How to grow a bigger Christmas cactus?
- Grow in a location with indirect light.
- Miracle-Geo Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix is recommended for planting your Christmas cactus.
- Water the top 1 to 2 inches of dry soil.
- Increase the level of humidity around the plant.
- Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food is recommended for feeding from after blooming until fall.
- Give your Christmas cactus 6 weeks of extra darkness and lower temps to encourage blooming.
- The best shape should be achieved by pruning after blooming.
- To increase the number of Christmas cacti, you can root the pruned stem sections off the plant if desired.
Christmas cacti are easy-to-grow houseplants found in garden centers and grocery stores from fall to early spring. They bloom during the winter break, adding color to indoor spaces. Many labeled “Christmas cacti” are actually Thanksgiving cacti, which bloom earlier. Both types can be cared for the same way.
Christmas cacti, part of the Schlumbergera genus, are native to the coastal mountains of southeast Brazil, growing in free-draining, shady conditions at high elevations. These cacti differ from desert-like cacti, which are typically found in deserts. Care for a Christmas cactus is different from other types, as it requires different attention and care.
Where to Grow a Christmas Cactus?
Christmas cacti thrive in indirect light and humid conditions, so they should be grown in a north- or east-facing window. Keep them out of direct sunlight, as red leaf-like pads indicate too much light. They can be moved outside during summer, but keep them in a protected, shady area and avoid letting pots sit in water after heavy rain. Hang them among tree branches for a unique landscape.
How to Plant a Christmas Cactus?
Christmas cacti thrive in snug containers, producing more flowers. Once roots fill the pot, follow these steps for optimal growth.
1. Choose a pot that is 1 to 2 inches wider and has a drainage hole.
2. Fill a new container ⅓ full with Miracle-Gro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix for optimal drainage and food for your Christmas cactus’ early growth.
3. Place the plant in the container and ensure the root ball’s top is ¾ to 1 inch below the container’s top.
4. Fill the container around the rootball, leaving ¾ inch of space for easy watering between the soil’s top and the container’s lip.
5. Water the plant thoroughly, let it drain, and transfer it to its permanent home, ensuring a waterproof saucer is placed underneath the pot to prevent leaks.
Tip:Repotting plants in late spring is optimal as they have recovered from blooming and are starting to grow again.
How to Water a Christmas Cactus?
Christmas cactus prefer moist soil, so water them when the top inch or 2 of soil is dry. To increase humidity, fill a pot saucer with pebbles and add water just below the tops, ensuring the pot is not directly in water. This will help the air become more humid as the water evaporates. For tips on watering Christmas cactus to rebloom, see below.
How to Feed a Christmas Cactus?
Christmas cacti require regular, nutritious meals from the end of blooming until fall to store energy for the next flower. Miracle-Gro Succulent Plant Food is recommended for providing the right type and amount of nutrition to these plants. Use 2 pumps for small pots and 5 pumps for larger pots, following the label’s instructions. This will ensure the cacti produce beautiful blooms for the holidays.
How to get a Christmas Cactus to Bloom?
To ensure a Christmas cactus blooms, provide it with 6 weeks of “short days” and low temperatures. Move the plant near a window in a cool room with low light, shut the door, turn off lights, stop feeding, and reduce watering. After 6 weeks, increase the room temperature to 65 degrees F and allow more light. Once flower buds form, move the cactus to its center stage for the holidays.
How to Prune a Christmas Cactus?
Christmas cacti can live for decades with proper care. To maintain their fullness and bushiness, prune them after blooming by removing 2-3 stem sections per branch on about half of the plant. If branches break off due to the plant’s size, trim them more. This simple process ensures the plant remains full and bushy.
How to Grow More Christmas Cacti?
To create beautiful Christmas cacti, root pruned sections instead of composting them. Dip each cutting in rooting hormone and place them in moist potting mix. Allow the cuttings to sit for a few weeks, then check for roots. Water them as needed. Once they grow, transfer them to their own pots and enjoy their beautiful Christmas cacti.
How to Deal with Christmas Cactus Problems?
These plants are easy to grow but they also have common issues that need to be addressed.
- Blooms may drop before opening due to sudden changes in light, drafts of air, or large moisture levels. To prevent this, move the plant, water it properly, and if the plant has been recently moved, leave it alone for a while to recover.
- The plant’s red leaf-like pads indicate excessive light, suggesting it should be relocated or moved further away from the window.
- If your Christmas cactus turns black and slimy, it likely has a fungal or bacterial disease. The best course of action is to discard the plant and start over.
- The plant’s base appears woody or corky, indicating its age and maturity, a positive sign. Congratulations on a successful plant-aging process.
How to grow a bigger Christmas cactus?
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