Thanksgiving cactus, holiday cactus, and crab cactus are all names for the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). The leaf-shaped stem segments with curled, pointy teeth or claws around the margins are known as crabs. The leaf segments of the Easter cactus (Schlumbergera buckleyi) have rounded edges. They all came from wet, dark forests around the southeast coast of Brazil. Because they reside above ground in trees, where branches meet and decaying leaves and moss amass, they are categorized as epiphytes.
Although this plant has the moniker “cactus,” the maintenance it needs has nothing to do with its relatives in the desert. It is regarded as a type of woodland cactus. Its needs can be traced back to its beginnings. It is recommended for Christmas cactus to grow in “Potty trained That entails storing it in a small container for as long as possible before transferring it to a pot that is only marginally larger. They should not be allowed to dry out and like a thick organic potting mix. When the plant is blossoming, increase the watering. They favor direct, bright light. As the plants start to burn in full light, the leaf segments might turn a dark red color.
The “secret to getting Christmas cactus to bloom in the following years after purchase comes down to two things: light and temperature. These two hold the secret to the realm of flowers. Flowers are produced by Christmas cacti during a chilly, brief day cycle. It takes at least eight days of 16 hours of darkness and 8 hours of light every day for flower buds to begin to form. No matter where the plant is located, avoid using the lights at night, even for a little time. That ends the necessary dark cycle. Around 61 degrees should be the ambient temperature. Place the plant away from drafts of either cold or hot air.
All that is required is to set the Christmas cactus on the window sill in a chilly area without turning on the lights. In a brightly lit space, a plant’s side towards the window will frequently sprout buds, but not the other way around. It usually has to do with either receiving too much or not enough water or with there being insufficient humidity in the air if the plant sets flower buds and then they fall off. The good news is that if their temperature and light needs are met, Christmas cacti are thought to be rather simple to induce to bloom once more.
Why won’t my Christmas cactus grow?
Lack of water or much sunlight can occasionally result in wilted or weak Christmas cacti. Start by giving the wilting Christmas cactus a small amount of water if you haven’t been watering it. Every few days, continue to water carefully until the soil is barely damp.
Christmas cactus issues can also result from excessively damp soil. The Christmas cactus cannot tolerate wet roots since it is an epiphyte in its natural habitat on the ground of tropical forests, where it takes moisture and nutrients from the air. The roots of Christmas cacti can become excessively wet and floppy because to poor drainage.
Move your wilted or limp Christmas cactus to a location with more shade, especially in the afternoon, if the leaves look dried or burned.
How can you encourage the growth of a Christmas cactus?
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.
Why isn’t my cactus expanding?
You need to give your cactus adequate sunlight so that it can flourish. While extreme heat in their natural environment causes them to become dormant, you must give your cactus enough sunshine for it to develop in the summer. This is assuming that you experience hot, humid summers and chilly, icy winters.
The majority of cacti, particularly desert cactus, need a lot of bright light. The indirect, bright light is preferred by tropical cactus. Both require a lot of strong, primarily indirect light. Cacti can be kept in the summer on a windowsill, balcony, or even outside.
But intense midday heat can harm your cacti. Outside, it’s frequently OK, but inside a glass, the heat can burn. Additionally, avoid letting your cactus spend more than a few hours in direct sunshine, especially during periods of extreme heat. Species will influence that, though.
Another crucial point to keep in mind is that while cacti are accustomed to persistent, intense heat and sunlight in their native habitats, they are not accustomed to it at home. You must gradually acclimate them to sunlight, especially during winter hibernation, to prevent burns that might potentially kill cacti.
If you mist cactus, you should do so either very early in the morning before sunrise or late in the day after sunset. This is because the spines will only be slightly heated, aiding in the evaporation of the water. Avoid misting your cactus while it’s hot outside since the water will act as a lens and will burn your plants.
To put it simply, cactus require a lot of bright (and occasionally shaded) light to flourish. Never place a cactus in a dim bathroom or on a shelf (unless it is tolerant of low light). Your cactus will progressively stop growing if you do it this way.
The majority of cacti species do best when placed on windowsills that face south, south-east, or south-west. Cacti on south-facing windowsills may require shading during busy times. Window sills with a west or northwest orientation are ideal for cacti from the desert or the tropics, as they prefer filtered or shaded light.
#3: Allow proper air exchange
Cacti require adequate air exchange to survive and adore it. They detest high humidity and stagnant air, and if they have to live there, they will slowly perish. Having said that, keep cactus away from drafts and keep air conditioning away from them because they don’t like sudden temperature changes. In the winter, keep away from radiators and put in a cool spot.
Place your cacti in a light area of your home, such as a balcony, windowsill, or even outside. Cacti shouldn’t be kept in closed terrariums since they can’t tolerate high humidity.
If possible, leave your cactus outside during the summer.
They can only grow with fresh air. Never water your plants at night, though, if the temperature where you live drops very low during the summer (below 55F, or 13 Celsius). In this situation, bring them inside.
In order to simulate morning dew when nighttime temperatures are low and subsequently rise significantly, hot water misting or morning watering are fantastic options. Most cacti thrive at summertime temperatures between 80 and 86 F (27 and 30 C).
Try to use cactus for terrariums only briefly, for a few days. This is so that cactus can’t easily absorb water from a glass container. Cacti have a difficult time absorbing water in terrariums since there are no drainage holes and multiple layers of soil, rocks, and charcoal.
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 shriveled. You probably overdid it if they’re more squishy 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.
How can a Christmas cactus be evaluated for health?
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.
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.
Do Christmas cacti benefit from 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.