How to Prune a Christmas Cactus: 3 Tips & Tricks

Portion of getting good care of your Christmas Cactus is pruning it. Otherwise, these cacti can become overgrown, which can make them much more difficult to take care of. Additionally, trimming your cactus will develop a bushier plant that is typically a lot more aesthetically satisfying.

Luckily, pruning is pretty straightforward. Nevertheless, it is essential not to more than- or below-prune. Otherwise, you may run into problems with plant expansion.

Still, with some straightforward actions, it isn’t terribly hard to prune these cacti.

The 3 Steps to Prune a Christmas Cactus

1. Decide Why You’re Pruning

propagating Christmas cactus plant
Image Credit: Bilalstock, Shutterstock

There are two reasons you may possibly want to prune your Xmas Cactus. First of all, you could make a decision to prune the cacti since you want them to grow a lot more totally. In this circumstance, you will want to prune again a single to two segments for every stem. This will stimulate the plant to branch out and turn out to be complete rather of extended and lanky.

Nevertheless, you can also propagate Xmas Cacti. Nonetheless, this calls for more time parts. In this scenario, you are going to want to prune back again before a divide, which typically translates to 4 to five segments. As you may well envision, this will make your cactus a lot smaller sized. Even so, you will be capable to expand new cacti with the items.

Generally, cuttings bigger than two sections can increase a new plant. Even so, the larger, the greater. You want to strike a balance between getting a large enough clipping to expand a new plant although also not detrimental your existing plant also much.

2. Wait Until the Cactus Has Bloomed

Christmas Cacti go through several progress phases. Generally, this implies that the plant will go via durations of blooming and durations of growth. All additional vitality will be set toward possibly blooming or expanding, relying on the stage.

Consequently, you really do not want to prune your cactus when it is trying to bloom. If you do this, then you will simply stop up with fewer blooms, and your cactus won’t develop that significantly in the meantime.

Rather, it is very best to prune the cactus proper soon after it blooms. Correct after blooming, the cactus will commence striving to expand. As a result, by pruning appropriate just before this time period of expansion, you inspire the plant to department and ought to see new expansion rather rapidly.

3. Twist Each Segment Off

exposed roots of Christmas cactus plant
Image Credit: Bilalstock, Shutterstock

When you’re all set to prune your cactus, you need to crack each and every stem at the segment between segments. Every single phase will be bigger and rectangular. In among each and every phase, there will be a small piece of stem. As soon as you know how a lot of segments back to prune, just shift the very last among pieces and twist gently. The stem should break effortlessly listed here and it will encourage the cactus to branch.

Do not worry about getting extremely gentle. You want to twist speedily and proficiently to avoid triggering hurt to other elements of the plant. You can also use your thumbnail to different the stem at the junction, although twisting is usually far better, as it doesn’t do as a lot damage.

Some really previous and thick vegetation will demand the use of shears for pruning. These plants need to be pruned in the exact same area.

Will Trimming a Christmas Cactus Kill It?

If you trim a plant too a lot, it will die. Cacti shop water in their leaves. For that reason, if you eliminate way too several leaves, the plant will lose too significantly h2o. Rather, you need to preferably only trim it back up to 4 segments absent. This need to decrease the plant’s size considerably, but it must also stop the plant from dying.

Pruning the plant at the proper time is important, as well. You want the cactus to immediately start off branching out right after pruning. For this to happen, you want to prune it soon following it blooms.

close up christmas cactus leaves
Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay

How Do You Rejuvenate an Old Christmas Cactus?

Christmas Cacti that are not regularly trimmed will get leggy and turn into wood. Usually, this is not excellent for the plant, as it limitations the variety of blooms it will make. If you have an older cactus, you can rejuvenate it to inspire new expansion and far more blooms. Nonetheless, you have to do this cautiously, as this approach can also get rid of it.

If the plant has turned woody, then you will need to have to reduce it back all the way to the woody section (as prolonged as this would not result in the plant to be trimmed back by much more than one/three of its all round size). New, eco-friendly growths must increase from the woody areas, which are also the elements that should generate flowers.

You ought to trim back again the cactus every calendar year following it blooms. In this way, you will assist guarantee that the cactus does not turn into unrejuvenated and continues to expand.

How Do You Fix a Leggy Christmas Cactus?

If your Christmas cactus is absolutely nothing but legs, you must trim it back to motivate branching. Several Xmas cacti will not department out until they are trimmed regularly. If you haven’t pruned your cactus in a prolonged time, you must trim it again by a few to 4 sections right after it blooms. This is the maximum that each and every stem should be reduce back, and you must not trim back this significantly on a standard basis.

After this very first, main pruning, you need to trim it back by one particular to two sections every calendar year. As soon as again, this will stop your cactus from getting to be overgrown and encourage added branching each yr.


We hugely suggest that you trim back your Xmas cactus routinely. This helps your cactus department out and helps prevent it from turning into overgrown. If permitted to develop without having pruning, many cacti will turn into woody and minimize their general expansion. In some cases, the cacti might not bloom as a lot, possibly.

As a result, while it may seem to be counterintuitive, pruning back again a cactus is vital for its growth.


Highlighted Impression Credit score: Bilalstock, Shutterstock