The Christmas Cactus is a beautiful plant that can bring life to any room. This care guide will explain how to keep your plants healthy and beautiful
Christmas is coming, and that means it’s time to get your Christmas cactus ready. This festive plant is a popular choice for many homeowners during the holiday season. How do you care for a Christmas cactus so that it can thrive all year long?.
Christmas cacti are succulents, meaning they thrive in dry conditions. In order to keep your cactus healthy, water it sparingly and only when the soil is completely dry. Make sure to avoid getting the leaves wet, as this can lead to fungal growth.
Cacti need a lot of light in order to bloom, but they also need periods of darkness in order to produce flowers. For this reason, it’s important not to place your cactus in a spot where it will be constantly exposed to light. A sunny windowsill is ideal, but if you don’t have one then try using a grow light.
Cactus: A Brief History
Schlumbergera bridgesii, which is another name for Christmas cacti, comes from the dense rainforests of Brazil. The plants grow wild and tend to form large clumps.
For many years, these cacti were not commonly grown in the U.S., as they were thought to be difficult to care for. However, the breeding of Christmas cacti started in America in the 1950s, and, in the early 1990s, Christmas cacti became popular as easy-to-grow houseplants.
The reason for the plants’ growing popularity is that they are relatively easy to care for. They do best in bright, indirect light and should be watered only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Also, it’s easy to make more Christmas cacti by taking cuttings from a healthy plant.
How Is Christmas Cactus Different From Other Cactus Plants?
The Christmas cactus is different from other cactus plants primarily because of its blooming period; it blooms around the Christmas season. Other cactus plants may bloom at other times of the year. Other differences include
Leaves and Flowers
The leaves and flowers of the Christmas cactus are different from other cactus plants. The leaves are thin and flat, with a sharp point on the end. They are green with a reddish edge. The flowers are small, red, and tubular. They grow in clusters along the stem.
The leaves and flowers of other cactus plants grow on the stem. They are small and green, with a sharp point on the end. The flowers are small, red, and tubular. They grow in clusters along the stem.
The Christmas cactus needs to be watered more often than other cactus plants. It should be watered when the soil is dry to the touch. Other cactus plants can go longer without water. They should be watered every two to three weeks nonetheless.
The Christmas cactus needs bright, indirect light. It can tolerate some direct sunlight, but too much will cause the leaves to turn red. Other cactus plants need full sun to partial shade. They can tolerate more direct sunlight than Christmas cactus.
Christmas cactus prefers cooler temperatures. It should be kept between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Other cactus plants can tolerate higher temperatures. They should be kept between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Christmas cactus needs a well-draining, sandy soil. Other cactus plants need well-draining, loamy soil.
Christmas cactus needs to be fertilized every two weeks during the growing season. Other cactus plants need to be fertilized every three weeks during the growing season.
Pest and Disease Resistance
The Christmas cactus is more resistant to pests and diseases than other cactus plants. It is especially resistant to mealybugs, scale insects, and root rot. Other cactus plants are more susceptible to these problems.
Growing Holiday Cactus From Seed
If you would like to have a blooming Christmas cactus of your own, you can propagate it from seed. Here are the steps to growing Christmas cactus from seed:
- Collect seeds from a ripe Christmas cactus fruit. The seeds are small and black, and they will be inside the fruit’s jelly-like pulp
- Rinse the seeds in water and then soak them in lukewarm water overnight
- Fill a pot with sterile potting mix and sow the seeds on the surface. Press them into the soil lightly so that they are covered but not too deep
- Mist the soil lightly with water and then place the pot in a warm location that receives indirect sunlight
- Keep the soil moist by misting it daily, and watch for germination which should occur within 2-4 weeks
- When the seedlings have grown their first set of true leaves, transplant them into individual pots and continue to care for them as described above.
Care Instructions for Your Christmas Cactus Plant
Many households enjoy the bright and cheerful vibes of this lovely plant during the holidays. Here are some tips on how to care for it:
The Christmas cactus does best when it is kept in a bright location, but not in direct sunlight. They will need between eight and twelve hours of light a day. If the plant isn’t getting enough light, it will start to stretch toward the light.
