How to Care for a Christmas Cactus: 10 Tricks & Tips

With its spritely pops of coloration at year’s finish, the tropical Xmas cactus gives some significantly-needed warmth in the or else dull, cold wintertime. When most plants have absent dormant, it shines as a notable getaway spotlight, producing floral explosions of reds, oranges, purples, and whites.

While they are simple to propagate and develop, Christmas cacti require certain care if you want the greatest wintertime blooms. To support you get the most dazzling screen possible, we have set together this helpful checklist of 10 methods and ideas for using treatment of a Xmas cactus.

How to Care for a Christmas Cactus (10 Tricks & Tips

1. Propagate a Christmas Cactus from a Stem Cutting

You can propagate a Christmas cactus with no considerably fuss by having cuttings consisting of 3–4 segments from the conclude of a healthy plant. Consider the cuttings in late spring when the blooming period has passed, and new growth has begun. Keep the cuttings in a amazing, dry location for a few times to permit the finishes to dry out.

Fill a little pot with a sand and peat moss combination. Cuttings should sit about ½ inch to 1 inch underneath the soil. A few or four cuttings can suit into a single container 4–6 inches extensive.

Maintain the soil moist and location the pot in a bright spot away from immediate daylight. Wrap a obvious plastic bag about the cactus and pot, and protected it with a rubber band after watering to supply a humid setting.

The cuttings will build roots in about 2–3 weeks, at which stage you can do absent with the bag. Transplant the cuttings to a more substantial pot with the suitable soil combination in one more 5–6 weeks when the roots are at least fifty percent an inch prolonged.

Christmas Cactus
Image Credit: Pixabay

2. Use a Breathable Pot

Christmas cacti require a lot more h2o than their desert-dwelling counterparts, but they simply cannot stand sitting in waterlogged soil because it may possibly lead to root rot and fungal assaults. Plant your Christmas cactus in a pot with drainage at the base. Instead than use a plastic container, decide for a breathable terra cotta, clay, or ceramic assortment to assist wick moisture from the soil.

The container does not require to be as well massive simply because the Xmas cactus grows nicely with crowded roots. A pot 4–5 inches broad for a handful of child cuttings is sufficient to commence, trying to keep in head that you’ll be repotting in a few months and then every single couple of several years after.

To take total benefit of your Xmas cactus, plant it in a hanging pot or area it on a broad surface so it can cascade freely. No issue the place you put it, make confident the drip tray underneath is easy to entry and eliminate, as you may possibly want to drain it often.

3. Use a Rich, Well-Drained Soil

Although the Xmas cactus is usually tolerant of different soil situations, the most vital facet is drainage. Loamy, sandy soil is best. Use a cactus or succulent combine or potting soil combined with sand and compost. It need to have a 5.5–6.two pH degree, achievable via a sphagnum peat moss modification as essential.

Christmas Cactus
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4. Give It Lots of Light

Although it can endure in low gentle, the best Christmas cactus blooms and expansion happen beneath brilliant light. With that in mind, keep away from giving it way too a lot immediate sunlight, as the leaves very easily burn up and bleach. Place it in an east-experiencing window for partial or diffused daylight.

5. Check Water Levels Weekly

Christmas cacti need constant h2o, but you cannot permit them build damp ft. The removable tray at the bottom of the pot is valuable after watering to stop the roots from flooding. H2o the plant, then wait around about fifteen minutes and vacant the surplus water collected in the bottom of the pot.

Water requirements will range by way of the yr. Scorching summertime days could call for you to drinking water the cactus 2–3 occasions weekly, even though the winter season often allows you cut again to as soon as each 1–2 weeks. The soil has to dry out a small among waterings. When the top third (the very first two inches or so) feels dry, you can add far more h2o. The plant typically shows it demands drinking water in puckered, shriveled, or wilting leaves.

