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A robust Christmas cactus in full bloom makes a wonderful present or decoration, despite the fact that poinsettias continue to be the most widely used holiday plant. Christmas cacti may be cultivated year-round indoors and require little maintenance. The flowers come in a variety of hues, including combinations of yellow, salmon, pink, fuchsia, and white.
A Christmas cactus should be placed in a sunny area of the house when it is moved to its permanent location. The best light comes from a window facing north or east. If you wish to grow it inside, shade the plant with thin curtains in a south or west window.
The leaves of the Christmas cactus, a succulent plant, can hold a respectable amount of water. It is not, however, as drought-tolerant as you might imagine. When you can feel the top half of the growth mix feeling dry to the touch, water well. The amount of time between watering depends on the relative humidity, air temperature, amount of light, rate of development, and temperature of the soil.
For the Christmas cactus, humidity is crucial. Put the container on a pebble tray. To improve the humidity around the plant, keep water in the tray. Maintain the plant in this manner until it has finished blooming.
After blossoming is finished, give the plant six weeks without water to rest. Resuming watering after that will keep the soil relatively moist while allowing the top to dry off. Transfer the plant to a new container as necessary as springtime tender growth emerges, or top-dress with new growing medium. For Christmas cactus, potting soil that drains well is essential. For succulent plants, use potting soil that has been professionally packed. Every two to three years, or whenever the container is full of roots, plants need to be replanted. Any time of year is a good opportunity to repot plants that seem unwell. Every two to three weeks, use a liquid houseplant fertilizer at half the recommended rate as a follow-up.
In the summer, Christmas cacti can be put outside, but they need to be tended in a partially to completely shaded area. The leaves can burn in direct sunlight. For the summer, some gardeners relocate their plants to a porch or patio with shade. After the growing mix dries on top in the summer, water it to keep it moist.
After making sure no insects are accompanying the plant, bring it indoors when fall arrives in September. Most insects that attempt to board are usually driven off by a stream of water sprayed in their direction. Like before it went on vacation outside, put the Christmas cactus in a sunny spot. High light intensity is essential for the development of flowers.
Water simply enough during fall maintenance to keep plants from withering. Before watering, let the top half of the potting mix dry out. The pebble tray with water for humidity should not be forgotten. Don’t water the plant in October unless it starts to wilt. In November, you can slowly start watering again. Branches droop and snap when they are overwatered. When the growing mix’s top dries off, add water.
Although the Christmas cactus is simple to grow, some claim that it can be challenging to get it to bloom once more. Cool temperatures are necessary for flowering even though warm temperatures are beneficial throughout the growing season. Keep the plant somewhere where the temperature is between 60 and 65 degrees starting in October. Keep Christmas cactus away from fireplaces, heat vents, and other heat sources. Flower buds will grow if temperatures stay in this range for a period of six weeks.
If you are unable to maintain temperatures in this range, you must provide the plant with 13 hours of continuous darkness every night to trigger flowering, which should begin around the first of October. Every night, put the Christmas cactus in a room that is entirely dark, or cover it with a box or dark piece of clothing.
Stop fertilizing and only water enough to keep the leaves from drooping throughout the period of flower bud production, which begins in October. Water the growth mix when the top half becomes dry to achieve this.
Once the Christmas cactus develops buds, nurture it in a room with typical indoor temperatures and medium to high light. Water the plant to keep it evenly moist when the growing medium’s top dries out. Give your Christmas cactus a half rate of liquid houseplant fertilizer every other week. In the new year, good luck with your interior and outdoor horticultural projects, including your Christmas cactus.
What kind of temperature can a Christmas cactus withstand the lowest?
The holiday cacti thrive in their natural home among the tall tree branches, living in crevices filled with rainfall and decomposing organic materials. Christmas cactus care for outdoors is rather easy if you move your plant outside for the summer. Keep it shaded and water it when the soil’s surface feels dry. It has either had too much sun or not enough water if the leaf segments turn crimson. It could be deficient in phosphorus in some circumstances.
Bring your cactus indoors as October approaches and the weather begins to cool off. They can withstand brief durations of below-zero temperatures, but not freezing conditions.
