Christmas cacti are relatively simple to grow from seed. Cut segments of one to four and leave them to dry out for two to four days in a cool, dry location. Plant a sand/peat mixture an inch deep in fresh soil. Prior to the development of roots or new growth, water sparingly.
Can a piece of Christmas cactus be rooted in water?
One of the simplest plants to propagate via stem cuttings is the Christmas cactus. Propagating new plants from your existing plants is an easy DIY gardening project.
- 1. Select the appropriate season. Propagating your Christmas cactus plant early in the growth season will improve your chances of success. Start the propagation process in late spring when the cactus is ready to develop again after its winter dormancy.
- 2. Gather the stem cuttings. Make sure each cutting has between two and five stem segments when you take your Christmas cactus cuttings from the parent plant (the flattened leaf sections). You can either use scissors to cut off the section or your hand to pinch and twist it off at a joint. To improve the likelihood of successful propagation, gather several stem cuttings.
- 3. Permit your cuts to heal. For two days, keep your stem cuttings in a cool, dry location so the cut edge can heal. Be sure to stay out of the sun. Your cuttings’ risk of acquiring stem rot will be decreased throughout this healing phase.
- Root the cuttings, step 4. Christmas cactus cuttings can be rooted in either water or a solution made of coarse sand, perlite, or peat. To root in water, put a two-inch layer of pebbles or small stones in the bottom of a glass jar, cover the pebbles with water, then add your cuttings so that just the bottom tip is submerged. Use a pot with drainage holes and wet your rooting media before planting the cuttings if coarse sand mixed with perlite or peat is your preferred choice. Plant your cuttings into the rooting media about a fourth of their length once the excess water has been drained from the pot. Pack the rooting material tightly around the stem to firmly anchor the cuttings. Water the clippings only lightly.
- 5. Give your cuttings six to eight weeks of care. Put your cuttings in a spot with indirect sunlight that is bright. If you placed the cuttings in a water-filled container to root them, keep an eye on the water level and top it off as needed. If you used a sand mixture to root the cuttings, make sure not to overwater it. Overwatering might cause root rot. It will be time for repotting in six to eight weeks (or when the roots are about half an inch long).
- 6. Plant cuttings in a mixture of potting soil. Your cactus has to be replanted in a little container with drainage holes filled with succulent potting soil. Cuttings should be inserted into the soil about an inch deep, and the soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged.
- 7. Keep on giving attention. A Christmas cactus plant requires a location with high humidity levels and strong, indirect light in order to thrive. When the top inch of soil on your Christmas cactus becomes dry, water it. If your air isn’t humid enough, sprinkle the leaves with a spray bottle. Maintain a temperature range between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal flower bud growth. Use a houseplant fertiliser two to three times year, but don’t fertilise for at least three weeks after transplanting, and hold off until mid-October (you may resume once the plant is no longer blooming).
How long do Christmas cactus cuttings take to take root?
A Christmas cactus might take up to a month to take root. You must therefore exercise patience for at least 3 to 4 weeks.
To determine if they have rooted, there are two methods. You can give them a light tug to check for resistance.
Otherwise, keep an eye out for fresh growth at the segment’s tips. The cuttings will start to develop new leaves or flower buds once they have effectively rooted.
Why Won’t My Schlumbergera Propagate?
Your Schlumbergera won’t spread for a number of reasons. They won’t root if the bottom of the lowest segment is torn or broken.
Rot is another frequent problem. Before planting the clipped ends, give them time to callus and cure to avoid that.
Additionally, be very careful not to overwater them. Keep the soil dry and the air damp until the roots have fully formed for optimal results.
Can I root a clipping from a Christmas cactus?
Cuttings from the Christmas cactus are easy to root. After cutting the piece, plant it in a moist peat and sand soil mixture. Submerge the piece roughly one-fourth of its length beneath the dirt. Place the pot in a well-lit location away from the sun.
To prevent rotting, water the cutting gently at first. The cutting should begin displaying symptoms of development at the tips of its leaves after about two or three weeks of roots; this growth is often reddish in colour.
Once your cutting has taken root, you can transplant it into a pot filled with loose potting soil; ideally, you should also add some sand or compost. The initial wilting of the cutting is natural and will gradually stop once the plant has acclimated to its new surroundings.
This is the time to fertilise, water more frequently, and provide more light for the Christmas cactus. It doesn’t get any simpler to propagate Christmas cacti than this.
How is a broken Christmas cactus piece rooted?
Push the chopped stem about 1 to 2 inches into the potting soil so that the calloused end touches it. Ensure that the stem’s lower end, which grew closest to the base, is buried in the ground. Avoid making the potting soil muddy or wet by lightly watering it until it is equally moist. Christmas cacti survive damp weather better than most other cacti, but in wet, soggy soil, the stems are more likely to rot. It’s better to have too little wetness than too much.
Can you plant a cactus piece that has been broken off?
You can, indeed. Keep your plant’s shattered bits since they can grow new plants for you. The only thing you need to do is make sure you are preparing the broken pieces for planting according to the correct procedures.
