Why Is My Easter Cactus Wilting

The main factor contributing to the Easter cactus’ shriveling and wrinkleing is a lack of water. For most of the year, this plant requires only moderate watering. Follow these watering recommendations for the best outcomes:

  • In the spring, when the blossoms have faded, let the soil dry out for a month.
  • Keep the soil continuously moist during the summer and early fall (but not wet or soggy).
  • Allow the soil to almost entirely dry out between waterings in the winter.

When the top of the potting soil on your Easter cactus becomes dry to a depth of one inch after the drying phase in spring (and all the way through winter), water it (2.5 cm). Every day, stick your finger into the ground to check the moisture level.

If the Easter cactus starts to lose leaves, that is another clue that it is submerged. This is almost certainly your issue if you also have wrinkly leaves that are shedding. However, you can also be dealing with a couple of problems at once, like not enough water AND not enough humidity.

A NOTE: “Easter cactus leaves are really just flattened stem segments. I’m referring to “Since many starting houseplant growers refer to the stems as leaves, we will use that term throughout this essay. The leaves, however, are actually dangling stem segments that resemble leaves.

How can a dead Easter cactus be revived?

  • Withhold water in October and November if your Easter cactus isn’t flowering, as the plant needs a dry period to create blossoms. Until December, place the plants in a cool location with temperatures between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. In the evening, put them somewhere dark, then in the morning, bring them back into the light. Move the cactus to a cold, light-filled area in early December. After the plant blooms, you can start watering normally again.

How frequently do I need to water my Easter cactus?

The most popular pot sizes for Easter Cacti are 4, 6, and 8 pots. They expand to become 1 x 1. Because it lives for a long time inside, older plants (10+ years) can grow to be 2 x 2.

Without direct sunshine, strong natural light is ideal for them. The thick leaves of a spring cactus will burn in the hot sun. For reference, mine is growing on a buffet in my dining room, which has three sizable east-facing windows. It is positioned about 10 feet from the windows, where it receives lots of light (Tucson is famed for its abundant sunshine!). They prefer bright shade while growing outside. As you can see from the video, my covered side patio’s northern exposure offers the best exposure.

These are epiphytic cacti, which are different from the desert cacti that Tucson is covered in. They grow on other plants and rocks rather than soil in their native rainforest settings. The roots must be able to breathe. Give yours a big swig of water and let the entire contents of the saucepan completely drain. Before you water the plant again, make sure it is completely dry. The roots should not be kept wet all the time because they will eventually rot. In between waterings, let the soil to dry out. It depends on a variety of things how frequently you water it. You should find this guide to watering indoor plants helpful. Water your Easter Cactus more frequently when it is blooming. At this point, you don’t want it to become fully dry.

They can withstand a variety of temperatures. Your Easter Cactus will feel comfortable in your home if you do. Just be aware that the blooming season will occur more quickly the warmer your home is. Keep children away from heaters and, in the opposite direction, from drafty areas. The evening temperature must be chilly for blooms to set. It is best between 45 and 55 degrees F. They can be grown outside all year long in temperate areas.

Although this epiphytic cactus favors humidity, it can survive in our homes despite their tendency to be dryer. I’ll put mine on a saucer with stones and water if it starts to appear less “plump & a bit on the dry side.” To prevent any rotting, make sure to keep the pot’s bottom out of the liquid. Soil

In their natural habitats, spring cacti grow on other plants, rocks, and bark. In soil, they do not grow. They eat leaves and other trash in the natural world. This indicates that they like a fairly porous mixture with considerable richness. I usually mix in compost and coco coir with a fairly chunky local succulent and cactus mix. This peat moss substitute is better for the environment since it has a pH that is neutral, can hold more nutrients, and enhances aeration.

None of my spring cactus have ever received fertilizer. Every spring, I always supplement with worm compost and organic compost. They’ve always had no trouble blooming. I’ll modify mine again in the summer here in the desert when it’s much hotter and dryer. You can use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer (such 10-10-10) in the spring, early summer, and mid-summer even if yours might not require it. My friend gave his Christmas and Easter cacti (20-10-20) all-around orchid fertilizer in the spring and again in the summer, and they both looked fantastic. It needs to be diluted to 1/4 strength. Add the fertilizer to the water at a quarter of the recommended rate. If necessary, I might try using my collection of orchids, which I have quite a number of. Wait to fertilize your Spring Cactus until it has completed blooming entirely, which should take 1-2 months. Before hitting it with the good stuff, you want it to relax!

