7 Reasons why your Cactus is Turning Brown and How to fix it?

Hey folks! Are you worried as your cactus is turning brown and you are not aware of how to fix it? If yes, then no worries as I faced the same issue in my gardening career. I used to grow vegetables and plants as I was passionate about them. But one day I observe that my cactus is turning brown, why does it happen? Then I found some solutions to fix the brown turning of the cactus and even the leaning of the cactus. Cactus is one of the common houseplants that is grown in almost every house.

Quick takeaways:

  • The gardeners love the plants as they are so easy to grow and have very little demand from the gardeners
  • The soil, even if dry, doesn’t bother the plant that much for many days. The cactus though can still get affected by environmental changes and when the soil is damp for a long.
  • Some of the reasons why your cactus is turning brown are the overwatering of the plant, fungus infestation, less supply of nutrients, natural aging, and many more.
  • The cactus start to show discoloration turning brown on various changes. We will understand these in this article and also will reveal the fixations related to them. 

This article will provide some Reasons why your Cactus is Turning Brown and How to fix it?

Reasons why your Cactus is Turning Brown

7 Reasons why your Cactus is Turning Brown and How to fix it?

Below are the reasons behind the brown turning of the cactus:

1. Cactus are overwatered

The cactus plants still will be thriving well in underwatered soil but they will act weird when the soil is overwatered. The cactus doesn’t like too much water as the plants use the stored water.

The cactus plants that are overwatered can be seen by the base of the stem looking squishy and soft. The cactus turned brown. The soil appearing soggy and mushy is also an indication that the cactus plant is watered more than enough. The soggy soil is dangerous for the cactus plants as it causes it as well. 

How to fix this?

  • The cactus plant needs to be watered every one to two weeks.
  • Frequent watering can harm the roots and the stem even.
  • The soil needs to be dry first before watering.
  • Use a terracotta pot or mud pot that provides good air to the cactus roots and has good drainage.
  • Use a right-sized pot not too large otherwise the cactus gets easily overwatered. 

2. Too much sunlight 

The cactus will turn brown if the sunlight is too strong or if the cactus plant is exposed to sunlight for too many hours.

The afternoon sun is the strongest. The plant should get a little shade too. The strong heat of the sun will cause sunburn in the cactus plants which can cause brown spots on the cactus plant parts.

How to fix this?

  • The cactus plants should be moved to the shaded spot in the peak hours of sunny days.
  • The plants sometimes if moved to a high sunny spot can also cause the browning of it.
  • Move to the window that has a good amount of sunlight but is not too direct.

3. Fungal infection

Even though the cactus can tolerate extreme water conditions and heat the plants if eaten affected by diseases or fungal infections, is clearly visible on the cactus plants.

The brown spots are formed which is an indication that fungal growth has occurred. Many times the roots get a fungal infection so make sure the roots are not damaged.

How to fix this?

  • The cactus plants can be saved if the plants have roots not too destroyed by fungus. The use of good fungicides will help a lot.
  • You can also use neem oil on the cactus that is not chemical and won’t affect the other plants too.
  • In case of disease use an isopropyl solution to get rid of harmful agents causing infection.

“If you want to be happy FOR A LIFETIME, be A GARDENER”

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4. Lack of nutrients in the soil 

The soil being deficient in macronutrients can also lead to the browning of the cactus plants.

The nutrients should be in dissolved form and the roots should be in a healthy state to absorb the nutrients. Too much nitrogen in the soil can also lead to brown spots on the soil.

How to fix this?

  • You should not feed the cactus plant that much but make sure to add soluble fertilizer that has higher phosphorus concentration than nitrogen and soil should be most as well.
  • The roots can easily absorb the diluted nutrients and so the plant can easily use them.

5. Cactus aging

The corking of the cactus plants can also cause the yellowing or browning of the cactus plants. This indicates that the plant is aging.

A lot of the issues will start to harden and tissue will become dead. Though this condition is not dangerous and not to worry about.

How to fix it?

  • The cactus plant has this stage to provide more support to the large and maturing stems.

