You are a succulent fan with an array of beautiful cacti, Aloe Vera, stone plants and whatnot. Definitely, you either already have a Christmas cactus or are planning to get one as soon as possible. That one every gardener and nature lover should have at home. You know it can be tricky when you are dealing with any new plant and the same goes for Christmas cactus.
Generally, people find it hard to schedule infrequent watering and providing the right feeding at the right time in the year. You will find some basic tips below so you can enjoy a blooming Christmas cactus. With patience and care, you can have a thriving succulent that you will be proud of.
Blooming Christmas cactus in decorative planters
You must keep this succulent away from direct sunlight, vents and other heat sources. It’s a good idea to move the plant outdoors in an area of indirect sunlight in the summers. Direct light can cause growth problems and burn the leaves.
During fall, around mid-October, limit light exposure to 10 hours and allow the plant to remain in darkness (keep it in an unlit room) for 12 to 14 hours to allow a dormant stage. This dormancy encourages bud development. Once the buds form, move the plant to an area of indirect sunlight to help it bloom.
Combine 3 parts potting soil and 1 part sand and use this potting combo for planting the succulent. You can also use one part potting soil, one part perlite and two parts peat moss as an option.
You need two planters, fill the larger of the two with small to medium sizes pebbles or rocks and then place the planter that contains your cactus on it. Your plant should at least be raised an inch or two on the bottom.
This plant needs feeding 2 to 4 times a year.
You can see more about SOIL MIX & FERTILIZERS FOR SUCCULENTS.
The Christmas cactus unlike other cacti requires above average humidity. You can place a saucer of water next to the plant to maintain humidity from 50% to 60%. Another method is to fill a container with gravel and half fill it with water. Place the cactus pot on it but ensure that the water itself does not reach the pot; otherwise the roots would rot because of too much water. Check the humidity levels with a humidity meter to be on the safe side.
With succulents, especially cacti, a general rule of thumb is to water less than more. Overwatering causes more damage than infrequent watering. Still, Christmas cactus needs to be hydrated more than the average cactus, or otherwise the buds will drop. You can water the plant if the top inch of the soil is completely dry. You can water the soil directly or try the soaking method. Do mist the plant as it absorbs water through its leaves.
Celebrate the Holidays with Christmas Cactus
- Fill the outer container with two inches of water and let the plant roots absorb water. Remove excess water after 12 hours to ensure the plant doesn’t develop root rot.
- Water once a week if you are keeping it indoors or the weather is mild and humid.
- Water two or three times a week outdoors or in warm or dry weathers.
- Cut down on watering in fall and winter months.
Stop watering in October and water sparsely in November in case the soil is too dry (place the pot on a container of wet gravel if you haven’t used the double container) but do not saturate the soil with water as that can shock the plant and cause buds to drop.
Stop watering the plant when it’s blooming (Christmas time) and let it rest for 6 weeks. When you notice new buds growing then you can begin your watering as usual.
In summers, the temperature can be from 65 to 75 degrees however cooler temperatures are necessary in the fall and winter months for blooming.
Christmas cactus is thermo periodic, which means it needs alternate warm and cool periods to trigger the growth and flowering responses of the plant. That means the plant buds need equal amounts of day and night length (no artificial light even) in mid-October for several weeks (6 to 8 weeks at least)
Temperature fluctuations can affect this succulent drastically. The temperature should be maintained around 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the plant should never be exposed to cold temperatures otherwise the buds will drop early on.
Christmas Cactus's bloom season comes during the fall, usually in the early days of November. The “trick” to get them to bloom comes down to three factors:
Reduce watering: To start, you need to limit the amount of water your plant normally receives around October. Water the plant only when it feels dry to touch.
Adjust light: Christmas Cactus is known as a short-day plant, which means it needs 12-24 hours of darkness every day, preferably in a cool room to enter a flowering period. Keep in mind that indirect bright sunlight during the day is fine, yet it is essential to give it 12-hours of absolute darkness at night.
Provide cooler temperature: The ideal temperature for Christmas cactus to bloom is 50-55F, which might require you to turn down your heater or find a cooler spot in the room.
You can see more about HOW TO MAKE CHRISTMAS CACTUS BLOOM SEVERAL TIMES A YEAR.
For detail guide on how to grow and care for Christmas cactus, you can watch our video below:
Enjoy your gardening with our collection of beautiful cacti. They are easy to grow, incredibly adaptable, relatively pest-free, and are low maintenance - ideal for any home, office, or garden to make a perfect green space.
Please see more Cactus Care Guide 101 to ensure years of enjoyment.
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Find out more other Types of Succulents Care Guide.