Why Is My Bunny Ear Cactus Turning Yellow?

Why Is My Bunny Ear Cactus Turning Yellow

One common issue many bunny ear cactus owners face is a sudden color change, precisely the appearance of yellow patches on the plant’s otherwise vibrant green pads. This can cause concern for many plant enthusiasts, leading them to wonder what they are doing wrong.

Bunny ear cacti often turn yellow as they mature, especially if they get too much sunlight. Yellowing can also be a sign of overwatering or nutrient deficiencies. You must ensure the soil dries out between watering and providing adequate sunlight.

If you are a new owner of a bunny ear cactus or have noticed a sudden change in your well-established plant, you must understand the causes of yellowing to help keep your cactus healthy and thriving. So, let’s explore the potential factors that can lead to yellowing in bunny ear cacti and how to address them.

Symptoms and Causes of Yellowing in Bunny Ear Cactus

Bunny Ear Cacti are generally low-maintenance, but yellowing can be a cause for concern, indicating underlying issues that need prompt attention. By recognizing the symptoms and understanding the potential causes, you can address the problem effectively and ensure your cactus remains healthy and vibrant.

Overexposure to Sunlight

One common cause of yellowing in bunny ear cacti is overexposure to direct sunlight. Too much sun can scorch the delicate pads, leading to yellow or brown discoloration. It’s essential to provide filtered or indirect sunlight to prevent sunburn.

Insufficient Sunlight

On the flip side, insufficient sunlight can also cause yellowing. Your cactus may become pale or yellowish if it doesn’t receive enough light. Ensure your bunny ear cactus is placed where it receives adequate, bright, indirect sunlight for several hours a day.


Overwatering is a common issue that can lead to yellowing in cacti. Roots suffocated by excess water cannot absorb nutrients properly, causing the pads to turn yellow. Allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions and adjust your watering schedule according to the specific needs of your cactus.

Poor Drainage

Improper drainage exacerbates overwatering problems. If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, excess water accumulates at the bottom, leading to root rot and yellowing. Always choose a well-draining pot and soil to prevent waterlogged roots.

Pests and Diseases

Yellowing can also be a result of pest infestations or diseases. Pests like aphids and mealybugs can weaken the plant, causing it to lose its vibrant green color. Regularly inspect your cactus for any signs of pests or diseases and treat them promptly to prevent further damage.

Aging and Natural Discoloration

As bunny ear cacti age, it’s natural for some pads to turn yellow and eventually dry up. This is a part of the cactus’s life cycle. Regularly prune dead or dying pads to encourage new growth and maintain the overall health of the plant.

Nutrient Deficiency

Yellowing can also occur due to nutrient deficiencies, particularly nitrogen. Lack of essential nutrients affects the cactus’s ability to produce chlorophyll, resulting in yellowing. Consider using a balanced, diluted cactus fertilizer to provide nutrients and promote healthy growth.

Solutions and Care Adjustments for a Yellowing Bunny Ear Cactus

If your Bunny Ear Cactus is turning yellow, it could be due to several reasons, including improper watering, insufficient light, or pest infection. Let’s explore what solutions and care adjustments you can implement in such scenarios.

Solution 1 – Balance Watering

Overwatering or underwatering could cause your Bunny Ear Cactus to turn yellow. These plants are accustomed to arid conditions and do not require a lot of water. Only water your cactus if the soil feels dry to ensure that the roots are not soaked, which can lead to root rot.

However, in a hotter climate or in the peak growing season (summer), the cactus may require more frequent watering.

Solution 2 – Ensure Direct Light

Bunny Ear Cacti flourish in bright sunlight and can tolerate full sun. If your cactus is turning yellow, this can be a sign of insufficient light. To rectify this, place the cactus in a south-facing window where it can receive abundant light. An ideal light exposure would be around 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Solution 3 – Temperature and Humidity

Bunny Ear Cacti prefer warm, dry conditions like their original desert habitat. Ensure your cactus is placed in an area with temperatures around 20-25°Celsius during the day and slightly more relaxed at night. Avoid placing it near drafty areas or windows during winter.

Solution 4 – Practice Pest Control

Various pests such as spider mites, scale, and mealy bugs can infest your cactus, causing it to turn yellow. It’s essential to inspect the cactus for any signs of pests regularly.

Treatment can include treating the plant with a suitable insecticide or wiping the cactus with a soft cloth soaked in diluted rubbing alcohol.

Solution 5 – Fertilize Appropriately

Your Bunny Ear Cactus will enjoy a boost of nutrients during its growing season. Fertilize once a month during the summer using a water-soluble cactus fertilizer, but avoid doing so in winter when the plant is dormant.

