becoming waterlogged.


Witnessing your cactus turn white can be concerning, but rest assured that there are remedies available to help revive them, but let’s go through it all once again, shall we:

  • Excessive sunlight, infections, infestations, and mineral buildup are all potential culprits. Moving them to a more shaded area or using shade cloth can offer the necessary protection.
  • Fungi infections, particularly powdery mildew, can be mistaken for sunburn. Identifying the whitish-yellow coloration and brown spots on leaves and stems can help you differentiate between the two.
  • Pests like mealybugs, spider mites, or even cactus moths can cause white smudges on succulent leaves. Taking proactive measures to control and eliminate these pests, such as using a neem oil solution, can save your plants from further damage.
  • Mineral buildup, often observed in Jade plants and Haworthias can be managed by using filtered or distilled water instead of tap water. Wiping away mineral deposits can help restore the plants’ appearance.

By implementing these remedies and paying close attention to the specific needs of your succulents, you can successfully save them from whitening and promote their overall health and vitality.

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