These succulent plants are not the conventional cactus found in the desert. Actually, they are epiphytes. They cling to trees in their natural environments and obtain their nutrients from little pieces of tree detritus and the rich, muggy jungle air. They are usually grown as indoor houseplants since they cannot resist frost.
For optimum growth, your Christmas cactus needs humid air and diffused light. Too much light may contribute to Christmas cactus leaf issues by making the leaves wilt and wilt. Move your Christmas cactus to a cooler, shadier area if it is exposed to intense, scorching sunshine. Put your potted plant on a tray with stones and water so that the bottom of the pot touches the pebbles but not the water to increase the humidity around it.
How can a shriveled 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.
Why is my cactus wrinkling up?
Cacti are recognized for needing very little water, but they do need some water, so don’t completely ignore them! Extremely frequent problems with cactus include both under and overwatering. The right moisture balance must be maintained, but cacti are fairly forgiving plants.
regions of color and cork on the stems. Between waterings, cacti should have enough time to totally dry out. Your cactus needs water every 10 to 14 days in the summer in well-drained soil.
months. Check the root zone two to three inches below the soil’s surface if you’re not sure whether to water or not. Never water a plant if the soil is even slightly wet; wait until it has dried.
A soak-watering is necessary if you see wrinkles on your cactus, especially towards the base of the plant, as this indicates that the plant is extremely dry. Giving a cactus a lot of water may seem counterproductive, but you’ll be surprised at how the water will be absorbed and the cactus will grow back in size.
How to soak-water your cactus is as follows:
- Without the saucer, put your plant in the sink or bathtub. Pour roughly 3 to 4 cups of water into your basin. Check to see if the water is warm.
- Give your plant at least 45 minutes to absorb water through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.
- After giving your plant a soak, feel the soil’s top to see if the water has gotten to the top 2-3 inches.
- Water your cactus a little from the top of the soil to assist the soil become soaked faster if not all of it feels that way.
- Drain the sink or tub once the soil of your plant is evenly moist, and then leave it to rest while it completely drains. Put the plant back in its proper place on the saucer.
How can an overwatered Christmas cactus be identified?
Any cactus that has been left to sit in a saucer of water is probably less healthy. The Christmas cactus plant will manifest clear signs of suffering if it is overwatered. To avoid moisture gnats and preserve the roots from decaying, you should always dump the extra water from the saucer if it hasn’t dried in a day.
One of the first signs of overwatering on a Christmas cactus are limp leaves that begin to fall off, just in case you forgot to do this. The stems and branches will thereafter become mushy and spongy. In severe situations, the stem can entirely rot off and the symptoms will include a bad smell.
Prevention is easy to do. To avoid overwatering Christmas cactus, use a soil moisture meter.
How can you tell whether a Christmas cactus is on its last legs?
An examination of the roots of a Christmas cactus will reveal the presence of root rot despite the plant’s withered, limp, and sagging growth.
Gently remove the plant from its container. The roots of a cactus that has rot will have blackened tips. Rotten Christmas cactus roots will be sticky with black or brown decomposition, depending on the extent of the illness.
It’s imperative to take quick action if you find that your Christmas cactus is rotting. Once it has spread, the only cure for the deadly disease rot is to destroy the plant and start over. You can grow a new plant from a leaf if the plant’s healthy portion allows for it.
How can an old Christmas cactus be revived?
It’s likely a big plant if you acquire or inherit an ancient Christmas cactus. Old Christmas cactus maintenance involves trimming back overgrown branches and, occasionally, repotting the plant.
A thorough branch cut is one of the first stages in caring for antique Christmas cacti. It is advisable to trim the branches rather than letting them grow excessively long and heavy because they are more likely to break off. This is especially true if the edges of the leaves appear limp, withered, or thin.
Clip the branches at the segment joints to shape them back. Cut each branch back by at least a third and as much as three-quarters of its length on overgrown cacti. You can even trim a branch of the Christmas cactus all the way back to the woody part if the base of the branch is becoming woody. The wood will sprout new green areas.
What kind of plant are overwatered cactus?
The obvious indicators of an overwatered cactus caused by a fungus in the soil include black or brown blotches and mushy stems. It’s time to carefully chop them off with a knife if you experience any of these bodily symptoms. Use a sterilized knife while handling a rotting plant to prevent the spread of the infection.
You will have to exert more effort if the damage is severe. Essentially, what you’ll be doing is multiplying the portions of your plant that are still alive. Wear nitrile gloves to protect your hands from the cactus’ spines while you chop off the rotting sections, and exercise extreme caution when handling the plant. After cutting out the damaged areas, let your cuttings air dry for a few days, or around a week.
What does a dried-up cactus resemble?
A cactus can suffer considerably more harm from overwatering than from underwatering. Most of the time, it ought to be fairly clear if the cactus has been overwatered.
Symptoms of cactus typically include the following:
- The stems and leaves of the cactus will begin to change color. typically dark or
- The cactus’ base will begin to turn brown or black.
- The cactus will start to rot and leak.
- It will begin to look as though the cactus is rotting or decomposing.
Root rot does not always become apparent right away. For a while, the outside of your plant could appear normal, but one day you might notice that the lower stem is turning black and becoming a little sticky. The news is quite horrible!
It’s interesting to note that a cactus that has received too much water may occasionally exhibit underwatering symptoms as a result of root rot killing the roots. Overwatered plants can actually get dehydrated because their roots will die and stop transferring water to the rest of the plant.
How can a cactus be rehydrated?
HOW TO SAVE A DIEING CACTUS AND RENEW YOUR PLANT
- REMOVE ROTTING COMPONENTS. Overwatering is typically indicated by rotting.
- CHANGE THE DAILY LIGHT.
- REVERSE WATERING.
- RINSE OFF DUST AND GREEN.
- PEST & INSECT CONTROL.
- FERTILIZE WITH LOW NITROGEN.
- ALLOW THEM TO DRY
- WATCH FOR DISCOLORATION & MUSHY SECTIONS.
How frequently does a Christmas cactus need to 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.