Problems - Sunburn
Sunburn can strike a plant if you are not careful when moving or turning the plant. The tropical sun is very hot, so specimens or parts of a specimen that is not used to the direct rays of the sun can get sunburn.
| ||This Mammillaria got sunburn when I moved it from a partially shaded shelter to an aquaculture box. One side of the box gets direct sunlight in the afternoon. Within a few days of the move, numerous tubercles has turned light brown. This is a little different from scars caused by bugs. |
| ||Another view of the Mammillaria specimen. Notice the sunburn has struck one side of the plant only, the side which faces direct sunlight. This plant is still alive. Sunburn is usually not fatal, but a large portion of a plant can retain the unsightly results. |
| ||This is another Mammillaria with a milder case of sunburn. Parts of the plant has darkened to a reddish brown hue in response to direct sunlight. This is sort of a defense mechanism, and it also means that in order to get an authentic shade, a species must be exposed to appropriately intense sunlight. This is not permanent, the colour of the plant will change slowly over time in response to changing levels of light. |
| ||A case of sunburn. This is a Mammillaria. Again, moving the plant too quickly to a sunny location caused the sunburn. The scars are a few months old, new growth has made the plant look a bit better. |
| ||Sunburn on an Echinopsis. I don't think this was caused by a bug. It appeared after I turned the plant 180 degrees around. Foolhardy, I would say. |
| ||An Echinocereus with some mild scarring from sunburn. This is not fatal, but perfection is spoiled. You will have to wait for the plant to grow bigger so that the scars become less prominent. |
| ||Old scars from a sunburn episode on a Ferocactus. This is also a mild case; there is no danger. The beauty of the specimen is however, somewhat spoiled. In another couple of years, the plant should have grown enough so that the scars are hardly visible. |
Here are my notes on sunburn:
- There is no remedy for serious sunburn which cause scarring. Scars can't disappear; you'll have to wait for the plant to grow out of it.
- When you start to see sign of sunburn, move the plant or turn the affected portion away from direct sunlight. You may be able to avoid tissue death and scarring. If the plant looks reddish but firm, then the effect is reversible.
- The best way is to avoid sunburn. Think before moving plants or turning plants around. Be more careful when doing this for plants which get direct sunlight for all or part of a day.