Christmas Cactus
Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

6. Provide a Humid, Room Temperature Environment

As a rainforest dweller, the Christmas cactus enjoys large humidity, if not additional-moist soil. It grows ideal when humidity is about 50–60%, which does not often align with personal comfort. If the room is dry, location a drinking water-filled tray of pebbles beneath your container, producing certain not to enable the drinking water touch the pot. Alternatively, you can mist your plants 2–3 times weekly.

The best temperature assortment for summertime progress is among 65°F and 75°F. Evening temperatures must be about ten levels cooler, hovering all around 55°F to 65°F. If the climate permits, come to feel cost-free to transfer the cactus outdoors to a shady location in the summer season. Go them back again within when the temperatures start to dip under 50°F.

7. Add Fertilizer Frequently

A balanced houseplant fertilizer is an superb amendment to assist with healthier wintertime blooms. Commence adding a 20-20-twenty water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half-strength when the plant has taken root at around 3 months old.

Use fertilizer on your Xmas cactus following the flowering interval, implementing it monthly from spring via summer. To encourage flowering, cease including fertilizer in late slide, about a month prior to buds start emerging. You can resume adding fertilizer after each 4–6 weeks when the plant blooms.

Lawn Fertilizer
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8. Adjust, Watering, Lighting, and Temperature to Trigger Blooming

Upkeep for your Xmas cactus is easy from spring through tumble, but you need to adjust your practices close to October as the plant gears up for flowers. Cool times and extended evenings prompt blooming, and you can maximize expansion by modifying the indoor surroundings appropriately.

Forcing your Xmas cactus into dormancy can encourage greater blooming. End watering close to the time you stop fertilizing in October. Keep it humid or frivolously watered if the soil feels particularly dry.

You have to lower the temperature and adjust lighting for about 6 months before blooming so that the buds will set. Drop the temperature to 50°F–60°F, and modify the lighting to incorporate 12–14 hrs of total darkness. If you can not maintain your crops cooler than 55°F, give it an additional hour or two without mild. Keep vegetation absent from all synthetic and organic mild for the duration of the dark hours. Spot them in vibrant oblique sunlight for the other 10 hrs of the day.

Be constant with watering, ensuring the Christmas cactus does not dry out or grow to be overwatered and shed buds. Begin escalating moisture, temperature, and light-weight when the buds begin forming.

9. Repot Every 2–3 Years

Simply because it prefers being rootbound, you will not have to repot your Xmas cactus each and every 12 months. Modify containers each 3–4 years as an alternative, or refresh them when the plant seems damaged and in need to have of clean soil.

Adjust containers in February or March when the crops are no more time in bloom. Insert clean potting soil to a new pot 2–3 inches greater than the present one particular. Carefully get rid of the cactus from its pot, carefully loosening the root ball as you pull the complete plant from the soil. Set it in the new pot with the roots roughly an inch beneath the soil’s surface.

Christmas Cactus
Image Credit: PollyDot, Pixabay

10. Prune Annually As Needed

Pruning your Christmas cactus can encourage far more branches and, subsequently, far more blossoms as it grows. The plant enters its new expansion phase pursuing its blooming interval. End watering the plant for thirty days right after blooming and give it time to relaxation. You can then start off pruning and propagating up by way of late spring.

You really do not want to prune the Christmas cactus too considerably, but taking away any withered or uncontrolled progress is often a good concept. Twist the plant exactly where two segments satisfy or use a sharp blade to sever the relationship. Reduce 2–3 segments from every single department, making sure to trim only a single-3rd of the plant or considerably less.

Final Thoughts

Random pests like thrips, mealybugs, and scale may be occasional issues. But in general, suitable upkeep helps the Christmas cactus just take care of itself. The crucial concerns are keeping it well-watered and supplying it the appropriate sum of daylight.

It can appear like a whole lot to bear in mind when you are obtaining commenced, and you should not be disheartened if you see a number of buds fall in the first period. With these ideas and tricks for caring for a Christmas cactus, you will learn that it can be added effortless to delight in one particular of nature’s most spectacular wintertime displays.



Showcased Graphic Credit score: Burkhard Trautsch, Shutterstock