Due to its short day length, the Christmas cactus cannot blossom due to drought stress or excessive light exposure. Christmas cacti are adapted to wet, frequently rainy jungles. If the conditions are dry or there are too many hours of sunshine during bloom production, it does not flower.
I’ve listed here a few other reasons that can stop the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) from flowering:
Continue reading to learn why your Christmas cactus isn’t blossoming and the finest methods for putting remedies in place so that it can produce blossoms.
If your Christmas cactus doesn’t bloom, what should you do?
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 “The two factors of light and temperature are the key to getting Christmas cacti to bloom in the years after purchase. 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.
How can Christmas cacti be made to bloom?
Understanding the Christmas cactus bloom cycle—little water, dormancy, light, and temperature—will help you force a Christmas cactus to bloom.
Start by minimizing how much water the plant gets. This often occurs sometime in the fall, usually in or around October or the beginning of November (in most places).
Just enough irrigation should be reduced to keep the soil moist. Only water until the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) or so of soil feels dry to the touch. The plant will be able to go into dormancy as a result. A Christmas cactus needs to be dormant in order to blossom.
You must relocate a Christmas cactus such that it will experience 12 to 14 hours of darkness in order to further force the plant to bloom. While Christmas cactus can tolerate bright, indirect light during the day, it needs at least 12 hours of complete darkness at night to promote bud formation.
In addition to dark surroundings, your Christmas cactus needs cool temps. It should be between 50 and 55 degrees F on average (10-13 C.). As a result, confirm that the location can satisfy the needs for both light and temperature.
A Christmas cactus can grow elderly and still bloom.
Here is a flowerless Christmas cactus that is otherwise completely healthy. One of the main causes of this species’ failure to bloom is an inadequate amount of nocturnal darkness.
A couple of my wife’s Christmas cacti are about 20 years old. Neither last year nor this year did they bloom. Are they too old?
A: I don’t believe this is a case of plain old age because I’ve seen Christmas cactuses blooming profusely for decades in the same pot with absolutely little maintenance. Over time, some plants peter out, but this one rarely does.
I’d start by making sure the Christmas cacti are receiving enough continuous darkness. They require at least 12 to 13 hours of darkness per night, beginning at the end of September, just like poinsettias.
Flower buds set and then open after around 6 weeks of that amount of darkness, usually around Thanksgiving or into December.
During that period of bud-set, the plants thrive in complete, unbroken darkness. The flowering process can be stopped by keeping a light on until late at night (or all night) or by switching lights on and off throughout the dark hours.
Some rooms are ideal for Christmas cactus overnight lighting because they are bright throughout the day but continuously dark after sunset. If you don’t have a space like that, you’ll either need to cover the plants every night or move them in and out of dim areas throughout the night, like a closet.
Although it’s probably too late for flowers this year, I’ve observed several Christmas cacti blooming after the holiday season provided they had the proper amount of gloom.
If it isn’t the problem, potting into new soil might be beneficial. Christmas cacti don’t require or desire to be regularly potted into larger pots like some houseplants do because they actually want to be pot-bound.
The optimum time to take this trip is around the end of winter. Use a fresh, well-drained mix when repotting; ideally, choose a bag labeled for African violets or bromeliads.
Then, from spring through mid-summer, start fertilizing your plants every two to four weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer (something close to 10-10-10). In the event that your existing blend runs out, that will guarantee adequate nutrients.
When you use softened water or fertilize frequently, you may occasionally experience issues with excess salt buildup that can be resolved by applying fresh potting soil.
The aforementioned factors may cause no flower buds. But if you noticed buds developing before dropping off, that’s a different problem.
A sudden change in environment, such as transferring a plant from the outside to the inside after the buds have formed, might cause buds to form but drop before opening. Rotting can also result from overwatering.
Christmas cactus can be placed outside during the summer, but they should be brought inside as soon as Labor Day arrives.
They prefer pretty bright light once they are inside, but they prefer 12 to 14 hours of total darkness at night.
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Why isn’t my cactus blooming?
I keep a modest collection of cactus as houseplants, but none of them ever bloom. Do you know why?
Cacti are fascinating, exotic plants that abound in eccentric grandeur in landscapes and homes. If your indoor cacti aren’t flowering, there’s definitely a problem with the soil, water, lighting, temperature, or other one of these factors. Additionally, it might take some cacti species up to 50 years to reach flowering maturity! It is a good idea to choose a blooming cactus when you buy one from a garden shop or nursery so you know it is old enough to do so.
Depending on the type of cactus you are cultivating, different maintenance procedures are required. Desert and jungle/forest cactus are the two primary categories of cacti. The distinction between the two is rather straightforward: jungle/forest cacti are indigenous to tropical climates, whilst desert forms are endemic to desert settings. The general growing needs for each kind are listed here, while specific species may call for special attention.
