My Christmas cactus needs to be re-potted, and I’m wondering what the
It needs suitable soil. Would using potting soil like Miracle-Gro be preferable or
It’s time to repot Christmas cacti right now (Schlumbergera spp.). Following blossoming
For Christmas cacti, what kind of potting soil do you use?
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.
Is Christmas cactus potting soil from Miracle Grow suitable?
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 & Succulent Potting Mix 0.07-0.03-0.05 8.8 L, which offers great drainage and a small bit of nourishment.
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.
Do Christmas cacti require certain soil?
The Christmas cactus is an epiphyte that grows naturally on tree trunks where the majority of its soil is made up of dead leaves and other vegetation. The soil must be well-drained, well-aerated, and allow the plant’s roots to breathe when it is grown in a pot. The roots will be choked by dense garden soil or potting soil made to hold in a lot of moisture, which will hinder the Christmas cactus’ ability to grow and bloom. Additionally, it might cause the Christmas cactus’ mortality and root rot.
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.
Can I grow a Christmas cactus in orchid soil?
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.
Can Christmas cactus grow in Miracle Gro’s cactus palm and citrus potting mix?
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.
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 mold, 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.
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.