Christmas Cactus Care 101.
Long known for their perfectly timed display of holiday blooms, Christmas cacti are an easy-care houseplant that can add a burst of color to your home throughout the holidays – and beyond!
The flat, dark green, pointy edged foliage is a beautiful contrast to the plant’s showy and colorful blooms.
Blooms that can burst forth in a vast array of colors – from red and pink, to yellow , purple and even white.
The Origins Of The Christmas Cactus
The Christmas cactus plant originates from the mountains of the eastern Brazil coastline. Although the “cactus” name makes one think of dry desert conditions, the Christmas cactus actually prefers high-humidity.
The foliage grows in a spider-like, segmented fashion. If left to grow, segments can grow as long as two to three feet in length.
Blooms typically last anywhere from two to three weeks.
Christmas Cactus Care – Soil
In general, the Christmas cactus is an extremely easy plant to care for indoors.
A high-quality general potting or container soil is perfect as a growing medium. Most important is that the plant is kept in a container that can drain easily.
Christmas Cacti should be kept in high, natural light areas, but out of direct sunlight. If kept too close to a window with direct sunlight, the tender shoots can actually burn.
Christmas Cactus Care – Watering
A Christmas cactus prefers moist, but not saturated soil.
Water the plant when the top third portion of the soil begins to dry out. Soak the soil when watering, but be sure to remove any excess water that drains out the bottom.
Allowing water to remain in the bottom can cause the roots to actually rot away.
How To Keep Plants Blooming Again and Again
Christmas Cacti need to chill a bit after going through a bloom in order to bloom again.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to move them to a cool part of the house that is around 50 degrees. A basement, or a closed off winter room are perfect.
Keep the soil lightly watered, enough so that the soil feel barely moist to the touch. This will help to force new growth to the cactus.
Much like the flowering poinsettia – Christmas cacti need to be kept in long periods of darkness to help force new blooms. As soon as the new growth begins to appear- make sure to keep the plants in total darkness for at least 12 to 14 hours. T
It usually takes about 6 to 8 weeks after new growth appears for plant to form new buds and bloom.
Christmas Cactus Care – Long Term Care
Christmas cacti benefit from a little fertilizer now and then.
Use a high-quality all-purpose houseplant fertilizer. A monthly application is usually more than enough to keep the plant healthy and blooming. Product Link: Azomite Natural Fertilizer
In the late spring, summer and fall, plants can be moved outdoor to a shady location.
The best time to prune Christmas cacti is in late June to mid-July. This allows enough time for the plants to put forth new growth and be ready provide Christmas blooms all over again!
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