How to Care for Your Christmas Cacti

November 14, 2019
Christmas Cacti are special gift plants to give or receive during the holiday season.

Christmas Cacti are special gift plants to give or receive during the holiday season.  These beautiful flowering plants are not true cacti and are native to the rainforests of Brazil.  With minimal care and attention they will not only brighten your home at Christmas but make an attractive houseplant all year long.

When purchasing your Christmas Cactus make sure it is wrapped in paper for outdoor exposure.  Do not leave in the car for any period of time.  

Christmas Cacti love bright light locations but cannot tolerate full sun.  Never allow them to sit in water.  Provide a tray under the pot that can easily be emptied.  They do appreciate humidity,  so a tray filled with pebbles that keep the pot above any drained water works as well.  Check every week for water but keep in mind that the soil should dry out thoroughly between waterings.  Do not be surprised if you are only watering every two weeks.  

If leaf segments shrivel, wilt or fall off you are probably overwatering your plant.  A drastic change in light and room temperature can cause flower bud drop.

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In spring repot your Christmas Cactus in cactus soil.  Fertilize every two weeks in spring and summer with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer.  If the plant stems get too leggy, prune back in June by cutting between two leaf segments.

The leaf segments can be put in moist vermiculite to make more plants.  A touch of rooting hormone on the cut end of the segments will speed up the rooting process.  Keep the vermiculite misted but not soggy.  

In late October place your Christmas Cacti in a cool room for six weeks.  During this time nights need to be 14 hours long and days should be 10 hours.  Do not fertilize when buds are forming and flowering occurs.  After buds form place the plant back into a bright light location.  This move should be done gradually as a quick temperature change may cause bud drop.  

Christmas Cacti can grow up to three feet long.  They make a very impressive hanging basket plant.  So easy to grow and add so much to the Christmas season!