When To Fertilize Christmas Cactus

Make sure you have a decent location for the plant to grow because, to begin with, the plants do best in indirect sunshine and well-drained soil. The Christmas cactus has a feeding and growing season that coincide. This indicates that it will require feeding just before it blooms, which should occur between April and October of the current year. Just in time for Christmas, with the right fertilizer and a regular feeding schedule, you ought to have vibrant blossoms.

These plants will bloom during the shorter, cooler days of the fall since they require 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness to develop. For the greatest results when fertilizing this plant, choose a bloom formula or a water-soluble formula. To assist the flowers blossom more beautifully in the middle to late summer, fertilize once a month with a high-phosphorus fertilizer.

It’s crucial to make sure you cease feeding the plant after it stops growing, which will happen late in the summer. The salt can accumulate in the bud and prevent it from flowering if you keep feeding the plant even when it is not actively growing. Never fertilize a Christmas cactus when it starts to bloom since this could make the buds fall off.

When should you fertilize a Christmas cactus?

Beginning when you notice fresh growth at the end of winter or the beginnings of spring, fertilize the plant once a month after it has finished blooming. Give a 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 plant food diluted in water to 50% strength when feeding a Christmas cactus.

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.

What kind of fertilizer works best for Christmas cacti?

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 frequently does a Christmas cactus need to be watered?

The Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) is a kind of cactus that thrives in Brazil’s chilly, mountainous woodlands where the humidity is high and rainfall is not infrequent.

In sharp contrast, most cacti want dry, arid, sunny environments in order to grow.

Because Christmas cacti are more suited to cool, damp settings than their desert-dwelling brethren, underwatering is one of the most common issues with growing them.

You must mimic some of the humidity and watering requirements of the Christmas cactus’ natural habitat in order to effectively grow it indoors.

Compared to other indoor plants, Christmas cactus needs a higher humidity level. Twice a week or more, spritz some water on the leaves. Throughout the entire year, give the cactus a weekly soak in water.

In order to prevent issues with bothersome overwatering and underwatering, this frequency of watering in conjunction with the appropriate well-draining potting soil helps to replicate the balance of moisture to which it is accustomed.

For the most of the week, the soil should feel evenly moist, with a tiny surface evaporation before the subsequent watering.

A Christmas cactus may withstand two weeks without watering if it is not in an air current or if the air is not too dry. It is also a little more drought tolerant than other houseplants.

It should be noted that a number of variables can affect how quickly or slowly your Christmas cactus dries out indoors, including:

  • Your home’s humidity and temperature (houses are often low in humidity which is contrary to Christmas cactus preference for high humidity).
  • The pot or container’s size (smaller pots dry out quickly).
  • Whether the cactus is close to a heat source, in an air conditioning current, or in forced air (which saps moisture from the leaves and dries the soil).
  • The soil’s ability to hold onto moisture (Christmas cactus require moist yet well draining soil).

It is crucial to wet your Christmas cactus to create a microclimate of enhanced humidity to combat the effects of dry air if you live in an area with low humidity or if the air conditioning is frequently running.

Homes tend to be on the dry side, so I advise misting at least once a week regardless of climate, but in arid areas, mist the cacti twice or three times a week.

Keep in mind that Christmas cacti prefer diffused light over direct sunlight. The cactus would lose too much moisture if the sun was too strong and the leaves were burned.

How to Tell if the Christmas Cactus is Over watered or Under watered…

The only way to tell the difference between overwatering and underwatering is to feel the soil because the cactus might wilt and droop in reaction to either situation.

If you can feel the soil at the base of the pot via the drainage hole and it is dry both above and below, the cactus is being underwatered.

If your soil is rapidly drying out, increase the frequency of your watering over the period of 7 days so that the soil is continuously moist rather than dry.

To raise the humidity and lessen water loss via the leaves, mist the under-watered cactus more frequently.

Check to see if there is anything obstructing the drainage hole and remove any water that may be on a tray or saucer used underneath the pot if the soil feels wet or even saturated.

Scaling back watering and making sure the soil drains well may prevent the cactus from developing and flowering properly and may even result in root rot.

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.

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 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.

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.

Does Christmas cactus like coffee grounds?

During the growing season, give your cactus fertilizer with potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus once or twice a month. It is simpler to feed a plant when the fertilizer dissolves in water. Epsom salts can also be administered to it (more about this in a moment).

Do Christmas Cactus Like Coffee Grounds?

As much as you do, your Christmas cactus will appreciate a cup of joe. Potassium and nitrogen, two nutrients the cactus needs to be healthy, are abundant in coffee grounds.

Spread the grounds out to dry first before using them because wet grounds might get moldy if used immediately. Give your plant its daily dose of coffee by either dispersing the dried grinds on the soil or blending them with water. Use this method to fertilize your cactus no more than once every two weeks.

Is Epsom Salt Good For Christmas Cactus?

Your Christmas cactus will, in fact, enjoy some Epsom salt. It’s an excellent approach to guarantee that the plant receives all the magnesium it requires to flourish and expand. One teaspoon of salt should be added to one gallon of water when mixing the salt and water. As it only requires fertilizer and food during the spring and summer growing seasons, stop feeding it in the fall.

When should you put a Christmas cactus in the dark?

Put your Christmas cactus in complete darkness for at least 12 hours every day, beginning in October, to start blooming. In time for the holidays, the plant will have around eight weeks to develop buds and blossom as a result. To encourage your Christmas cactus to bloom again in February after the holiday flowering time, keep up this same pattern.

How long can a Christmas cactus live?

Christmas cacti can survive up to 100 years or longer if given the right care. Even news stories of families passing on their Christmas cacti to future generations as living heirlooms have been documented, such as this one about a particularly resilient plant that dates back to the 1860s. Wow!

The majority of Christmas cacti, however, only live for 20 to 30 years with proper care, despite the fact that they can last for decades and brighten your home every holiday season. By that time, the plants typically perish from widespread problems including overwatering, underwatering, freezing weather (if they spend part of the year outside), pests, illnesses, loss of interest, or simple neglect.

Help, my Christmas cactus is yellowing!

Yikes! Your watering routine is typically to blame if your Christmas cactus doesn’t seem to be growing well. These creatures require more water than desert cacti, but they also don’t want their soil to be wet.

You’re probably not watering your Christmas cactus enough if the leaves are becoming wrinkled and appear withered. You possibly overdid it if they’re more mushy and yellow-black in color. To get rid of any rotten roots and repot your plant in dry soil, you might need to uproot it.

Why are the leaves on my Christmas cactus limp?

Wilted leaves are frequently caused by improper watering because it is simple to provide too much water (rather than not enough). A Christmas cactus’ weak or drooping leaves are typically the result of either damp soil or root rot. If you have one issue, it will almost certainly lead to another.

Make sure that any extra water you give your Christmas cactus drains slowly but steadily through the drainage holes. If not, your potting soil may be too dense and may not be working. To promote aeration, you can repot the plant in bromeliad soil or fluff it up with perlite.

During the spring through winter growing season, keep the soil lightly moist; only water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. After the flowering season is over, it’s good to allow the soil get a little bit dry in the middle of winter between waterings, but don’t let it get completely parched.

Is a Christmas cactus toxic to cats and dogs?

I’ll keep this short: no. The ASPCA states that Christmas cacti are not dangerous, despite the fact that ingesting any plant may cause some mild vomiting or diarrhea.