I’ve only ever pruned mine to shape it or to make more plants. Speaking of propagation, leaf cuttings or division are both fairly simple methods. By chopping the terminal leaf parts off, you can take individual leaf cuttings. It is simple for me to twist them off. I select a few pieces, which I consider to be a stem. I then let the leaves or stems grow without them for about a week. They take a few weeks to root when I plant them in a plain succulent and cactus mix with about half of the leaf hanging out. I repotted them after one month has passed.

Take the entire leaf—don’t split it in half—and propagate it. Propagation works best, in my opinion, two to three months after flowering is over. Pests / Issues Mealybugs, spider mites, and possibly scale are common although mine have never experienced any of these. Another issue is the fungal disease known as root rot. By not overwatering and/or utilizing a soil mixture that is properly aerated and free drainage, you can prevent this.

Flowering Yes, this plant’s blossoms are quite attractive. Compared to the Christmas and Thanksgiving Cacti, whose flowers I think somewhat resemble Shrimp Plant flowers, these are more star-shaped. They come in vivacious violet, peach, red, orange, and that calmer Easter color, white. These plants are timed by the farmers to bloom around Easter. Although they can bloom long into or throughout May, they are primarily sold in March and April. The flowers will open more quickly and their overall blooming period will be shorter the warmer your home is.

Similar to what you do to get the Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti to bloom once again, you may get them to flower once more. Make sure your spring cactus receives an equal amount of sunshine and absolute darkness each day six to eight weeks before you want it to bloom. At this time, keep them dry to force them into dormancy. Depending on the temperature, the mix they are in, and the size and type of pot they are planted in, they may need watering every three to six weeks. Keep the temperature between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, 50 to 55 degrees is ideal. Your need for more darkness will increase if your temperatures are warmer.

Why is my cactus sagging out of nowhere?

Excellent and resilient plants, cacti are rarely troubled by numerous problems. However, cactus may also cause you some problems. One of the problems is a cactus that is falling over or drooping. You can discover the causes of your cactus drooping or toppling over in this essay, along with solutions.

Weak roots or being potted in a container that is too big for the plant are a couple of the main causes of a cactus drooping or toppling over. Other causes might include bugs, lack of sunlight, underwatering, and more.

What causes the wrinkles on my Easter cactus?

The true Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) and its close sibling, the Thanksgiving cactus (S. truncata), which I’ll refer to as holiday cacti in this piece, generally grow well in home gardens. (To learn how to tell them apart, read When your Christmas Cactus Blooms Too Early.) They arrive to bloom twice a year, first in November/December and once in February/March, in many homes. And they can survive for decades with little care. But occasionally you become aware that something is off. The “leaves” (stem segments) change from being bright, lush, and green to being drab, scraggly, withered, soft, and occasionally even crimson. What is happening?

When considering holiday cactus, eliminate the word “leaf” from your lexicon. They no longer have any leaves, or rather, none at all. They did bear precisely two cotyledons (seed leaves) when they first emerged as seedlings, which may have been 40 years ago or more, but ever since, they have survived only on their stems. The green stem segments that have been flattened connect in a chain-like fashion to form an arching, hanging plant that later becomes brown and woody (at least the very oldest stems do). Because they are green, stem segments produce energy for the plant by performing photosynthesis much like a leaf would. Still, stem segments aren’t exactly leaves.

Because not enough moisture is getting to them, thirsty stems eventually become limp and shriveled. It would seem logical to conclude that they merely require more watering, but this isn’t always the best course of action.

Moisture cannot penetrate the stems, particularly the last segments, for two main reasons. Either the roots are harmed, which can be brought on by too much water, or the soil is too dry.

