Can Christmas cactus be outside in summer
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Christmas cacti, also known as forest cacti, are easy to care for and produce large, attractive flowers. They are not as common as desert cacti, which grow naturally in jungle woodlands attached to trees.
As its name suggests, Christmas cacti are fabulous houseplants for brightening up the home in winter, as they flower from November to January – and usually during the Christmas period.
How to grow Christmas cacti
Christmas cacti require bright, indirect sunlight and can be moved to a sunny patio in summer. However, bring them indoors before cold weather sets in early autumn to promote new flower buds and keep an eye out for slugs.
Christmas cactus varieties
Garden centres often offer cacti varieties in specific flower colours such as red, pink, purple, and white, ensuring a diverse selection for customers.
Planting Christmas cactus
Christmas cacti require well-drained compost, so use a compost specifically designed for cacti and succulents or a multi-purpose compost with John Innes and grit added.
To ensure plant stability and prevent falling over, it is recommended to grow them in a wide pot rather than a deep one.
Suggested planting locations and garden types
Houseplant, indoor plant, summer patio plant.
How to care for Christmas cacti
Water plants moderately during summer and flowering, but less sparingly at other times, avoiding overwatering to prevent flower buds from dropping.
To maintain a moist environment for Christmas cacti, place the pot on a tray of pebbles or hydroleca.
After flowering, allow plants to rest, stop feeding, reduce watering, and keep them cooler at 12-15°C (55-60F°) to prevent compost drying out.
In March/April, repot plants if they have outgrown their pot, topdress with fresh compost, and start watering if new growth appears.
Maintain plants moist during their main growing period from April to September, feed them regularly with high potash houseplant liquid feed, and maintain a temperature of 18-21°C (65-70°F).
When flower buds begin to form, avoid excessive movement of the plant to prevent the buds from dropping.
Christmas cacti problems
Christmas cacti can be trouble-free if cared for correctly, but common issues include:
Flower bud drop is typically caused by fluctuating temperatures, such as hot in the day and cold at night, and overwatering is another common cause.
Non-flowering flower buds in autumn are typically caused by ‘non-autumnal’ conditions, such as low temperatures and day length not shortening, possibly due to artificial light exposure.
|Flowering season(s)||Autumn, Winter|
|Foliage season(s)||Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter|
|Ultimate height||Up to 60cm (2ft)|
|Ultimate spread||Up to 60cm (2ft)|
|Time to ultimate height||3-4 years|