The Christmas cactus is an absolute treat to have as part of your indoor or outdoor garden.
It produces bright pink flowers that are delicate and bloom during Christmas time! Despite being a cactus, it is not dangerous or painful to handle.
Christmas Cactus Care & Growing Guide
1. Light Requirement
This plant should be kept in bright but indirect light. It will not do well in direct sunlight, especially if the heat is strong. If you are planting it outdoors, you will have to find an area where it only receives morning light, but by noon, it’s in the shade.
This plant needs to be watered every two to three days during the summer. The soil should be thoroughly soaked, and then it should dry. During the winter, water it far less often. Watering it less will also promote blooming.
To know if the plant is being over-watered, check the leaves. If the leaves are limp, then hold back and water it less.
3. Climate and Temperature
Since it’s from Amazon, this plant needs to have high humidity in the air. You should set it by a humidifier and put it on the lowest setting. If you can reach 50% to 65% humidity, then that would be ideal.
If this plant is outside, it might be best placed near a pond or fountain, if the area you’re in is not humid.
Even though it can be watered, it receives most of the moisture it uses through its leaves.
It does best when temperatures are around 65 to 75F. Temperatures lower than 65 degrees may cause it to bloom. To have it outdoors, it needs to be in hardiness zones 10 to 12.
The Christmas cactus can be grown in pots, but make sure the soil drains quickly.
It can handle a basic potting soil mixed in with some sand for drainage. It can be fertilized but only do it once a month and only from the late winter to the late summer.
Do not repot the Christmas cactus until the flowers have fallen off, and it is now late winter or early spring. If you try to repot this plant while it has flower blooming, it could cause terrible results for its flowers
The roots of the cactus plant like to be crowded, so wait until they’re coming out of the drainage holes before you repot it.
Make sure the new soil it is being transferred into is well-draining. There should also be some sand in it. The container cannot be too big, either.
Repotting is simple. Take the Christmas cactus out from its container and loosen any compacted dirt from the roots gently. Then place it into its new container and bury it up to its stem. Water it thoroughly after and place it in low indirect light.
6. Speed of Growth
A Christmas cactus has a moderate growth rate and can reach a spread of two feet in about three years. If it is well cared for, it can continue to grow bigger and bigger.
7. Height and Spread
If this plant is indoors, many plant owners keep its height to about a foot or two. It’s width usually grows to two feet as well. But if it is planted outdoors, they can grow much bigger. As long as it is properly fertilized, it can grow up to 5 ft in width and 2 feet in height
The Christmas cactus must be trimmed regularly. If it is not, it can keep growing and growing until it reaches a humongous size.
Trim this plant after it has bloomed. After blooming, the cactus will start growing again and put up new leaves. Since the new leaves are growing, you can take out any leaves that are old an large. Doing this frees up energy to be devoted to newer growth and its flowers.
Is the Christmas Cactus Plant Poisonous?
No, the Christmas cactus is not toxic to either animals or humans. If you eat this plant, however, you can experience diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. It is not meant to be eaten.
Can Christmas Cactuses Grow in Water?
No, the cactus plant cannot grow in water. It may like its roots to be soaked, but in between watering, the roots must be dried out, or they’ll become waterlogged.
Does the Christmas cactus have flowers, and how do I get them to bloom?
Yes, the cactus plant has beautiful red and pinkish flowers that bloom during Christmas time.
To promote blooming, the cactus cannot get too much light. It has to be in a dark environment for at least 12 hours a day and only be exposed to light for 8 hours. You’ll have to cover your cactus, even if it is only exposed to artificial lights or lamps.
The flowers will only bloom when the temperature reaches 50° Fahrenheit.
If the Christmas cactus is properly cared for, it can bloom and grow for over ten years.
Common Christmas Cactus Pests
- Necrotic spot virus occurs in greenhouses or where the air around plants is very humid. This virus causes large black spots on the leaves and stems. The dark spots necrosis in the plants and can kill it.
- Since it is a virus, there is no cure, and you will have to throw your plants away.
- Mealybugs are small triangular shaped bugs that are fuzzy. They can kill plants by sucking out their nutrients, and sap from the stems.
- To fight them, rinse your potted plant thoroughly and then apply an insecticidal soap or neem oil to keep them away. Cut off any damaged foliage as well.
- Despite being a cactus, this plant comes from the rainforest of Brazil
- It gets most of the water is uses from the air through its leaves
- It blooms when nights are long and days are short, so during the winter.
- Covering it will promote blooming, since it will think it is now wintertime.
- This plant hates to be in the cold.
- Do not repot this plant until all of the flowers have fallen off, and the blooming season is over.
- Add sand to the soil it’s in to improve drainage.