Should You Water Christmas Cactus When Blooming

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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.

When it blooms, should I water my Christmas cactus?

Watering: Mist your plant frequently when it is in bloom to keep the soil equally moist. Light: For moderate light and some direct sunlight, place the cactus in an east-facing window. Once buds start to grow, fertilize every two weeks with a high-potassium fertilizer.

How can I maintain the blooms on my Christmas cactus?

Thanksgiving cactus, holiday cactus, and crab cactus are all names for the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). The leaf-shaped stem segments with curled, pointy teeth or claws around the margins are known as crabs. The leaf segments of the Easter cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi) have rounded edges. They all came from wet, dark forests around the southeast coast of Brazil. Because they reside above ground in trees, where branches meet and decaying leaves and moss amass, they are categorized as epiphytes.

Although this plant has the moniker “cactus,” the maintenance it needs has nothing to do with its relatives in the desert. It is regarded as a type of woodland cactus. Its needs can be traced back to its beginnings. It is recommended for Christmas cactus to grow in “Potty trained That entails storing it in a small container for as long as possible before transferring it to a pot that is only marginally larger. They should not be allowed to dry out and like a thick organic potting mix. When the plant is blossoming, increase the watering. They favor direct, bright light. As the plants start to burn in full light, the leaf segments might turn a dark red color.

The “The two factors of light and temperature are the key to getting Christmas cacti to bloom in the years after purchase. These two hold the secret to the realm of flowers. Flowers are produced by Christmas cacti during a chilly, brief day cycle. It takes at least eight days of 16 hours of darkness and 8 hours of light every day for flower buds to begin to form. No matter where the plant is located, avoid using the lights at night, even for a little time. That ends the necessary dark cycle. Around 61 degrees should be the ambient temperature. Place the plant away from drafts of either cold or hot air.

All that is required is to set the Christmas cactus on the window sill in a chilly area without turning on the lights. In a brightly lit space, a plant’s side towards the window will frequently sprout buds, but not the other way around. It usually has to do with either receiving too much or not enough water or with there being insufficient humidity in the air if the plant sets flower buds and then they fall off. The good news is that if their temperature and light needs are met, Christmas cacti are thought to be rather simple to induce to bloom once more.

How long after I start watering it every day should I stop?

Autumn has arrived, and the northern hemisphere is plunged into darkness. It’s not our imagination that makes us afraid of things that go bump in the night; rather, it’s evolution. The darkness of the night symbolizes the need for sleep, and while we are dozing off, we are completely exposed to attack.

Heck, in one study, 10% of participants stated they were so terrified of the dark that they wouldn’t even leave the comfort of their beds to use the restroom in the middle of the night.

This gets us to Christmas, which is just a little bit longer than December 22, the shortest day of the year. Let’s talk about the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) and how it prefers darkness to light for flowering.

Additionally, it is important to consider how and when to water these plants, as well as how much light to provide and how to keep them safely above freezing and out of drafts.

A bloom cycle of dormancy, water, light, and temperature exists in Christmas cactus. Reduce the amount of water you give your Christmas cactus in the late fall, from October to mid-November.

Between waterings, allow the top two to three inches of soil to dry off. This encourages the Christmas cactus to enter its dormant state, which is necessary for the cactus to blossom.

Christmas cactus now requires 12 to 14 hours of darkness every day. This gloomy time resembles winter, when flower buds grow. For six to eight weeks, many gardeners simply place the Christmas cactus in a closet at 6 p.m., remove it at 6 a.m., and move it to a window where it will receive sunlight. Boxes can be used to cover smaller Christmas cacti to prevent light.

The Christmas cactus also benefits from the colder 50–55 degree Fahrenheit temperatures that prevail during this six to eight week period of darkness (10-13 C). Avoid heating vents and drafts.

You can relocate your Christmas cactus to a location where it receives lots of sun, but not hot, direct sunshine, once the cool, dark weeks are through. The leaves might be scorched by too much sun. The thick, flattened leaves of the Christmas cactus have rounded teeth along the edges.

