Why does the Christmas cactus have limp leaves?

The Christmas cactus is one of the most common plants in many homes. However, after a while it is common for it to start to lose the verve it had when you bought it. Do you have a limp-leafed Christmas cactus now?

This problem, believe it or not, can be serious, to the point of damaging the plant very negatively. But to solve it, first of all you need to know why it happened. And even if we tell you that it’s because you don’t give it proper care, what have you failed at? Here we leave you the main reasons.



As you know, Watering is one of the most important Christmas cactus care. It needs watering, but it is true that it does not need as much as other plants. That is what can lead you to make a mistake and cause the dreaded limp leaves to appear.

And it is that, when this plant lacks water, the shine and strength of its leaves is lost. In other words, it begins to reserve to stay alive longer at the cost of losing its leaves, which is why they become limp.

Howeverjust as the lack of irrigation can be a problem, the excess is also harmful. And a lot. Because by watering it so much it means that the plant cannot absorb the nutrients from that water and, therefore, it does not reach the leaves, so you will have the same problem.

The solution in this case is to establish a good balance in irrigation. Try to follow this guideline:

In spring and summer water only once a week.

In autumn and winter, every 15 days.

This is not something that you should follow to the letter, but if you start there and see how the plant evolves, if you notice that its leaves change, you will have more time to act (with more or less watering).


Another reason why the Christmas cactus has limp leaves may be due to the soil you used to plant it. In case you don’t know, the ideal soil for this cactus has to carry a lot of organic matter. Otherwise, it will suffer. Maybe not at first (when you bought or transplanted it) but in the short-medium term you will have this problem.

The solution here is much easier since you will only have to make an urgent change of soil, transferring it to one that you know is doing well.

soil fertilizer

Related to the soil that we were talking about before, another problem that can cause your Christmas cactus to have limp leaves is compost. Sometimes, not understanding the care a plant needs causes you to make mistakes. And in the case of the Christmas cactus, the excess of minerals and sodium can be a “death sentence”.

In other words, wanting to give it more energy and have more nutrients can only cause the plant to die from excess. Especially if this is related to an extra sodium or other minerals. As far as possible, it is best that you do not pay it, or if you do, that it be very occasionally.

Old age

Christmas cactus flower

All plants have a life cycle. And there are some that put out leaves, flowers, etc. that they are not eternal, but, after a while, they have to die to make way for others.

That is what we are going to find in this chaos with the Christmas cactus. Sometimes you are not doing anything wrong with your plants, but what is happening is a natural aging process whereby the plant begins to let the leaves become limper and limp, that it no longer bears flowers and that, little by little, it dries up or falls off. This is bad? Far from it, it’s actually good because it implies that a new leaf may be on the way.


We cannot avoid it, the truth is that you can also find problems, and serious ones, in your Christmas cactus. When there is no reason why this plant should have limp leaves, at least not one of the above, you must take into account that you are facing a plague or a disease.

What do you do in such cases? To begin with, check the plant from top to bottom. You have to see if there is any pest, bug or something that is rare in it and that can put you on alert. In case you find it, try to identify what the problem is, and then seek the best possible treatment.

If it is due to an infestation, you could give the plant a thorough cleaning to begin with., and then seek some treatment to treat it and prevent it from happening again. This implies that the plant will be bad for a while, and it is possible that it will not recover the size with which you bought it. But it will be saving her.

In the case of illness, it can be a bit more difficult to locate and treat, but you can always try.

salt buildup

When irrigated with inadequate water, or when fertilizing, sometimes there can be accumulations of salt, which, although at first they do not appear or cause damage, over time, and as the amount increases, can cause problems, making the leaves they become limp

The solution is easy: change the water or use sodium-free fertilizers. In these two ways the problem should end and the Christmas cactus should have good leaves.

Solar exposition

Details of plant with limp leaves

Although we are talking about a cactus, the truth is that the location to put it is not so simple. Specifically, if there is too much sun on the leaves, they can burn, but it can also cause them to lose their hydration, hence the leaves appear dehydrated. The solution to recover them is to water it so that it reabsorbs the water that it has lost with the sun.

But you should also move it to a less sunny place.

Having a Christmas cactus with limp leaves is not a good thing. Therefore, at least once a week we recommend that you review it to anticipate any problems it may have. Has it ever happened to you? How have you solved it?

Why does the Christmas cactus have limp leaves?

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