It’s simple to see or, at the very least, feel if the soil is excessively dry. Squeeze it. You can quickly feel the dryness in your fingers. Watering is the apparent cure, then, if the shriveled stems are due to dry soil. Water deeply and completely, not just lightly, to thoroughly hydrate the entire root ball.

When potting soil is extremely dry, it can sometimes repel water. As a result, when you water the plant, it no longer seeps into the soil but instead instantly flows off into the saucer below. This is particularly prevalent with hanging baskets, which we often water less frequently than necessary out of concern that any extra water may spill out of the saucer and onto the ground. The poor plant suffers as a result from persistent drought stress and never receives adequate moisture.

Don’t merely water the plant if that is your diagnosis; soak the root ball instead. Put the pot in a sink or a pail of warm water and soak it for ten to fifteen minutes. After that, let it completely drain. If you don’t let the soil allow itself to become dry again, it will become water-receptive once more and you can water routinely going forward.

Holiday cacti do not require dry maintenance as desert cacti do because they are not desert plants. Even though they are tolerant of inconsistent care, they do prefer “even wetness all year.” Just remember to water according to the golden rule: deeply enough to cover the entire root ball, then wait until the soil has dried before watering again. It consistently works!

It is clear that the issue is unrelated to underwatering if your plant has shrunken stems but the soil feels damp to the touch. In actuality, the situation is considerably worse. When the roots are withering or dead, this happens!

The roots may be in such poor condition for a variety of causes. These are the top two.

  • Keeps the soil overly wet. The roots can’t breathe if the potting soil is always damp; as a result, they start to die. Root rot then develops. The pathogens Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, etc. that cause this disease lay latent in most soils, waiting to pounce once the health of the root cells begins to deteriorate. The sick roots then transfer the disease to the healthy ones, killing them as well. Even though the soil is drenched with moisture, it is obvious that a plant with fewer or no roots cannot properly hydrate itself, and as a result, its stems start to wilt. The line “Water, water everywhere, nor a drop to drink!” makes me think of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
  • mineral salt accumulation. Salts build up in the potting soil of any indoor plant over time, typically over several to many years. They are barely noticeable in the water you apply, but they are far more prevalent in fertilizer. When they grow too much, the earth eventually becomes saltier than the roots themselves. Then, rather of water flowing from the soil into the plant, water will flow from the plant into the surrounding soil to dilute the concentration (this process is known as osmosis). Because of this, the roots begin to dry out and die. A whitish or yellowish crust on the pot’s rim or even on the plant stem is frequently present in conjunction with the buildup of salts in the soil. Mineral salt damage can be especially harmful to epiphytic plants like Christmas cactus.

Repotting is the simplest fix if you think mineral salt buildup is to blame for the issue.

As much of the old dirt as you can get out as you unpot the plant. Pruning off the decaying roots is a good idea if they smell like rotten potatoes. Remove any stems that are decaying as well. Repot now into a fresh pot (with drainage holes, of course). Notably, a bigger pot is not required. In fact, it’s frequently advisable to repot the plant into a somewhat smaller one if it has lost roots. Any potting soil (houseplant dirt, cactus soil, orchid mix, etc.) that drains well will work.

Water deeply at first to thoroughly hydrate the soil, then sparingly over the following months, only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Usually, when given fresh potting soil, the plant will rapidly generate new roots and its health will start to improve. However, you must have patience because it can take several months before you notice a noticeable difference.

It’s also a good idea to take cuttings anytime a holiday cactus starts to look a little unwell in case you are unable to save the original plant.

Pick stems with at least three segments for the best outcomes (four or five would be even better). To get rid of them, twist the stems rather than cutting them; at the base of a section, they will naturally split.

Place the cuttings in a little pot filled with moist potting soil, making sure to completely cover the lower segment. Maintain a tiny moisture in the mixture until new growth occurs, which could take several months.

The fact that really old specimens occasionally don’t respond well to repotting, even when you’re attempting it to save their lives, is one of the reasons I advise combining taking cuttings with any other rescue approach for a deteriorating Christmas cactus. They appear to be entrenched in their ways and would rather slowly expire than accept a better adjustment, much like certain elderly humans. Thus, the cuts serve as your “backups.”