Christmas cacti are a very popular houseplant. When they bloom, they produce colorful, tubular flowers in pink or lilac colors. Their beautiful flowers, long bloom time, and easy care requirements make them a wonderful plant.
Unlike many other cacti, Christmas cacti prefer a humid climate, not a dry one, so it’s important to water these cacti more regularly than most succulents.
- As soon as the top inch of soil in the container feels dry to the touch, soak the soil until water runs through the pot’s drainage holes; discard water in the tray so the plant doesn’t sit in water. It’s especially important to water well while the plant is flowering.
- From spring through early fall, feed every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. During the fall and winter, feed the cactus monthly.
- Prune plants in June to encourage branching and more flowers. Simply cut off a few sections of each stem. If you wish, place the cut pieces in moist vermiculite to make more plants—they root easily.
- If your cactus is not blooming, it may be due to the amount of daylight they’re getting or the temperature.
- To trigger blooming, nights need to be at least 14 hours long and days between 8 to 10 hours for six weeks. If you have strong indoor lighting at night, you may need to cover your cacti.
- Flowers will only form when the temperature is between a cool 50 to 55°F (10 to 13°C).
- If the cacti sheds its buds one winter, don’t worry: it should bloom the following year.
Blossom drop: If your Christmas cactus is exposed to any type of stress, the plant will likely drop its blossoms. This could be related to the amount of light, or a sudden change in temperature, as discussed in above plant care section. Also, ensure that your soil doesn’t get too dry while buds are forming.
The plant may be susceptible to mealy bugs and, if over-watered, root rot. If you have problems, cut out infected areas and repot in clean soil.