The buds on your plant will drop off before they have an opportunity to open if it becomes too cold. The majority of flowers are brought out in a bright area with indirect sunshine. Lightly spray the plant when it is blossoming to keep the blooms fresh. Mist early in the day so that it dries by evening.

You shouldn’t rush to move your Christmas cactus because they bloom better in their current pot. Always limit your transplant frequency to one every four years. Repot them if necessary, but just up one pot size. Use a cactus soil that drains well, or for improved drainage, mix sand or perlite into standard potting soil.

Some people believe that Christmas should last all year long, and a properly cared-for Christmas cactus could pleasantly surprise you by blooming at seemingly arbitrary periods of the year. Dogs and cats are not poisoned by Christmas cactus.

Christmas is a time for giving, and fortunately, your Christmas cactus can readily provide you with rooting-ready stems that are three segments long. Simply place the cutting, cut end down, into a cactus potting mix after letting it sit overnight to create a callus over the cut. In around four weeks, the leaves will root with sporadic watering. The new Christmas cactus will be an exact replica of the parent plant because the cuttings are clones.

A properly taken care of Christmas cactus can live for decades. There are stories of families who have handed down the same Christmas cactus for more than a century as living heirlooms.

Put your Christmas cactus to sleep for six to eight weeks if you haven’t already. late at night. the night. Alone. the night. A dark yes.

A gardener would be moved to moisten the bed by it. or, at the very least, 10% of us.

Paul Barbano, who lives at Rehoboth Beach, writes about gardening there. You can write to him at PO Box 213 in Lewes, Delaware 19958.

How should a blossoming cactus be cared for?

Here are some quick and simple instructions for taking care of cactus plants. Every year, your collection of cacti will flourish with the help of the instructions you follow.

  • Make use of cactus/succulent potting soil of high grade.
  • When it is time to water the plant, water it thoroughly.
  • Avoid overwatering the plant or letting it stand in water.
  • Make sure your plant gets enough sunlight.
  • Put your plant in a space that has good ventilation.
  • Before the following watering, let the soil dry out.
  • During the growing season, fertilize with a moderate liquid fertilizer.
  • When the plant is dormant in the winter, water it sparingly or not at all.
  • Depending on growth, pot up every two to three years.

Cactus blooms draw insects, and these little creatures also aid in pollination. Pollinated flowers will yield seeds that can subsequently be germinated.

This information is correct and factual to the best of the author’s knowledge but should not be used in place of formal, specific advice from a trained expert.

Should Christmas cactus be misted?

Contrary to what its name might imply, Christmas cacti can survive well into the following year. In fact, with a little care and our guidance, they can live for up to 20 years.

Christmas Cacti need cooler temperatures.

Leaving Christmas cacti in a space that is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit will cause them to bloom more fully and sooner. Keep them away from radiators, fireplaces, and warm windowsills, especially during the winter.

While they don’t need the heat of the sun, they do need its light.

The hard part comes at this point. A Christmas cactus needs lots of sunlight but cannot be kept in direct sunlight as it will dry out. So what should a cactus aficionado do? Your best option is to leave it in a part of your home that is shaded (or outdoors once summer arrives) and rotate it occasionally.

Just like you and I, Christmas cacti need their rest.

Your cactus needs between 1215 hours of uninterrupted darkness per day if its buds haven’t yet set. Cacti only require lots of light once their buds have fully developed.

You should be misting, not watering, every day.

Your cactus will die if you overwater it. But that doesn’t mean they never experience thirst. You should mist your cactus every day rather than watering it like you would a regular plant. You only need a few sprays from a spray bottle to maintain your cactus’ happiness. Only when the soil at the base of the plant feels entirely dry to the touch should you water it.

Christmas cacti need nutrient-rich soil.

Christmas cacti are strong plants that can endure harsher environments, although well-drained soil that has some organic matter is preferable for them. While organic soil is always available to purchase, you can also use your cacti as a little compost and add organic waste that you would typically discard.