What Plant Food To Use For Christmas Cactus

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.

Can I grow Christmas cactus 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 Christmas cactus be fertilized?

The winter solstice, which occurs on December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, is the day and night with the shortest lengths of the year.

Christmas cacti, poinsettias, kalanchoes, and chrysanthemums are a few common plants that people give as gifts during the holidays. Their flowering is perfectly timed for the shorter days that we enjoy during this season.

The development of flower buds in many plants is influenced by how much light the plants receive. “Photoperiodism” refers to a plant’s response to the length of the day. While some plants flower as the days get shorter, others do so as the days become longer. Some plants are neutral, meaning that day length has no direct impact on flowering.

Brazilian Christmas cacti are common indoor plants that come in a wide range of hues, including red, rose, purple, lavender, peach, orange, cream, and white. In shaded rain forests, these plants thrive as epiphytes among tree branches, and their cascading stems make them an excellent choice for hanging baskets. If the plants are managed at a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit, flowering can last seven to eight weeks.

During this time of year, customers frequently phone the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office upset because their Christmas cacti or other short-day indoor plants did not bloom. They are frequently shocked to discover that if these plants are kept indoors year-round, the artificial light in the home can interfere with their natural cycle of exposure to sunshine. In order to simulate natural daylight exposure with shorter days, it becomes a difficulty.

One option is to put these plants near a window in a room that receives only natural light, turning off the artificial lighting at night. A different choice is to keep these plants outside as long as you can in the fall and then bring them inside just before the risk of freezing weather. In the Atlanta region, this typically means keeping the majority of tropical indoor plants outside until close to the end of October. Short-day plants are already set to begin flowering during the approaching holidays at this point.

On his porch, my grandfather used to keep a Christmas cactus all summer long in a hanging basket before taking it inside just before the first freeze each year. It was a large plant that would blossom in large numbers between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He maintained this plant for almost ten years, and it gave him a lot of Christmas delight.

A Christmas cactus has the advantage of not losing leaves like poinsettias or other houseplants, which is one of its many advantages. Because Christmas cactus lack genuine leaves, photosynthesis takes place inside the green stem segments known as phylloclades. To encourage branching terminals for more flowers, pinch back the stems in the first few weeks of June. You can also utilize stem portions with three to five segments to root new plants.

Temperature control and photoperiod (control of day and night length) control are key factors in the fall flower bud formation of Christmas cacti. Before flower buds will set, each night must have at least 14 hours of nonstop darkness.

For a full bud set, long nights must 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. Typically, buds will appear in approximately four weeks. Once the buds are set, the photoperiod has little impact on flowering.

Christmas cacti may live in dry, marginally submerged environments in the spring and summer. Avoid letting the soil become soggy, especially during the lengthy winter evenings. To stop flower buds from dropping off after bud set in the fall, the soil must be kept consistently moist. In the saucer underneath the pot, never let water stand.

From the time new growth begins in late winter or early spring through the summer, fertilize plants every month using a liquid fertilizer of half strength, such as 20-20-20 with trace elements. Compared to many plants, Christmas cacti have a greater magnesium need. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) should be used as a fertilizer every month during the growing season; however, it should not be used the same week as conventional fertilizer. Stop fertilizing in the late summer to increase the formation of bloom buds in the fall.

Should I fertilize my Christmas cactus?

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.

The amount of fertilizer required by a Christmas cactus

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Although a 20-10-20 combination will theoretically work and result in a perfectly healthy plant, the ultimate result won’t be as stunning.

The best option is typically liquid fertilizers for houseplants because they are readily absorbed and, when used properly, less prone to burn.

Granular fertilizers (time-release), which some people swear by, are less effective because it’s impossible to regulate the ratio of nutrients delivered at any given time.

Excellent, reliable, and reasonably priced liquid fertilizer is produced by Miracle-Gro.

Similarly, Espoma produces Plant Food Indoor, which is a fantastic product. Although it comes in a small bottle, it can be diluted to make 8 gallons of organic fertilizer.

In addition to the basic fertilizer, you will also need to spend money on some Epsom salts, as these are an excellent way to increase magnesium for your plant without spending a lot of money (and get rid of some aches and pains in the process!).

Which fertilizer is ideal for cacti?

The traditional idea of the ideal habitat for cacti is a hard, arid desert with two extremes: intervals of complete lack of precipitation or unexpected downpours that the plant must absorb, store, and use during the following dry spell.

It’s crucial to bear in mind that fertilizer cactus plants may keep them happy growing no matter the season, whether they are outside in the yard exposed to seasonal extremes or in a bright, sunny spot in the house.

Fertilizing cactus plants will help them adapt, actively grow, and even reproduce if it is one of their traits, just like with any other garden or indoor plant. The fertilizer needs for cacti are rather straightforward. Any decent houseplant food that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen is a suitable option (diluted to half). A 5-10-5 solution may be effective.

Knowing when to feed cactus plants is essential now that you are aware of their true requirement for fertilizer.

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.

How can I make my Christmas cactus more vibrant?

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.