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My Cactus Is Hairy – Do I Have A Problem?

Ask the Expert: My cactus is growing white hairs. Is this okay?

My cactus, which I keep in the kitchen has begun to grow a lot of short white hair at the top of the plant. I’m wondering if this is natural, or if maybe I’m over/under watering it. I attached a picture of it.

Thanks for your help. Sammy

Cactus with white hairs


  1. Sammy,

    I’m not a cactus expert but I believe this is a normal process for some cacti. There are a few pests that attack cactus. I suppose in a way woolly aphids and mealy bugs could sort of look like hairs. Get a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers, Pull one of the hairs off the plant and examine it. If it is an aphid or a mealy bug you will be able to tell under the magnifying glass.

    We’ve had cactus similar to this at the nursery and they were a little hairy. So, I really don’t think you have to worry. Remember let you cactus dry before you water it. Keep me posted.

  2. Sammy Davis-Mendelow says:

    Thanks for your quick response. I’ll keep up with the regular routine
    and let you know if any problems manifest.


  3. Sammy Davis-Mendelow says:

    I asked you about a hairy cactus that I thought might be in trouble, and
    said I would let you know it’s progress. Well, everything seems to be
    fine, it’s a happy little cactus.
    Thank you again for your reassurance,


  4. Sammy,

    I am glad to hear that you cactus is doing well. Keep me posted because I believe eventually the cactus will bloom.

  5. Shirley Olson says:

    In have a Christmas cactus that is at least 15 years old and has never bloomed. what is the problem? I take care of it just like all the rest of my Christmas cactus and they do fine. HELP.

  6. Shirley,

    It’s not an uncommon problem. Christmas cacti are shy bloomers and need near ideal conditions before they’ll grace you with their beautiful blooms. They need a cool, dry place to rest in early spring. And once a bud appears, do not move the plant at all or it may interrupt the process. It has also been said that coffee or tea dregs will help it bloom, just make sure there is no cream, milk or sugar involved.



  7. i have just got a cactus today and im worried that it might have mealybug it has hair on it to almost like a cottenish kind i dont know if thats normal or what

  8. Jamie Woods says:

    Hey Chris,
    This can be normal. The best way to tell if it is normal an infestation of some sort is to get a pair of tweezers and a magnifying glass. Pull one of the hairs off and look at it under the magnifying glass. If it is an insect problem, you should be able to see them. Otherwise, I would not worry about it too much and just take care of your cactus as usual. Let me know if you have any other questions!