Yellow Leaves on a Christmas Cactus

Updated February 21, 2017

When the lush green leaves of the tropical Christmas cactus turn yellow, it's a sign that the plant is not happy with its growing conditions. Tweaking the plant's culture can bring it back to perfect health.


Although we associate cacti with dry conditions, Christmas cacti are actually rainforest plants, and therefore require more humid conditions. Yellow leaves can be a sign that a Christmas cactus is receiving too little water. Do not allow the soil to dry out during active growth, and mist with warm water to raise humidity in dry homes.


The filtered sunlight that is a part of rainforest culture is the type of light that Christmas cacti need to thrive. Placing a Christmas cacti under natural or artificial light conditions that are too bright can result in the leaves fading. Faded leaves often appear yellow. For best growth, place in bright filtered or indirect light.

Moving Stress

If you recently acquired your Christmas cactus from a greenhouse, or have moved your Christmas cactus from a warmer location to a cooler one, yellow leaves may be the result of moving stress. As the plant adapts to its new home, new leaves should come in their normal green colour.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

A writer and information professional, J.E. Cornett has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Lincoln Memorial University and a Master of Science in library and information science from the University of Kentucky. A former newspaper reporter with two Kentucky Press Association awards to her credit, she has over 10 years experience writing professionally.