Homemade fertilizer for Christmas cactus
Coffee grounds not only boost spirits but also provide a boost to your garden with their nutrient-rich properties, making it an environmentally friendly fertilizer and beneficial for the plant itself, as demonstrated by using coffee grounds on a Christmas cactus.
Are coffee grounds good for Christmas cactus?
Coffee grounds can be beneficial for your Christmas cactus by promoting blooming and reviving dying ones with just one simple step. This tasty substance can help your plants bloom in season and provide extra TLC, making it a convenient and effective solution for your plants.
Enjoy a flowering Christmas cactus without effort, thanks to coffee grounds as the key ingredient.
While we enjoy our morning coffee, the leftover coffee grindings will provide us with a refreshing watering option.
Coffee grounds from coffee bush beans contain valuable nutrients like potassium and nitrogen, which are not completely removed during brewing. Nitrogen, in particular, can improve soil structure, as per Farm and Dairy.
Potassium and nitrogen are essential for the growth of Christmas cactus, as they are not metabolically harmful and are abundant in natural fertilizer.
More tips on: Christmas cactus fertilizer
Symptoms of lack of nutrients
Potassium deficiency causes yellowish leaves in older Christmas cactus plants, potentially leading to leaf death. Coffee grounds can be used as fertilizer to counteract this issue and can also balance soil pH values if soil’s pH is too high.
How to use coffee grounds on Christmas cactus
To use coffee grounds as fertilizer, spread them out on a plate and dry them. Moist grounds mold quickly, so dry grounds are not suitable. Store dried grounds in an open vessel until use. There are two ways to use coffee grounds as fertilizer: stir them into irrigation water or scatter them around Christmas cactus and mix them into the soil.
How often to fertilize Christmas cactus
Christmas cacti thrive in damp rainforests with limited nutrients, so fertilization is often less effective. Repotting them annually is recommended, as less is often more in this environment.
Avoid over-fertilization and fertilize throughout the year, only completely foregoring during the short break after flowering, ensuring the plant can be fertilized throughout the year.
- Fertilize a maximum of every fortnight
- Reduce the amount of fertilizer
- Do not fertilize after repotting
- Take a break after flowering
Do not fertilize after purchase or repotting
After purchasing or repotting a Christmas cactus, it is advisable to avoid fertilizing it entirely due to its rich nutrient-rich substrate. Fertilizing the cactus after a year is sufficient, and if repotting is necessary, it can be done without fertilizing. Repotting the cactus immediately after purchase can be beneficial as the earth is often compact, nutrient-rich, or completely soaked. After repotting, rinse off the old substrate and place the cactus in fresh soil.
Best Fertilizers For Christmas Cactus
The Christmas cactus, one of three “holiday cacti,” blooms during specific American holidays, making it one of the most popular and bizarre plants in winter.
Christmas cactus have an unusual design with cladodes, identical stems and leaves. They bloom once annually during a specific window, so it’s crucial to provide optimal care.
The beads are basic, and proper feeding is an easy yet crucial aspect.
This guide not only assists those who prefer homemade fertilizers but also helps eliminate a common cause of Christmas cactus failure.
Important: Know Your Holiday Cactus!
The main reason a Christmas cactus doesn’t bloom is due to confusion between the three holiday cacti, which can lead to incorrect purchases. To avoid overfeeding, it’s essential to check the plant’s identity before overfeeding, as it may not be the correct one.
The good news is that the cladodes of the three-holiday cacti are easy to tell apart once you know what to look for:
- Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) can be identified by its flat, scalloped teardrop-shaped leaves.
- Easter cactus (Schlumbergera Gaertner) originally belonged to the genus Hatboro and has curved, scalloped cladodes.
- Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), meanwhile, lacks the scalloping and instead has spiny edges.
The most common cause of a Christmas cactus failing to bloom is selecting the wrong species, and it’s common for growers to overfeed the plant, believing it’s not getting enough nutrition.
Timing Means Everything
To fertilize your Christmas cactus, avoid feeding it during its blooming period. Instead, fertilize it from April to late September or early October, as the cactus blooms based on environmental factors, so it’s essential to mimic winter.
This implies reduced light, lower temperatures, and a decrease in available resources.
The Basic Fertilizer Necessity
Cactus plants don’t require much feeding, so a balanced liquid fertilizer, like Miracle-Gro, is recommended for 2 to 4 weeks. Organic compost can be added to the soil surface, but should not come into contact with the plant. A safety buffer is recommended for large pots. Slow-release fertilizers are not recommended as nutrients dissolve at different rates, causing malnourishment. Miracle-Gro is a budget-friendly and efficient fertilizer brand. Organic compost should be spread evenly on the soil surface.
Epsom salts can be a helpful solution for magnesium deficiency in Christmas cactus. They are a safe and easy-to-dissolve solution, and can be used in place of regular watering. However, it’s important not to use them simultaneously with fertilizer, as this could harm the plant. The salts should be used between scheduled fertilizer applications and between October and March, as this could also cause harm. Epsom salts are readily available in bathrooms.
Should You Flush?
Flushing is a crucial aspect of proper fertilizing that often goes unaddressed.
Chemical fertilizers and tap water can leave harmful mineral salts in the soil, potentially choking your plant’s roots. To prevent this, flushing your plant every few months is essential. This involves watering the plant slowly for about 20 minutes, pushing the salts further into the soil until they flush out of drainage holes. The soak and dry method flushes the soil every time you water, reducing maintenance and improving plant care. However, bottom-up methods may not be as effective, so manual flushes are still necessary occasionally. Overall, flushing your plant helps maintain its health and prevents waste buildup.
Pro-Tip: A Soak-and-Dry Feeding Schedule For Christmas Cacti
The best fertilizer for plants should be incorporated into an alternating food schedule. The soak and dry method can be used to water plants every two or four weeks. An example schedule is provided for both. It’s important to note that the term “weeks” refers to watering, not a calendar, as the soak and dry method works off of a finger trick.
For a “two-week” schedule:
- Watering 1: Use the liquid fertilizer, followed by the soak and dry watering.
- Watering 2: Use the soak and dry watering method, but substitute your Epsom water for the regular water.
- Watering 3: Fertilizer followed by soak-and-dry watering
- Watering 4: Epsom watering
Now let’s apply this to a “four-week” feeding.
- Watering 1: Use the liquid fertilizer, followed by soak-and-dry watering.
- Watering 2: Use soak and dry.
- Watering 3: Use soak and dry, substituting Epsom water.
- Watering 4: Use soak and dry.
Repeat the process for a happy and healthy Christmas cactus by rinsing and repeating the steps.