Here are some ideas for planting Christmas cacti that will work well for you:
- Repotting a Christmas cactus can be challenging, so go slowly. For bromeliads or succulents, opt for a commercial potting mix that is light and well-drained. A mixture of two thirds ordinary potting soil and one third sand can also be used.
- Repot Christmas cactus into a pot that is just a little bit bigger than the container it is now in. Make sure the container has a bottom drainage hole. Despite preferring moisture, Christmas cactus will quickly decay if the roots are denied air.
- Remove the plant from the pot together with the soil ball around it, then gently separate the roots. If the potting soil is compacted, use a little water to gently wash it away from the roots.
- The top of the root ball should be about an inch (2.5 cm) below the pot’s rim when the Christmas cactus is replanted in the new container. Fresh potting soil should be inserted around the roots, and the soil should be lightly patted to remove air pockets. Don’t overwater it.
- Place the plant in a shaded area for two or three days before returning to the plant’s regular maintenance regimen.
A Christmas cactus requires what kind of soil?
Commercial potting mixtures for cacti are available and will guarantee proper drainage. But you can create your own with a little work.
The simplest medium calls for a mixture of two parts perlite and three parts normal potting soil. This will offer drainage that is more than adequate. Compost, perlite, and milled peat can all be combined in equal amounts if you want to go one step further.
When the soil is dry, give your Christmas cactus some water.
While avoiding letting the soil fully dry up, avoid letting water collect in the pot or the saucer underneath. Water volume is not nearly as critical as drainage.
The Christmas cactus like to be slightly root-bound and is accustomed to growing in tight spaces on trees. It should only be transplanted once every three years, in a pot with just a little area for development.
What types of containers do Christmas cacti prefer?
Do clay pots work well for Christmas cacti? From the plastic pot it came in, I am repotting my. R. Linda
Christmas cacti are ideal for clay pots because of how rapidly they drain. Because clay is a porous substance, it allows for good airflow and conductive conditions. Because clay pots absorb water, it is considerably simpler to assess the soil’s moisture levels because you can determine if the soil is moist merely by glancing at the planter because wet clay turns dark.
The same light brown consistent color of clay pots is very accessible, making them inexpensive and providing consistency for decorative uses. Although clay pots are not the most appealing containers you can use for your Christmas cacti, they are still a wonderful choice because they are inexpensive, easily accessible, porous, and quickly drain. They also look good when used in groups.
However, the durability of clay pots is a drawback. A clay pot will break into pieces if it is dropped on concrete. Clay pots are particularly brittle in the winter because exposure to the cold stiffens the clay composition, making the planters more prone to cracking and even breaking.
Clay pots also have a quick drainage system, which is generally a good thing. However, in the summer, the quick drainage of clay pots can cause the soil to dry out much more quickly than usual. In order to prevent the soil from drying out when using clay pots, pay especially close attention to the moisture levels in the soil.
How should a Christmas cactus be divided and replanted?
You can divide your Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus if it becomes too large and pot-bound. Cut through it with a clean, sharp knife through its thick roots. Depending on the size of the plant, you can split it into two to four halves. Replant the divisions in a cactus potting soil that drains well. Wait to cut or shape these young plants until after they bloom, even if they may appear a little off-balance. By doing this, you’ll prevent removing any flower buds.
Do Christmas cacti benefit from coffee grounds?
During the growing season, give your cactus fertilizer with potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus once or twice a month. It is simpler to feed a plant when the fertilizer dissolves in water. Epsom salts can also be administered to it (more about this in a moment).
Do Christmas Cactus Like Coffee Grounds?
As much as you do, your Christmas cactus will appreciate a cup of joe. Potassium and nitrogen, two nutrients the cactus needs to be healthy, are abundant in coffee grounds.
Spread the grounds out to dry first before using them because wet grounds might get moldy if used immediately. Give your plant its daily dose of coffee by either dispersing the dried grinds on the soil or blending them with water. Use this method to fertilize your cactus no more than once every two weeks.
Is Epsom Salt Good For Christmas Cactus?
Your Christmas cactus will, in fact, enjoy some Epsom salt. It’s an excellent approach to guarantee that the plant receives all the magnesium it requires to flourish and expand. One teaspoon of salt should be added to one gallon of water when mixing the salt and water. As it only requires fertilizer and food during the spring and summer growing seasons, stop feeding it in the fall.
Can Christmas cactus be grown with Miracle Grow?