Checking the piece’s broken end should be your initial step. Make a fresh cut with a sharp knife to straighten up the end if it is crooked or broken.
For a few days, leave the shattered portion alone so that the wound can calluse over in preparation for rooted. Before you start to root it, make sure the cut end is dry and covered with tape.
Is it necessary to prune Christmas cactus?
Pruning. After it has finished blooming, you can prune your Christmas cactus to make it larger and bushier, but never after late spring. Simply pinch off one or more of the parts to trim the plant. If you want to grow more plants from them, replant them in different pots.
How should a Christmas cactus be watered—from the top or the bottom?
To ensure that the water reaches the Christmas cactus’ roots, irrigate it from the bottom up. Continue adding water to the soil until it begins to seep through the pot’s openings. It hydrates the ground.
Ensure that there is no standing water beneath the pot once the soil has been thoroughly moistened. Never leave excess water in the planter; you don’t want mould, root rot, or insects laying eggs there. If the water is fully separate from the pot and is in a tray underneath the pot, that’s acceptable.
Mist the Leaves
You can sprinkle the leaves with water in a spray bottle to keep them as healthy as possible. When watering the plant, misting the leaves only once will be sufficient to provide appropriate hydration.
Cacti can be rooted in water.
Cacti are known for their capacity to endure in extremely dry conditions, such as deserts. However, these robust plants are frequently kept indoors as houseplants. You could try to root your own cacti if you already have a few and desire more without paying any money.
Can cacti grow roots in water? A form of succulent called a cactus can take root in either water or soil. While many cacti will also root in water, other kinds will root better in dirt. You can attempt growing extra plants without having to buy them if you try roots your cactus in water.
There is no assurance that any cactus will thrive in water or soil; occasionally, the conditions are simply not right for the plant. The good news is that roots your cactus in water is simple to do and has a strong probability of working.
When should you put a Christmas cactus in the dark?
Put your Christmas cactus in complete darkness for at least 12 hours every day, beginning in October, to start blooming. In time for the holidays, the plant will have around eight weeks to develop buds and blossom as a result. To encourage your Christmas cactus to bloom again in February after the holiday flowering time, keep up this same pattern.
How long can a Christmas cactus live?
Christmas cacti can survive up to 100 years or longer if given the right care. Even news stories of families passing on their Christmas cacti to future generations as living heirlooms have been documented, such as this one about a particularly resilient plant that dates back to the 1860s. Wow!
The majority of Christmas cacti, however, only live for 20 to 30 years with proper care, despite the fact that they can last for decades and brighten your home every holiday season. By that time, the plants typically perish from widespread problems including overwatering, underwatering, freezing weather (if they spend part of the year outside), pests, illnesses, loss of interest, or simple neglect.
Help, my Christmas cactus is yellowing!
Yikes! Your watering routine is typically to blame if your Christmas cactus doesn’t seem to be growing well. These creatures require more water than desert cacti, but they also don’t want their soil to be wet.
You’re probably not watering your Christmas cactus enough if the leaves are becoming wrinkled and appear withered. You possibly overdid it if they’re more mushy and yellow-black in colour. To get rid of any rotten roots and repot your plant in dry soil, you might need to uproot it.
Why are the leaves on my Christmas cactus limp?
Wilted leaves are frequently caused by improper watering because it is simple to provide too much water (rather than not enough). A Christmas cactus’ weak or drooping leaves are typically the result of either damp soil or root rot. If you have one issue, it will almost certainly lead to another.
Make sure that any extra water you give your Christmas cactus drains slowly but steadily through the drainage holes. If not, your potting soil may be too dense and may not be working. To promote aeration, you can repot the plant in bromeliad soil or fluff it up with perlite.
During the spring through winter growing season, keep the soil lightly moist; only water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. After the flowering season is over, it’s good to allow the soil get a little bit dry in the middle of winter between waterings, but don’t let it get completely parched.
Is a Christmas cactus toxic to cats and dogs?
I’ll keep this short: no. The ASPCA states that Christmas cacti are not dangerous, despite the fact that ingesting any plant may cause some mild vomiting or diarrhoea.
Why are my Christmas cactus’ limp leaves?
Lack of water or much sunlight can occasionally result in wilted or weak Christmas cacti. Start by giving the wilting Christmas cactus a small amount of water if you haven’t been watering it. Every few days, continue to water carefully until the soil is barely damp.
Christmas cactus issues can also result from excessively damp soil. The Christmas cactus cannot tolerate wet roots since it is an epiphyte in its natural habitat on the ground of tropical forests, where it takes moisture and nutrients from the air. The roots of Christmas cacti can become excessively wet and floppy because to poor drainage.
Move your wilted or limp Christmas cactus to a location with more shade, especially in the afternoon, if the leaves look dried or burned.
How frequently should a Christmas cactus be watered?
Christmas cacti are highly common indoor plants, and for good reason too! They produce vibrant, tubular flowers that are pink or purple in hue when they bloom. They are a superb plant because of their lovely blossoms, lengthy bloom period, and simple maintenance needs. Someone in your family most likely owns a Christmas cactus!
