Find out how to develop and look after Christmas Cactus


The Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) is a ravishing plant that will get its highlight across the vacation season.

The blooms of the Christmas Cactus are triggered by temperature and day size (known as a “thermo-photoperiodic” response), so that you’ll must pay shut consideration to a couple particulars if you wish to preserve your cactus and have it bloom 12 months after 12 months.

This plant is product of segmented stems with notched particulars on the sides of the leaves and it blooms tubular flowers in late fall to early winter. Originating from the rainforests of Brazil, it normally grows in crevices of rocks or on timber coated in moss.

Associated: Be taught to Take care of Pilea Crops, Monstera, Jade CropsCalathea, Spider Crops, Fiddle Leaf FigsGolden PothosSnake CropsRubber Bushes, and String of Pearls Crops.

Christmas Cactus on a table
Christmas Cactus leaves

Sorts of Christmas Cactus

There are three fundamental sorts of Christmas Cactus you’ll be able to select from:

  • Easter Cactus: (S. gaertneri) Bloom from later winter to mid-spring with rounded leafs and tiny bristles on the edges.
  • Thanksgiving Cactus: (Schlumbergera truncata) These are sometimes mistaken for Christmas Cacti and bloom from late fall to mid-winter. The flower colours may be purple, pink, peach, purple, orange, or white and it options claw-shaped projections on its leaves.
  • Christmas Cactus: (S. x buckleyi) Bloom from early to mid-winter with white and magenta flowers. It has rounded flat leaf segments with notches across the edges.

How a lot daylight does a Christmas Cactus want?

You’ll need gentle that’s brilliant however oblique on your Christmas Cactus. Whereas it will possibly tolerate some direct gentle, you’ll wish to decrease it as an excessive amount of could cause the leaves to burn.

If you’re making an attempt to encourage a plant to rebloom subsequent vacation season, you’ll want to provide it no less than 13 hours of whole uninterrupted darkness beginning in mid-October to be able to get buds to type for the plant to flower.

christmas cactus

How typically must you water a Christmas Cactus?

Whereas Christmas Cactus do require extra water than another drought-tolerant cacti varieties, watering your cactus an excessive amount of can result in root rot, so that you’ll wish to ensure your cactus dries out sufficient between watering.

Stick your finger within the soil to examine the water degree and as soon as the highest 2″ of grime really feel dry, give it a superb watering. Ensure to use a pot with drainage holes so the plant has good drainage away from its roots.

Do you have to fertilize a Christmas Cactus?

You’ll be able to fertilize your Christmas Cactus with a basic all-purpose fertilizer month-to-month when the plant is blooming. If you’re making an attempt to maintain it previous the vacation season, you’ll be able to preserve fertilizing month-to-month till early fall.

In mid-October, cease feeding and wait till the plant blooms once more to renew a month-to-month fertilization schedule.

Temperature and humidity degree for Christmas Cactus

Since they originate from the rainforest, Christmas Cactus get pleasure from greater humidity and temperatures between 70°F and 80°F. As soon as buds absolutely seem, they require decrease nighttime temperatures between 55°F and 65°F.

Like most vegetation, preserve it away from heating vents, exterior doorways, and drafty areas close to home windows as temperature modifications could cause it to drop its buds or flowers.

You’ll be able to add extra humidity to your house with a humidifier or you’ll be able to put some pebbles and water in a tray and easily place your pot on high (ensure the water degree sits under the highest of the pebbles). The pot will sit on high of the stones and the water within the tray will evaporate and create humidity across the plant. You may as well frivolously mist the plant often so as to add extra humidity.

Loos or kitchens are an important spot for Christmas Cactus (so long as it has the correct gentle for them) as they’re a extra humid atmosphere.

Christmas Cactus on a table

Pruning Christmas Cactus

Whilst you can snip off light flowers to redirect the plant’s power to different areas, Chrismas Cacti don’t want pruning until your plant has grown bigger than you want to and also you wish to preserve it extra compact.

Repotting Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cacti are low upkeep on this space as they may truly are likely to bloom higher when they’re just a little root sure.

You’ll be able to replant them right into a barely bigger container with good draining soil (in a pot with drainage holes) each three years or so through the spring.

Propagating Christmas Cactus

You’ll be able to simply propagate Christmas Cacti from cuttings of the unique plant. Simply ensure to attend till the plant has completed flowering. So, early spring is the perfect time to make cuttings relatively than when it’s forming buds within the fall. All you must do is:

  1. Put together a small pot of potting soil or cactus combine.
  2. Utilizing sterile scissors or shears, reduce off stems of cactus which have 3-5 sections on every stem. You’ll be able to plant a number of sections in a single pot, so reduce as much as 5 stems to plant in a single container.
  3. Let the ends dry out for 4-5 days till a callous varieties over the reduce space.
  4. Push the dried ends into the soil about 1″ deep utilizing 3-5 stems per pot.
  5. In about two weeks, your roots will develop however you wish to preserve it properly watered whereas it’s rooting and you’ll place a plastic bag excessive to extend the humidity till the roots have taken maintain.
  6. Search for new leaf and stem development earlier than repotting it in a bigger container.
Christmas Cactus on a table

Encouraging Christmas Cactus to bloom

If you wish to preserve your Christmas Cactus and encourage it to bloom subsequent vacation season, you’ll want to provide it some additional TLC all year long:

  • In mid-October, cease fertilizing and maintain off on watering the plant till buds seem.
  • Hold your cactus in an space that stays between 50°-60°F.
  • Restrict the hours of sunshine the cactus receives for the following 6-8 weeks because it wants about 13 hours of uninterrupted whole darkness every night time (you’ll be able to place a black material over it or put it in a closet). In case your room is hotter than 60°, attempt giving it a couple of additional midnights every day to make up for the hotter circumstances.
  • As soon as flower buds have absolutely fashioned, transfer the plant to an space with brilliant oblique gentle and look forward to buds to totally open (you don’t want to provide them 13 midnights at this level anymore). Ensure to maintain watering the plant as soon as it flowers as it could drop its buds if it will get too dry.
  • When you discover that the cactus buds fall off the primary winter, attempt once more as it will possibly nonetheless bloom the next 12 months.

Diagnosing widespread issues

  • Blossom drop: Sudden modifications in temperature could cause flowers or blossoms to drop, so ensure your plant is located away from drafty areas or heating vents.
  • Puckered or shriveled leaves: Underneath watering could cause leaves to pucker or shrivel, so really feel the soil and if it’s dry, water completely and see if the plant perks up in a day or so.
  • Mealy bugs: These tiny bugs may be noticed by the small cottony lots that they construct on the plant. Attempt eradicating the lots with a toothpick or clear the plant with a tender toothbrush.
  • Spider mites: Whereas the precise mites are laborious to see with simply your eye, in the event you see tiny recognizing or webbing in your plant, you most likely have a problem with spider mites. Use an insecticidal cleaning soap spray to take away them and preserve the plant cleaned as mites are interested in mud.
  • Root rot: When over watered Christmas Cactus are extra inclined to root rot, so ensure the cactus dries out sufficient between waterings to keep away from circumstances which can be too soggy.

Often Requested Questions

Are Christmas Cactus poisonous to pets or youngsters?

A Christmas Cactus isn’t toxic to pets or youngsters, however it will possibly trigger some abdomen upset if eaten in massive portions, so it’s greatest to maintain it away from pets or babies that can attempt to nibble on it.


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