When Christmas cacti are tightly contained in their containers, they typically grow bigger and produce more flowers. But once the roots have nearly filled the pot, proceed as follows:
1. Choose a replacement pot with a drainage hole that is only 1 to 2 inches wider than the old one.
2. To help your Christmas cactus thrive straight away, fill the new container 1/3 full with Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix, which offers great drainage and a little amount of food.
3. After placing the plant in the pot, make sure the root ball’s top is positioned 3/4 to 1 inch or less below the pot’s rim.
4. Fill in the area around the rootball, leaving a gap of about 3/4 inch between the soil’s top and the container’s lip (for easy watering).
5. After giving the plant plenty of water, let it drain, then relocate it to a permanent location. (Place a water-resistant saucer underneath the pot to prevent spills on the furniture.)
Secret tip: After plants have recovered from blooming and begun to grow again in late spring, this is the ideal time to repot them.
When should my Christmas cactus be repotted?
The best time to repot most plants is in the spring when they start to show new growth, but Christmas cacti should be potted after blooming is finished and the blooms have faded, which is in late winter or early spring. It is never a good idea to try to repot the plant when it is in full bloom.
Repotting Christmas cactus should be delayed because this tough succulent thrives when its roots are little congested. Frequently repotting a plant might harm it.
Repotting Christmas cactus is typically sufficient every three to four years, but you might wish to hold off until the plant starts to appear worn out or you see some roots poking through the drainage hole. A plant can frequently flourish happily in the same pot for years.
Are Christmas cactus fans of root binding?
Do Christmas cacti enjoy being rootbound? I was told not to repot it because it is currently healthy. D. Forrest
ANSWER: Christmas cactus grows nicely with packed roots, so your friend isn’t altogether wrong. Although Christmas cacti can still thrive after becoming rootbound, you should still repot your holiday plants every four years, expanding the container size by two inches each time.
Repotting a Christmas cactus can be difficult since, if the plant becomes rootbound, doing so might easily cause damage to the plant. Breaking the pot is the quickest way to remove it without harming the plant. It’s not a major loss because clay pots are inexpensive, and it’s much simpler to rehome your cactus without harming it.
If you notice your planter’s soil getting harder over time, observe roots poking out of the drainage hole or holes, or notice that the stems of your Christmas cactus are beginning to turn yellow or brown, your cactus may be root-bound (the latter symptom is also sometimes a sign of overwatering, not overcrowding). If you see these symptoms, you can leave your plant in its overcrowded container for a few more weeks or even months because it actually prefers the crowding. But ultimately, you’ll want to repot your cactus to give it more space and, in the process, provide it with newer, healthy soil.
To speed up water drainage, use potting soil designed specifically for cactuses and succulents. Fill the new, larger replacement planter with enough fresh soil so that the top of the root ball will rest about an inch below the rim. Remove a significant amount of the old soil from the roots and root ball by gently brushing off the root ball. To remove the majority of the oil soil from the roots and root ball, you can choose to wet or rinse them with water.
Then, carefully fill the space surrounding the root ball with the new, fresh potting soil that was designed for desert plants after placing your cactus in its new pot. While repotting, take out any stems that have yellowed or dried out. When the new dirt is securely planted, water your Christmas cactus thoroughly and choose a shaded location to put it for a few days so that it can get used to its new surroundings, the new soil, and the extra room.
During the spring and summer, keep your cactus in a shaded area of the porch or patio where they can receive plenty of fresh air and indirect sunshine. If you prefer, you can take a few cuttings each fall and give them out as gifts once they have grown. Bring them indoors in the fall and store them away from direct sunlight in a dry, dark area. Your Christmas cacti will thrive exceptionally well if you can create a slightly humid indoor environment.
Start drying the soil in October to promote blooming during the holiday season. Reduce the frequency of watering to only once every three weeks instead of once a week. For holiday blooms to flourish, darkness and dryness are both necessary conditions. To enhance the flowering of their Christmas cacti, some gardeners go so far as to cover their plants and keep them in the dark for a few weeks.
Which types of pots do Christmas cacti prefer—shallow or deep?
When Christmas Cactus is slightly potbound, it blooms best. I transplanted mine into an 8-pot container from a 6-grow pot. I’ve seen older Christmas Cacti growing successfully in pretty small pots. A minimum of 1 drain hole must be present in the pot.
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 unrecognized 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 fertilizer 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 longer evenings and chilly weather of fall are what cause Christmas cacti and its relatives to bloom. 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.