The cactus are all short-day vegetation. To generate blossoms, they require 14 hours each day of uninterrupted darkness. Put the Christmas cactus on this light/dark cycle on October 1, the Easter cactus on January 1, and the Thanksgiving cactus on September 1. You can bring the cacti back into regular light after flower buds start to emerge, which should take four to eight weeks.
Temperatures play a role on the cacti’s ability to bloom. The cactus will also bloom if kept at 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 60 to 70 degrees during the day if you’re unable to maintain complete darkness for 14 hours each day. Avoid placing the plant near heater vents and in direct sunlight, since these factors might cause the buds to dry out and fall off.
Does Christmas cactus grow outside or inside?
Christmas cactus grows best in direct, bright sunlight. If kept outdoors during the warmer months, place it under a tree or close to a window if indoors.
Despite its name, the Christmas cactus is not a desert plant; rather, it originated in the South American continent’s tropical rain forests. If you live in a dry region, keep a source of humidity handy, such as a shallow tray of water. The plant needs constant watering because it cannot withstand dry soil (done at the base of the plant).
On the other hand, too much water will make the leaves spotty and drop off. Before watering, let the soil’s top layer entirely dry out.
When may I plant my outdoor Christmas cactus?
Yes, you may put Christmas cactus plants outside in the summer. The leaves can be burned by direct sunshine, therefore it’s better to maintain it in a fully to somewhat covered area.
During the hot summer months, a covered porch or patio is an excellent place to keep them. Bring the plants back inside and place them in an area with indirect light as the weather begins to chill down in the fall.
Can Christmas cacti be left outdoors in the summer?
Popular indoor plants include the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii), which has blossoms in hues of pink, peach, purple, white, and red. Christmas cacti, which are frequently given as gifts to friends and family during the holidays, are only cold hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 11, according to Gardening Know How. Thanksgiving and Easter cacti are also on the list of cactus species that resemble Christmas cacti, and if the right conditions are met, all three of these seasonal cacti can be moved outside in the summer.
In the winter, can I put my cactus outside?
Cactus plants that thrive in cold climates prefer many of the same environmental factors as their southern cousins, such as lots of light. Some of the most typical maintenance needs for cold-weather cacti are listed below.
How to Plant Cacti
Cacti need soil that drains fast, but pure sand shouldn’t be used because it doesn’t contain enough nutrients to support their growth. It is recommended to combine typical garden soil or topsoil with 40 to 60 percent coarse sand and up to 10 percent compost for a nutrient-rich, quick-draining mix when growing cacti. Fine-grain sand should be avoided since it can clog soil instead of improving drainage. Cactus plants should not have the soil around their shallow roots disturbed after planting. Pea gravel or other small rock mulch helps control weed growth, keeps the soil temperature constant, and protects soil from blowing away.
In order to offer optimum drainage, raised beds are advised. You need more drainage the more rain your area receives. Cacti should be grown in pots under cover, such as a roof overhang, in extremely moist areas. Cacti should never be planted on normal or clay soil since they are easily overwatered and will perish.
In the winter or fall, refrain from watering cacti. To get ready for the upcoming weather, cactus plants start to contract and seem withered and unappealing. This is a typical phase of their hibernating process; but, if you water them at this time, the extra water may freeze and destroy the plant.
The best strategy is typically to let Mother Nature take care of watering your cactus over the rest of the year. You can feel free to water your cactus, though, if there are several weeks in a row of hot, dry weather without any rain. The plants are probably trying to notify you they need water if the soil is completely dry and they appear limp or are starting to droop. Avoid watering the plant directly and properly soak the soil for the greatest effects.
In-ground cactus plants don’t require a lot of fertilizer, although they can benefit from spring applications of compost or a liquid fertilizer made for use on vegetables or bulbs. Avoid fertilizers that contain a lot of nitrogen (the first number of the three shown on the package). Nitrogen promotes quick growth, but it can also make a plant too delicate and prone to winter damage, especially later in the growing season.
Protecting Cactus Plants
Contrary to popular belief, cold-hardy cacti can thrive in regions with a lot of snow. Cacti can, however, suffer from frostbite in regions with cold temperatures and strong winds but minimal snowfall. As late in the growing season as feasible, carefully wrap the plants in burlap to prevent damage. The burlap shields the plants from the sun, cold, and wind while allowing them to breathe. In order to protect the cactus plants from too much moisture during warmer winters, carefully erect a structure over them, such as a canvas tent.