Solution 6 – Repot if Necessary

If your cactus is still vibrant at the base but yellowing at the top, it may be root-bound and need repotting with a fresh cactus soil mix.

Signs of a Healthy Bunny Ear Cactus

A healthy bunny ear cactus exhibits several key signs that indicate its overall well-being and vitality. Recognizing these signs is essential for ensuring that your cactus thrives and continues to adorn your space with its natural beauty. Here are the indicators of a robust and flourishing bunny ear cactus:

Rich Green Color

One of the most prominent signs of a healthy bunny ear cactus is its vibrant green color. Healthy pads should have a deep, rich green hue. This indicates that the cactus is receiving adequate sunlight and is producing chlorophyll efficiently.

Plump and Firm Texture

Healthy bunny ear cacti have plump, firm pads. Gently squeeze the pads to ensure they are turgid and not wrinkled or deflated. A firm texture indicates that the cactus is well-hydrated and storing water effectively.

Even Growth

A healthy bunny ear cactus displays even and balanced growth. The pads should be evenly spaced and symmetrical. Irregular or stunted growth might indicate issues with light, water, or nutrients.

No Signs of Pests or Diseases

A thriving cactus is free from pests and diseases. Inspect the cactus regularly for any unusual spots, discolored areas, or signs of pest infestations. Healthy cacti are resilient against common pests and diseases.

Adequate Spacing between Pads

Each pad of the bunny ear cactus should have ample space around it. Crowded pads might lead to increased moisture retention and, consequently, rot. Proper spacing ensures good air circulation, preventing fungal problems.

Active Production of New Pads

A healthy bunny ear cactus regularly produces new pads. This signifies that the plant is actively growing and adapting to its environment. New pads are usually a brighter green and gradually mature to the typical color of the cactus.

Minimal Signs of Stress

Stress signs, such as yellowing or wrinkling, should be absent. A healthy cactus maintains its vibrant color and turgidity, showcasing its ability to adapt to its surroundings.

Strong Roots

While you can’t directly see the roots, a healthy bunny ear cactus manifests its strong root system through the stability and growth of the plant above the soil. A stable, upright cactus indicates a well-established root network providing essential support and nutrients.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Bunny Ear Cactus

Caring for a bunny ear cactus involves a combination of attention to detail and understanding the unique needs of this delightful plant. By following these expert tips, you can ensure your bunny ear cactus remains healthy and vibrant, gracing your space with its natural beauty.

Proper Watering Schedule

Establishing a consistent and appropriate watering routine is paramount for bunny ear cactus care. Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering sessions.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering can result in dehydration. Strike a balance and adjust your watering frequency based on the environmental conditions and the cactus’s specific needs.

Ideal Sunlight Conditions

Bunny ear cacti thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Place your cactus near a sunny window where it can receive filtered sunlight. Protect it from direct, intense sunlight, especially during the hottest hours of the day, to prevent sunburn. Adequate sunlight ensures proper photosynthesis and vibrant growth.

Soil and Pot Selection

Select a well-draining cactus or succulent soil mix for your bunny ear cactus. Good drainage prevents waterlogged roots and promotes aeration. Choose a pot with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape, preventing root suffocation.

Repot your cactus every couple of years to refresh the soil and provide ample space for growth.

Pest and Disease Prevention

Regularly inspect your bunny ear cactus for signs of pests such as mealybugs, aphids, or scale insects. Additionally, watch out for symptoms of diseases like rot or fungal infections.

Act promptly if you notice any issues, employing natural remedies or appropriate insecticides to keep your cactus pest and disease-free.

Pruning and Grooming

Pruning and grooming are essential aspects of bunny ear cactus care. Remove dead or damaged pads with clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. Regular grooming enhances the cactus’s appearance and promotes new growth. Remove any unwanted shoots to maintain the cactus’s shape and prevent overcrowding.

Final Words

A yellow bunny ear cactus is usually a sign of overwatering or too much direct sunlight. To keep your cactus healthy, provide it with well-draining soil and water it sparingly.

If the yellowing continues, consider moving it to a shadier location or adjusting your watering schedule. By understanding the specific needs of your cactus, you can help it thrive and continue to enjoy its unique appearance.


  • https://fantasticservicesgroup.com.au/blog/why-your-cactus-is-turning-yellow/#:~:text=If%20you’ve%20just%20purchased,the%20cactus%20in%20better%20soil.
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323254622_Effect_of_Shade_Levels_on_Growth_and_Biomass_Production_of_Cactus_Opuntiaficus-india_L_Mill

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