6. Root rot

The roots getting bothered highly affect the cactus plants and will probably show dark spots on the cactus plants. The plant will look mushy and soft. there will the possibility that the plant starts turning white.

The roots will be unable to absorb water even as they are suffocated with too much and less aeration and will become weak and damaged. The plant will start to turn brown and ultimately die.

How to fix this?

  • Check if the plant has root rot, the soil looks moldy and soggy then there are chances of rot on the roots.
  • Take the plant out of the soil, brush away the extra dirt, or wash the roots with the hydrogen peroxide solution.
  • Cut the rotted roots off using the sharp pruners that are sterilized.
  • Then repot the cactus plant into the clean soil, and a good pot has good drainage holes.
  • If the roots are severely damaged, go for propagating the cactus using the healthy stem. 

7. Too less light 

The cactus not getting good sunlight can make them soft and less succulent. Many times we place them in a spot that we think has too much light but actually, that is the dark spot for the cactus.

The cactus needs bright light if not then the brown or yellow leaves will be visible. 

How to fix it?

  • Choose a spot where the cactus gets good sunlight during the day.
  • The spot should have a warm temperature, and no direct sunlight so that they can thrive well. 

Wrapping up the Context

In this guide, you come to know that The gardeners love the plants as they are so easy to grow and have very little demand from the gardeners. The soil, even if dry, doesn’t bother the plant that much for many days. The cactus though can still get affected by environmental changes and when the soil is damp for a long. The cactus start to show discoloration turning brown on various changes. Read the whole guide to know about the brown turning of the cactus.

Thanks for reading! Happy gardening!


1. Should I cut off the brown parts of the cactus? 

The plant parts that are damaged and rotted should be removed or pruned off because the infection can be spread to the other parts making the whole cactus plant dull and damaged, causing death. 

2. Is a brown cactus dead?

The browning of cacti also has a pattern. If the case is that the browning is occurring in the base region first, then that could be corking, which is basically called aging in cactus plants and is considered normal. If the browning occurs on the top first then the reason is probably something else.

Becky Decker

Becky Decker, our esteemed Editor-in-Chief, is a passionate gardener with years of experience in the world of horticulture. With her guidance, BonjourGreen.com aims to be your trusted companion on your gardening journey. Featured In   Becky Decker’s expertise and gardening wisdom have been recognized and featured in various prominent publications, including:   Homesandgardens.com Yahoo.com Urbansplatter.com Inkl.com Foliagefriend.com Yahoonews  Experience & Background   Becky Decker’s love for gardening has been a lifelong journey. She has honed her skills through countless seasons of planting, nurturing, and harvesting a wide variety of plants, flowers, and vegetables. Her deep-rooted knowledge is complemented by her Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from the University of Green Valley.   Prior to leading BonjourGreen.com, Becky worked as a garden consultant, helping countless individuals turn their outdoor spaces into vibrant, thriving gardens. Her experience spans over a decade, making her a trusted authority in the gardening community.   The Birth of BonjourGreen.com   Inspired by her passion for gardening and her desire to share her expertise with a wider audience, Becky Decker launched BonjourGreen.com in 2021. This platform serves as a hub for gardening enthusiasts of all levels, from beginners to seasoned pros.   At BonjourGreen.com, we are committed to providing you with comprehensive guides, expert advice, and hands-on tips to help you achieve success in your gardening endeavors. Whether you have a small balcony garden or a sprawling backyard paradise, we have the information you need to make your garden flourish.   Our Mission   BonjourGreen.com is more than just a gardening website; it’s a community of gardeners who share a common love for nurturing the Earth. Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge and resources to create beautiful, sustainable gardens that bring joy and tranquility to your life.   Join Us on This Green Journey   We invite you to explore BonjourGreen.com and embark on your gardening journey with us. Whether you’re seeking advice on planting techniques, pest control, landscaping ideas, or the latest gardening trends, you’ll find it all right here.   Connect with us, ask questions, and share your gardening stories. Together, we’ll cultivate a thriving community of gardeners and help each other make the world a greener, more beautiful place.   Let’s dig in and grow together at BonjourGreen.com, where gardening dreams bloom!

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