When it rains, can I leave my cactus outside?
Leaving cacti in a shower for longer than a few minutes, though, could cause considerable damage. A cactus won’t last very long in moist soil, even if it is planted in the right soil. If succulents and cacti are planted in the ground in a place where it might rain frequently, it may occasionally be necessary to build a rain shelter for them.
Add coarse sand, pumice chips, or small pebbles to the cactus soil to improve it. This enhances the capacity for drainage. Use it in your ground beds and containers.
After wet days, it can be necessary to construct berms or elevated beds together with a waterproof covering and sides. Take advantage of any modest slopes in your yard by thinking about adding a bed there. Naturally, you can cover each plant separately using buckets or milk jugs that you may have stored for late-winter cultivation. However, there is no assurance that the soil beneath will continue to be dry.
Cactus might be dangerous to leave out in the rain. If you leave them out after a major downpour, make sure the soil has properly drained and is drying out over the following few days. If not, it may be simpler to transplant in dry soil than to run the risk of developing root rot. Cut off the damaged areas and replant them if you see this rot beginning.
Do I need to move my cactus outside?
In the summer, a cactus may survive in a warm, sunny location, even outside on a patio or balcony. However, the location should be cooler and lighter in the winter.
Does a cactus flower?
All cacti are flowering plants, although some have more noticeable flowers than others, and some, like Mammillaria, Gymnocalycium, and Parodia, produce magnificent, colorful displays when they flower.
How do you get a cactus to flower?
Cacti only flower on new growth, thus it’s quite improbable that your plant will bloom if it remains dormant year after year. Get the plant to follow its natural growth cycle is what you should do. It must hibernate during the winter and reawaken in the spring. Put it somewhere dry, cool, but not dark, and cease watering completely throughout the winter. Give it as much sunshine as you can in the spring and start watering it.
So how often should you water a cactus?
Giving more water in the spring and summer and less in the winter is recommended. Remind yourself not to overwater. Before watering the plant once more, it is preferable to let the soil dry out a little.
And what are the best varieties for beginners?
Gymnocalycium, or the moon cactus, has highly colorful tops that are typically red or yellow. The color is present all year long because these are not flowers. The polka dot or bunny ear cactus (Opuntia) has golden bristle dots against a green background, giving it a contemporary, geometric appearance. Furthermore, the spiky Pincushion cactus (Mammillaria) is simple to grow and sports adorable small pink flowers.
Where should my Christmas cactus be placed?
Holiday cacti may be bought pretty much anywhere that sells plants, from the grocery store to the flower shop, and are incredibly popular gifts during the winter and spring. Holiday cactus are attractive and attract both seasoned and newcomer houseplant aficionados with their succulent foliage and colorful, multicolored blossoms. They frequently pass down from one family to the next and, given adequate care, can live for many years.
Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi), Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), and Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) are three separate varieties that are commonly offered at retail outlets depending on the season “All of them are frequently referred to as Christmas cacti. Due of their comparable maintenance requirements, it is simpler to refer to all three as holiday cacti.
Despite “Holiday cacti require very different maintenance than their desert-dwelling siblings because it’s in their name. Holiday cactus are epiphytes that naturally grow in the shaded limbs of trees in Brazil’s tropical rainforests. Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants rather than in the ground and obtain their nutrients and moisture from the rain and the atmosphere.
As a result, unlike other cacti, holiday cactus are less tolerant to prolonged drought. Once the potting soil seems dry to the touch, they should be watered, allowing extra water to freely drain from the bottom of the container. Do not allow plants to sit in standing water as this can cause the soil to become flooded. Root rot can develop as a result of ongoing exposure to excessively moist soil, particularly during the winter.
Holiday cacti’s watering requirements vary depending on a variety of elements, including the type of potting soil used, the size of the container, the amount of sunlight the plant receives, and the temperature outside. Making ensuring the plant is in the proper area and only watering when the soil mixture is dry are the keys to maintaining a healthy plant.
Holiday cacti thrive in partial shade, such as an east or west facing window, with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Lack of light can limit growth and make the soil mix dry too slowly, while too much harsh sunlight, especially in the summer, can burn the foliage. When in doubt, it is better to water your plants too much than too little.