When Should You Put A Christmas Cactus In The Dark?

Place the mature plant in a dark room or keep it covered (under a box or bag works good) for at least 12 hours a day in late September or early October.

When should you put a Christmas cactus in a dark room?

Although forest cactuses are prolific bloomers, they tend to bloom at inconvenient periods, making it difficult to get them to bloom in time for the holidays. Timing can be improved using two methods: The first is to take advantage of these plants’ inherent predisposition to set buds when the days are shorter. Start six to eight weeks before you want your forest cactus to blossom by putting it in a dark closet for 14 hours every night. During daylight hours, return it to a bright spot. The closet treatment is no longer necessary as buds begin to form, and the plant should blossom wonderfully for the holidays.

Should I put my Christmas cactus in the dark?

To induce a Christmas cactus to bloom, you must first understand the Christmas cactus bloom cycle, which includes a lack of water, dormancy, light, and temperature.

Begin by reducing the amount of water given to the plant. This normally happens in the fall, towards the end of October or the beginning of November (in most places).

Reduce the amount of water you use just enough to keep the soil moist. Only water when the top layer of soil, about 1 inch (2.5 cm), is dry to the touch. The plant will be able to enter dormancy as a result of this. For a Christmas cactus to blossom, it must be dormant.

To encourage a Christmas cactus to bloom even more, relocate it to a location where it will have 12 to 14 hours of darkness. Although bright, indirect light is OK during the day, Christmas cactus requires at least 12 hours of darkness at night to enhance bud growth.

Where should I place my Christmas cactus?

Throughout the winter and spring, holiday cactus are extremely popular gifts, and they can be found in just about any store that sells plants, from the grocery store to the flower shop. Holiday cactus are eye-catching with their succulent leaves and vivid blossoms in a variety of colors, and they find their way into the homes of both expert and novice houseplant aficionados. They can live for decades if properly cared for, and are frequently passed down from generation to generation.

Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi), Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), and Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) are three distinct types that are typically available at retail stores depending on the season “The term “Christmas cactus” is frequently used to refer to all of them. It’s easier to refer to all three as holiday cacti for the sake of convenience, given they require fairly comparable care.

Regardless, “Despite the fact that “cactus” is in their name, holiday cacti require very different care than their desert-dwelling siblings. Holiday cactus are epiphytes that grow on the shady limbs of trees in the tropical rainforests of Brazil. Epiphytes are plants that grow atop other plants rather than in the soil, relying on the air and rain for moisture and nutrients.

As a result, unlike other cacti, holiday cacti do not endure prolonged dehydration. Once the potting soil is dry to the touch, they should be watered, allowing excess water to drain freely from the bottom of the container. Allowing plants to sit in standing water will cause the soil to become soggy. Root rot can be caused by prolonged exposure to damp soil, especially during the winter months.

Watering holiday cacti is dependent on a variety of parameters, including the type of potting soil used, the size of the container, the amount of sunlight the plant receives, and the ambient temperature. The key to sustaining a healthy plant is to make sure it’s in the appropriate spot and to only water when the soil mix is completely dry.

Holiday cacti thrive in partial shade, such as an east or west facing window, and at temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Too much strong sunshine, especially during the summer months, can burn the foliage, while insufficient light can stifle growth and cause the soil mix to dry up too slowly. When in doubt, go with the under-watering method rather than the over-watering method.

Do you water a Christmas cactus from the top or bottom?

Remember that Christmas cactus plants demand moist soil rather than the dry dirt preferred by most other succulents. When the top inch or two of soil on a Christmas cactus is dry, water it. Fill the pot saucer with stones and water to just below the tops of the pebbles (the pot should not be sitting directly in water) to assist improve the humidity around your plant. As the water evaporates, the air will become more humid. (See below for watering suggestions if you’re attempting to get your Christmas cactus to rebloom.)

How many times a year does a Christmas cactus bloom?

Is It Possible For A Christmas Cactus To Bloom More Than Once A Year? Yes. Christmas cactus, unlike many other succulents, can bloom again in the spring if given the right conditions.

How often do you water a Christmas cactus indoors?

  • Water every two to three weeks, but only until the top one-third of the soil feels dry to the touch. Water when the top 2 inches of soil feel dry, for example, if the plant is in 6 inches of soil. (Check with your finger!)
  • Soak the soil until water runs through the drainage holes in the pot when it is suitably dry. To catch the water, place a tray underneath the pot. Remove any extra water from the tray after 10-15 minutes so that the pot does not sit in water.
  • Feed every two weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer from spring through early fall. Feed the cactus once a month in the fall and winter to encourage blooming.
  • Late in the spring, prune plants to encourage branching and more flowers. Simply cut a few portions off each stem, and the plant will branch out from the wound.
  • Place the cut pieces in a gently wet potting soil if desired; they will root easily after a few weeks and make great Christmas gifts!