About Christmas Cacti
The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) and its cousins don’t exist in hot, arid conditions like deserts or plains, in contrast to other cacti. These epiphytic succulents, which grow on tree branches and take in the high humidity, dappled sunlight, and moderate temperatures, are actually endemic to the tropical rainforests of southern Brazil.
Bottom line: Don’t handle a Christmas cactus like a typical succulent or cactus. They are unable to withstand the same kind of hot, dry weather that other cactus can. These cacti require more frequent watering than most succulents, but you also need to be careful not to overwater them. (See the care guidelines in more detail below.)
Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas Cactus?
The Easter cactus (S. gaertneri), Thanksgiving cactus (S. truncata), and Christmas cactus are the three main varieties of “holiday cacti” that are available (S. x buckleyi). The holiday that each cactus is named after often sees the most blooming. Thanksgiving cacti, which often bloom from November to February and hence go unrecognised as Christmas cacti, make up the majority of “Christmas cacti” sold nowadays. See our post on the several Christmas cacti species and how to distinguish them for more information.
Note: Because it’s the most widely used term and it applies to all three of these species, we’ll refer to all three of them on this page as “Christmas cactus” for simplicity’s sake.
Potting Christmas Cacti
- Choose a pot with a drainage hole on the bottom if you’re choosing one for a Christmas cactus. This prevents the soil from getting overly saturated.
- Most succulent-specific potting mixtures work well for Christmas cacti growth. It’s crucial that your potting soil drains properly.
Where to Put a Christmas Cactus
- Plants should be kept in indirect light that is bright. The best location has an east-facing window or a well-lit bathroom. The delicate leaves might be bleached by too much direct sunshine.
- It is preferable to have a daytime temperature of 70F (21C) and an evening temperature of 60–65F (15–18C).
- Christmas cacti do well in a more humid climate, so keeping them in a well-lit bathroom or kitchen is a smart idea.
- Christmas cacti can be kept in a shady area of the garden or on an unheated porch during the summer until the temperature drops below 50F. (10C). Keep them away from the sun’s rays outside.
How to Care for Christmas Cacti
- Water your plants every two to three weeks, but only when the top third of the soil feels dry to the touch. If the plant is in 6 inches of soil, for instance, water when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry. (Check with your finger!)
- When the soil is completely dry, wet it until water seeps through the drainage holes in the pot. To collect the water, put a tray underneath the pot. To prevent the pot from sitting in water, remove any extra water on the tray after 10 to 15 minutes.
- While the plant is in bloom, it’s very crucial to water thoroughly.
- Feed your indoor plants with a balanced houseplant fertiliser every two weeks from spring through early fall. Feed the cactus once a month in the fall and winter to promote fruitful blooming.
- To promote branching and more flowers, prune plants in the late spring. Simply cut a portion of each stem off; the plant will grow new branches from the incision.
- If desired, plant the cut pieces in potting soil that is only gently damp; they will easily root after a few weeks and make wonderful Christmas gifts!
How to Get Your Christmas Cactus to Bloom
The blooms of Christmas cacti and its relatives are prompted by the lower temperatures and longer nights of fall. The three major varieties of holiday cacti typically bloom on the following schedule:
- Thanksgiving cactus typically produce flowers from late October through mid-winter, making them the earliest and longest bloomers.
- Christmas cacti often bloom in the early to midwinter months.
- Easter cacti flower around the middle of spring through late winter.
If your cactus isn’t flowering, it can be getting too much light or being exposed to too much heat. Here are some suggestions to help you get blooms from yours!
- For a minimum of six weeks, the nights must be at least 14 hours long and the days between 8 and 10 hours. You might need to cover your cactus or relocate it to an area that is exposed to the natural light cycle if you have powerful interior lighting that is on at night.
- When the plant is kept at temps between 50 and 60F, flower buds form best (10 and 15C).
- By subjecting the plant to temps around 45F (7C) for a number of nights in a succession, you can jumpstart the budding process.
- While the plant is in bloom, be sure to water it consistently. The plant may lose its buds if it dries out too much.
- Don’t worry if the cactus loses its buds one winter; the following year it should bloom.
The three primary varieties of “holiday cacti” are as follows:
- Often mistaken for Christmas cacti, Thanksgiving cacti (Schlumbergera truncata) bloom from late October to mid-winter.
- Christmas cacti (S. x buckleyi) flower in the early to midwinter months.
- Late winter to mid-spring is the blooming period for Easter cacti (S. gaertneri).
- Make sure to water your Christmas cactus frequently and keep it cool when the buds on the plant appear ready to open.
- The optimum time to propagate cuttings is late spring when most holiday cacti start to grow after their winter hibernation.
Blossom loss: Your Christmas cactus will probably lose its blossoms if it experiences any kind of stress. As mentioned in the plant care section above, this could be caused by the amount of light or a sudden shift in temperature. Make sure your soil doesn’t become overly dry while buds are developing.
The plant could be vulnerable to mealy bugs and root rot if overwatered. If you experience issues, remove the affected sections and repot the plant in fresh soil.