Water and Temperature
This plant should be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Be sure not to water it too much, as this can lead to root rot. A study has shown that Christmas cactus prefers moist but not wet soil, so you may need to water it more often during the summer than in the winter.
And also, Christmas cacti prefer cooler temperatures, between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate warmer temperatures, but they will bloom less often.
Fertilizing your Christmas cactus is important in order to keep it healthy and flowering. Use a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/4 strength every other week from March through September.
Your Christmas Cactus will not require fertilizer during the winter months because it is dormant. Fertilizing them at this time could cause them to grow too big and leggy. Your plant will benefit from this, both in terms of its health and its appearance.
It’s also important to prune your Christmas cactus. Prune it after the plant has flowered to remove any dead or damaged stems. You can also prune to shape the plant if you desire.
Also, make sure the scissors or clippers you use to prune are sharp, and clean them between cuts with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to stop diseases from spreading.
With these tips, you will be well on your way to having a beautiful Christmas cactus that will bloom year after year.
How to Repot Christmas Cactus
Christmas cacti are not only very popular during the holidays, but they’re easy to take care of and can last you for years with proper care. If your Christmas cactus is starting to look a little wilted, it may be time to repot it.
To repot your amazing Christmas cactus plant, you will need:
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to repot your beautiful cactus plant.
- Gently remove the Christmas cactus from its old pot. If the roots are tangled, gently untangle them with your fingers
- Place the Christmas cactus in the new pot
- Fill in around the roots with potting soil, making sure to pack it down tightly
- Sprinkle plant food on top of the soil
- Water well.
Troubleshooting Problems with the Christmas Cactus
The Christmas cactus can have a number of problems, like losing its leaves, getting eaten by mealybugs, or getting root rot. On the other hand, this plant is prone to developing a few different issues.
Not Producing Flower Buds
The most common problem with Christmas cactus is when it does not produce flower buds. There are several reasons why this may happen. One reason may be that the plant is not getting enough bright light.
Make sure to place your cactus in a location where it will receive plenty of bright light but not direct sunlight. Another reason may be that the plant is not getting enough water. Be sure to water your cactus when the soil feels dry to the touch.
Leaves Start Turning Yellow
Another common problem with Christmas cactus is when the leaves start to turn yellow. This may be a sign that the plant is not getting enough water or that it is being over-fertilized.
If your plant starts to turn yellow, you can either water it more often or run water through the drainage hole to get rid of any extra fertilizer.
Mature Plant Suffers From Root Rot
Finally, Christmas cacti can suffer from root rot if they are kept too wet. Root rot is a fungal disease that creates fungus gnats that can kill the plant. If you think your plant may have root rot, remove it from the pot and inspect the roots.
If the roots have become mushy or black, cut them off at the soil level and repot the plant in a potting mix that is fresh and dry. Christmas cacti are tough plants that can usually recover from root rot if it is caught early enough.
How Do You Keep a Christmas Cactus Healthy?
Christmas cactus should be kept in a cool place, away from direct light. They also need to be watered sparingly, and their humidity level should be maintained properly; only water when the soil is dry to the touch. Fertilize once a month with a balanced fertilizer.
Where Is the Best Place to Put a Christmas Cactus?
The Christmas cactus does best in bright, indirect sunlight. They can tolerate some direct sun, but too much will cause the leaves to scorch.
What Type of Potting Soil Is Best for a Christmas Cactus?
Use a pot with good drainage that is made especially for cacti to grow succulents. You can find this at your local nursery or garden center.
How Often Should You Give Your Christmas Cactus Darkness?
To get a long-lived plant to bloom, keep it in cooler temperatures at night for 12–14 hours per day. You can do this any time from October to February.
What Kind of Pots Do Christmas Cactus Like?
It is best to use unglazed clay pots for your Christmas cactus because they help the plant to dry out between waterings, which helps to maintain a regular moisture level. They also need to be well ventilated.
In summary, to care for your Christmas cactus, keep it in a cool place with bright indirect sunlight, water sparingly when the soil is dry, fertilize monthly excluding the winter month, with a balanced fertilizer, and give it extended periods of darkness to induce blooming.
Use an unglazed clay pot to help the plant dry out between waterings and maintain regular moisture levels. With a little patience and regular care, your Christmas cactus will thrive for many years to come.