Desert: • Soil/fertilizer: Desert cactus do best when planted in potting soil that is well-drained and designed for growing cacti. Use soil that includes elements like perlite, sand, and Supersoil added into it if you don’t have access to cacti potting mix. Only use a fertilizer made specifically for cacti during the growing season. After the growing season is finished, you must stop feeding fertilizer because the cactus need to start preparing for dormancy. For plants to be healthy and flourish, they require a time of dormancy, which normally occurs during the chilly, dry winter months. • Water: Overwatering is among the most frequent errors made by cacti gardeners. The top inch of soil should typically only be watered when it feels dry to the touch. You can reduce your watering to once a month or right before the cactus starts to shrivel during the dormant season. • Lighting: Very sunny environments are best for growing desert cactus. They require powerful, continuous light to thrive. Place them in a window that faces south or west and, if necessary, add fluorescent lighting. Keep them in an area that is consistently between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to keep them in a colder (but still bright) environment during their winter dormancy, ideally between 50 and 55 F.
The majority of jungle/forest cacti can be grown effectively in standard, well-drained potting soil. Jungle/forest: You might add perlite to the soil for quicker drainage to increase your chances of success. During the growing season, you can use a normal fertilizer; just be careful not to feed the cacti when they are dormant. • Water: Jungle/forest cactus can typically be watered once per week. Water only when the soil seems dry to the touch throughout the winter or dormant months. You can be watering your plant too little or too frequently if it starts to shrink. By feeling the dirt, you can determine what has to be adjusted. • Lighting: Jungle/forest cacti require less sunlight than desert-adapted types and require brief periods of darkness in order to thrive. Keep them in a light environment, but make sure they get some time each day away from the sun’s rays.
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How do I get my cactus to bloom?
Cacti and succulents prefer summer and winter seasons, as well as a clear variation between night and day temperatures. Succulents prefer colder outdoor nighttime temperatures of 50-550F (10-130C) or at least 60-650F indoor nighttime temperatures (15-180C). Succulents prefer a noticeable contrast between their night and day temperatures to imitate their natural habitat, with the low night temperatures playing a crucial role in the plant’s growth cycle, especially when kept in a controlled setting.
If you want to see your succulents and cacti bloom, overwintering is also crucial. For desert cacti in particular, this can be accomplished by keeping plants cool and largely dry over the winter. During the winter, keep them at a comfortable temperature of between 35 and 440 °F (1.5-70C). If maintained indoors during the winter, try to keep them in an unheated room or keep the temperature low to provide them the necessary cold winter season. This does not apply to holiday cacti, such as Rhipsalis, Schlembergera, and Hatiora, which have different moisture and temperature needs than desert cacti (see below for Holiday cactus blooming tips).
Make sure the plants are kept in a bright area and receive enough sunshine throughout the year, including during the darker winter months. Most succulents and cacti require at least 4-6 hours of bright sunshine every day, if not more. Some plants require filtered but bright light to avoid solar damage since they cannot withstand harsh, full sun. Lack of light causes plants to gradually etiolate, become paler, and spread out in search of more light. To provide adequate lighting, place indoor plants in windows with a south or east orientation. If more light is required indoors, think about using grow lights. Lack of sunshine stunts the growth of succulent plants, and they are unlikely to blossom as effectively.
Giving your plants the nutrition they require instead of fertilizing them will assist maintain healthy growth and promote blooms. Flowers require a lot of energy to grow, therefore giving plants more nutrients during flowering season will assist meet their nutritional requirements. The best time to fertilize is during the active growing season, which is in the spring and summer. Fertilizers work best when applied every two weeks at a quarter- or half-strength. Avoid fertilizing during the winter and towards the conclusion of the fall growing season. It is acceptable and typical to use a balanced fertilizer blend that has been diluted to half strength. Cacti and succulent-specific fertilizer mixtures are also appropriate.
Although cacti and succulents can store water, they still require frequent watering during the active growing season. Regular watering helps to guarantee that they don’t lose all the water they need to store for growth. Regular watering also improves their ability to resist the hotter summer sun. Water plants thoroughly during the active growing season until water begins to leak out of the pot’s openings. Don’t water again until the soil has dried out. Before watering, check the top inch of the soil for moisture. During the hot summer months, watering should be done more frequently; during the chilly winter months, less frequently. Succulents and cacti suffer from overwatering, so make sure to let the soil dry out in between waterings.
Succulents and cacti require a well-draining soil in addition to suitable watering methods. Cacti and succulents don’t like to sit in water. If kept wet for too long, their roots are prone to rot. The capacity of a succulent potting mix to drain efficiently is its most crucial requirement. You have the option of using store-bought potting soil or making your own for succulents. Giving them the proper medium increases their chances of flourishing and blossoming. Keeping your plants content will boost blooming.
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 guys require more water than desert cacti, but they also don’t like 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. Although ingestion of any plant can lead to some light vomiting or diarrhea, Christmas cacti aren’t considered to be toxic according to the ASPCA.