How to Get Your Christmas Cactus to Bloom

The lower temperatures and longer evenings of autumn bring out the blooms of Christmas cacti and its relatives. This is the general blooming schedule for the three main species of Christmas cacti:

  • Thanksgiving cactus are the earliest and most persistent bloomers, blooming from late October to mid-winter.

It’s possible that your cactus isn’t flowering because it’s getting too much sunshine or being exposed to too hot temperatures. Here are some pointers to help you get yours to bloom!

  • For at least six weeks, nights must be at least 14 hours long and days must be between 8 and 10 hours. If you have powerful interior lighting that is turned on at night, you may need to cover your cactus or transfer it to a location where it can be exposed to natural light.
  • Flower buds form best when the plant is kept between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 15 degrees Celsius).
  • By exposing the plant to temperatures of around 45°F (7°C) for several nights in a row, you can jumpstart the budding process.
  • Ensure that you water the plant on a regular basis when it is in bloom. If the plant dries out too much, the buds may fall off.
  • Don’t worry if the cactus loses its buds throughout the winter; it will bloom the next year!

Should you remove dead flowers from Christmas cactus?

Deadhead all wasted blooms to keep your cacti looking their best throughout and after the Christmas season. The plant will also continue to blossom as a result of this. You can continue to enjoy your cacti after Christmas is past until it stops producing flowers. But don’t let it go after it’s done! With or without blossoms, these cacti make lovely houseplants. And there’s a good possibility it’ll blossom for you again next year, and sometimes even in the middle of the year. (Bonus!)

What conditions do Christmas cactus like?

Schlumbergera can be found in jungle-like forests connected to trees in their natural habitat. They prefer a semi-shade environment versus the full light of desert-dwelling cacti. A well-lit, but out of direct sunlight, environment with a humid climate would be excellent. Use gravel-filled saucers to place your plants on and keep them moist to improve humidity.

To sustain healthy growth, repot once a year (or at least every two years). This can be done at the end of March, when their growing season begins. To help with drainage, use a regular cactus compost or a loam-based compost like John Innes No 2 with additional leafmould (or peat substitute) and grit. Choose only a slightly larger container for potting on, as they prefer to be tight in a compact pot.


  • A time of rest is required after blossoming. Restrict the temperature to 12-15°C (55-59°F) and reduce the watering to only once or twice a week from late January to late March to avoid the compost drying up altogether. Moving to a cooler environment is a simple way to accomplish this.
  • Increase the watering and start feeding with a houseplant liquid feed during the growing season, which runs from April to September. Maintain a temperature of 18-20°C (65-69°F) during the growing season if possible.
  • They can be placed outside throughout the summer months, once the risk of frost has passed. This promotes flowering and helps to ripen new growth. Keep them in a shady area away from snails.
  • With the shorter days and cooler temperatures, flowering buds begin to form around mid-September. With a second resting period, the watering and temperature should be reduced (as before). Increase the temperature to 18-20°C (65-69°F) and begin regular watering just until the flowering buds have formed.
  • After that, your plant should bloom and provide you with a stunning display. If there are two resting periods with a reduction in watering and temperature, exact temperatures are not required to encourage flowering.

What light does a Christmas cactus need?

Thanksgiving cactus, holiday cactus, and crab cactus are all names for the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). The leaf-shaped stem segments with curled, sharp teeth or claws around the margins are known as crab claws. The leaf segments of the Easter cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi) have rounded edges. They all originated in the gloomy, damp forests of southeast Brazil. They’re called epiphytes because they thrive on trees above ground, in places where branches meet and decomposing fallen leaves and mosses collect.

Despite the fact that this plant is called a cactus, the care it requires has little to do with its desert cousins. It’s a cactus that grows in the forest. Its requirements can be traced back to their source. The optimum time to plant a Christmas cactus is when it is warm “I’m stuck in a pot.” This entails keeping it in a small container for as long as possible before transferring it to a little larger pot. They prefer a nutrient-dense organic potting mix and should not be allowed to dry out. When the plant is blossoming, increase the amount of water it receives. They enjoy indirect light that is bright. As the plants begin to burn, the leaf segments might turn a dark crimson color.

‘The’ “The “secret” to getting your Christmas cactus to bloom in the years after you buy it boils down to two factors: light and temperature. These two are the keys to the kingdom of flowers. Flowers are produced by Christmas cacti in a chilly, short-day cycle. It takes at least eight days of 16 hours of darkness and 8 hours of light every day to start the creation of flower buds. Do not turn on the lights at night, even if only for a brief time, wherever the plant is put. This violates the required dark cycle. It should be around 61 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing the plant in an area where it will be exposed to cold or hot air drafts.

It’s as simple as putting the Christmas cactus on the window sill in a chilly room and not turning on the lights. If the plant was in a brightly lit room, the side closest to the window often grows buds, but the plant’s illuminated side does not. If the plant produces flower buds but then loses them, it’s usually due to either too much or too little water or a lack of air humidity. The good news is that if their temperature and light needs are met, Christmas cacti are reasonably straightforward to re-bloom.