When To Feed Thanksgiving Cactus

Fertilizer. To encourage blooming in the fall, the Thanksgiving cactus should get frequent fertilization throughout the growth season. Every two weeks in the spring, summer, and early fall, apply a balanced, diluted liquid fertilizer.

When exactly do I need to feed my Christmas cactus?

Christmas cacti generate beautiful flowers and trailing jointed stalks. These epiphytes, which are native to Brazil, are ideal houseplants. The majority of the time, cacti require little maintenance and flourish in conditions of average hydration, indirect, bright light, and well-draining soil. Monthly feedings of Christmas cacti are done during the growing season, which is typically from April to October. This will maintain your plants healthy so that they can develop buds and eventually have that completely blossomed appearance in time for Christmas.

You don’t have to fertilize your gift of cacti if you don’t want to maintain it. The plant will gradually starve to death as the soil eventually releases all of its nutrients. Any lazy cactus will liven up with fresh soil and the addition of houseplant food, but timing is crucial.

In the autumn, when the weather is cooler and the days are shorter, Christmas cacti form buds. In order to deceive the plant into producing buds, they require 12 hours of darkness. Christmas cactus may develop strong growth to maintain the blossoms if fertilized in the spring and summer. Additionally, the plant stores energy to support the development of buds. When fall hits, the plant is forced to produce magnificent hot pink to red blossoms by a harsh schedule of shorter days, cooler temperatures, less water, and no additional nourishment.

When it’s blooming, should I fertilize my Thanksgiving cactus?

Thanksgiving cactus is a seasonal plant that blooms in the autumn. It features long-lasting tubular flowers and is simple to grow.


  • To make the soil of the Thanksgiving cactus drain efficiently, add a lot of organic matter.
  • Place the plant in the shade outside throughout the summer, but bring it inside if it gets colder than 50 degrees F.
  • Place the pot in a well-lit area away from the sun.
  • During the blooming season, keep uniformly moist, but water sparingly the remainder of the year, letting the soil’s top layer dry up before watering again.
  • Every two weeks, fertilize with a succulent food when the plants are in flower.
  • From November to March is when flowers are in bloom.
  • To promote a bushier plant, properly prune in the spring.
  • In the spring, grow new plants from these leaf cuttings.
  • Only climate zones 10 and above are cold resistant. Grow as a houseplant in other places.
  • Beware of mealy bugs, spider mites, and root rot caused by excessive watering.

How often should a Thanksgiving cactus be watered?

I’ll address some of the most typical queries about Christmas cactus maintenance below. Ask in the comments box below if you can’t find the solution to your question here.

How long will my holiday cactus stay in bloom?

The amount of heat and sunlight that your Christmas cactus receives will greatly influence how long it will remain in bloom.

The blossoms might only endure for a couple of weeks if you keep it in a hot, sunny location. However, those same plants can continue blooming for 4-6 weeks or more in cooler conditions and with less light.

How do I get my holiday cactus to bloom?

Give your holiday cactus a period of chilly temperatures and total darkness if you want it to bloom.

The ideal temperature is from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 10 degrees lower at night. Give them full darkness for at least 10 hours at night and 8 to 10 hours of indirect light during the day.

What are the different types of holiday cactus?

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are the three different holiday cactus varieties. Each one bears the name of the season during which the blooms bloom.

Does holiday cactus need full sun?

Holiday cactus requires filtered or indirect sunshine, not full sun. The leaves can become burned by too much direct sunlight, which will stop the plant from blossoming.

How often do you water a holiday cactus?

Holiday cactus plants don’t require a lot of watering. Every 7 to 10 days, check on them, and only water when the soil feels dry. During the flowering season, they require a little bit more moisture than they do the rest of the year.

Your plant will be healthy and happy if you use these holiday cactus care and growing suggestions, and it should bloom each year just in time for all of those special occasions!

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When it’s blooming, should I fertilize my 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.

I have a Christmas cactus; how often should I fertilize it?

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 is not blooming, it may be receiving too much light or too-high temperatures. 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.