A half strength water soluble fertilizer, such as 20-20-20 or 20-10-20, or a bloom formula houseplant fertilizer work well as fertilizers for Christmas cacti. From late winter through late summer, feed once a month during routine watering. To promote flowering, you can also choose a time-release balanced plant food or one that is marginally richer in phosphorus once a month in mid to late summer.
Use one teaspoon of Epsom salts per gallon (5 cc for roughly 4 L) of water each month to fertilize on alternate weeks. This procedure will meet every fertilizer requirement for Christmas cacti, including the significant magnesium requirements of this epiphyte. Late summer is the time to stop fertilizing or flower yield may decrease. Since the plant is not actively growing in the winter, fertilizing is not necessary.
To lessen the likelihood of salt buildup in soil, closely adhere to the application rates on any formula. Set the plant in the shower and soak the soil to release any salt that has been stored if you are concerned about heavy salts. Before watering again, let the pot drain completely and the planting media dry out.
How should I fertilize my Christmas cactus?
Give a 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 plant food diluted in water to 50% strength when feeding a Christmas cactus. A monthly application of a magnesium sulfate solution at a ratio of 1 teaspoon to 1 gallon of water should also be given to the plant, but not the same week you add the plant food.
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.
Should a Christmas cactus be fertilized?
Temperature & Light: The festive cacti thrive in bright shade. In the fall and winter, full sunshine is advantageous, but in the summer, intense sunlight can cause plants to seem pale and yellow. In the growing season from April to September, temperatures between 70 and 80 F are ideal for spring and summer growth. The Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti need on shorter (8 to 10 hour) days and cooler temperatures in the fall to develop their flower buds. Once the flower buds are set in the fall, do not allow the temperature to reach above 90 F. The loss of flower buds can be a result of persistently warm conditions. In the event that it gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, do not leave these cactus outside.
Temperature control and photoperiod (control of the duration of the day and night) control are key factors in successful flower bud formation in the fall. The plants require the following for the initiation of flower buds:
- dazzling light
- long evenings Before flower buds to set, there must be at least 14 hours per day of nonstop darkness. For a full bud set, long nights should begin around the middle of September and last for at least six weeks. Be aware that even two hours of intermittent lighting can prevent flower buds from setting. In 3 to 4 weeks, buds will often start to appear. Once the buds are set, the photoperiod has little impact on flowering.
- For optimal flower production, fall growth temperatures should be kept between 60 and 68 oF, ideally as close to 68 oF as feasible. Regardless of the length of the day, plants cultivated with night temperatures between 50 and 59 oF will produce flower buds, however growth will be slower and bud drop may happen at this temperature.
- Early in June, prune the stems to encourage branching and additional flower terminals.
- At the end of September, pinching—also known as leveling—is done to cut off any terminal phylloclades that are less than 1 cm (0.4 inch) and to roughly equalize the length of all stems. These young, immature stem segments won’t begin blossom buds until they are fully developed. A flower bud develops on the earlier, more developed stem segment following the removal of a brief phylloclade.
Fertilizer and Watering: Water the growing media until it feels completely dry to the touch. The spring and summer months can be dry and mildly underwatered for the holiday cacti. Avoid letting the soil become soggy, especially during the gloomy winter months, but also avoid letting it fully dry up. To avoid flower bud abscission, the growing medium must be kept consistently moist after bud set in the fall. In the saucer underneath the pot, never let water stand.
Use a half strength soluble fertilizer, such as a 20-10-20 or 20-20-20 with trace elements, to fertilize plants every month beginning when new growth begins in late winter or early spring and continuing through the summer. Compared to many plants, holiday cacti have a greater magnesium need. During the growing season, fertilize once a month with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) blended at 1 teaspoon per gallon of water, but avoid applying the fertilizer the same week. Stop fertilizing in the late summer to increase the formation of bloom buds in the fall.
The Christmas cacti flower best when kept fairly pot-bound, according to the growing medium. Repotting is best done in the spring and is only required about once every three years. These epiphytic cacti do not grow well in heavy, wet potting mixes, thus the potting medium needs to be well-drained and well-aerated. A excellent mixture can have 60–80% potting soil and 40–20% perlite. Pick a potting soil that is pH balanced and of good quality.
What affects the Christmas cactus does Epsom salt have?
QUESTION: I have a Christmas cactus, however it did not bloom during Christmas last year. Despite being incredibly vigorous and lush, it lacks blossoms. Epsom salts: Should I use them? I was informed that would be beneficial.
Epsom salts can enlarge a plant’s blooms, but they won’t result in flowers. Your plant could definitely benefit from frequent fertilizer. Fertilizing is typically required in the spring and summer. After that, allow the plant to rest for a bit in October and November. After nightfall, stow it away in a closet and leave it there. Only allow it to have indirect light when you take it outside throughout the day. Put it in direct light once the buds start to form, and it should start blooming in time for Christmas. A Christmas cactus is a tropical plant, not one that grows in a dry desert. Although it prefers moist soil, it dislikes being overwatered. Putting your plant in a slightly bigger pot might also be beneficial.
Osmocote—is it safe for Christmas cacti?
About the same time as we celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, these cactus begin to blossom. Because some of the flowering periods overlap, the growers gave them a more casual moniker and call them Christmas cactus. They are all members of the Schlumbergera genus. Names are not a major issue because they are all native to Brazil and demand the same care.
Schlumbergera are short-day plants; in order to bloom, they require a long, uninterrupted period of darkness (night) and a low temperature period (50F or less). Blooming will be slowed down or prevented if these criteria are not met. The simplest approach for a gardener in the Bay Area to fulfill these needs is to grow the plant outdoors, away from any artificial lighting sources, under filtered sunlight. The plant can be planted anywhere after the flower buds begin to emerge. The holiday cacti can either be brought inside when the bloom buds appear or left outside all year. If you wait too long to bring the plant inside (when the buds are at least half an inch long), they will dry out and fall off.
The holiday cacti are all epiphytes, which means that in their natural habitat, they are all rooted to trees. They obtain their nourishment from organic debris such as dust, decomposing leaves, dead insects, bird droppings, and similar particles. They get their water from rain. Eight parts of Master NurseryGardener’s GoldTM Potting Soil, three parts of mini-mulch bark, and one part of perlite can be combined to create a high-quality potting medium. For the first six months, all that is required in terms of fertilizer is a few tablespoons of Master Nursery Cottonseed Meal. Osmocote 14-14-14 can then be used every four months after that. The cactus will bloom well but their foliage will be browned and less appealing if they receive too much sun. They will produce fewer blooms if they do not receive enough sun. Mealy bugs might sporadically infest the plant. Spraying undiluted rubbing alcohol on mealy bugs is the quickest and simplest treatment option. The mealy bugs are dead when they become brown.
Crab or Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata): This cactus, which is occasionally marketed as Zygocactus truncata, begins to bloom in the middle of November and ends in the middle of December. Orange, pink, red, white, or salmon are all possible flower colors. Each branch is made up of one or two inch segments (referred to as joints) that are arranged end to end to create branches that can reach lengths of three feet. The longest tooth is at the end of each joint’s several teeth along each edge.
of the joint that gives it its moniker “the crab cactus These cacti are the most widely available and are prolific bloomers over a lengthy period of time. They are frequently offered for sale as “Santa Claus cacti.
Schlumbergera bridgesii, sometimes known as the Christmas cactus, begins to bloom at the end of December and ends in the middle of February. It only has one type of flower, a dark pink. Each joint has rounded edges, measures around 1.5 inches long, and has the potential to grow into a branch that is 1.5 feet long. It doesn’t bloom as frequently as the crab cactus.
The Easter cactus, Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri or Schlumbergera gaertneri bloom in April or May, and maybe once more in July. Flowers might be pink or red. The joints range in size from 1.5 to 2 inches.
long and have rounded, smooth edges. The plant can develop into a cluster that is up to six inches high and one foot wide and is relatively erect. Wintertime protection for this plant is necessary.
All of the seasonal cacti can be readily multiplied from one or more joints. Put a joint in the potting mixture mentioned above and bury it halfway down. It is also possible to utilize a string of four to eight joints, but only bury the first joint. Keep the soil mixture moist and close to where the mature cacti are planted.
What kind of soil mixture works best for Christmas cacti?
By creating a light-weight mixture of substrate materials that nourishes, allows air to circulate, and drains properly, you can completely avoid using soil.
Compost, peat, and worm castings are examples of organically rich media that are rich in nutrients but can also be fairly dense.
A variety of additives, including the volcanic rock perlite, sphagnum moss, and the mineral vermiculite, are frequently employed to transform solid material into a fluffy mixture full of air spaces that drains efficiently while still holding onto a significant amount of water.
Another popular ingredient that makes spaces for ventilation and drainage and absorbs a lot of water is coconut coir, which is just chopped coconut husks.
And finally, the bark of fir and pine trees aids in drainage and airflow but neither holds water as well as the other components. This is beneficial for an epiphyte that is not used to living in a permanently wet pot.
Materials like charcoal, fine gravel, horticultural pumice, and sand can aid to further loosen, aerate, and drain when applied to altered organically-rich matter.
Limestone is an additional material that is frequently added to substrate mixtures. When acidic organic stuff like peat and bark is present, it controls the pH. Christmas cacti require a pH between 5.7 to 6.5, which is mildly acidic.
You will be inundated with products that include various combinations of the elements indicated above when you peruse the shelves of garden centers or shop online. There are mixtures among them made especially for orchids, cacti, and succulent plants.
The natural tendency would be to choose a cactus or succulent, but Schlumbergera is an epiphyte native to the rainforest, not the desert. The water hogs of the amendments, perlite or vermiculite, are typically found in this kind of product.
You can find options for orchids as you continue your purchasing. Since the majority of orchids are epiphytes, products for them typically include coconut coir or bark chips.
Of all the materials that absorb water, bark dries the most quickly. Bark and coir both break down and compact with time, yet they function well when mixed with other components.
Why not use a third ingredient to counteract their propensity to oversaturate while utilizing the greatest aspects of solutions designed for both cacti and orchids?
For your Christmas cactus, here is a practical recipe for soilless potting soil:
- Cactus and succulent blend in one portion
- 1/part orchid mixture
- 1 part fine gravel, sand, or horticultural pumice
This blend has a thick texture, making it airy and light. This allows the roots to breathe and makes it simple for extra water to drain away.
How can a Christmas cactus be revived?
Repot the Christmas cactus into new soil when it is extremely limp and the earth is wet. As much soil as you can gently remove from the pot after removing the weak Christmas cactus from it. By repotting your Christmas cactus with your own homemade soil, you can prevent future issues. Use high-quality potting soil in a 2:1 ratio with sand or vermiculite to ensure precise drainage.
Repotting a weak Christmas cactus might be the answer, even if the soil is dry. Even though the plant prefers to be tucked away in its pot, switching to a little larger pot with new soil every few years will help you prevent Christmas cactus issues.
Should my 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.