When do Christmas cactus bloom naturally?
The Christmas cactus is a colorful, tubular plant that blooms in winter, providing a long-lasting holiday gift. It requires proper care, including proper watering, ensuring blooming, and propagating for a long-lasting gift. It’s a great addition to any garden.
About Christmas Cacti
The Christmas cactus, a popular houseplant native to tropical rainforests, blooms indoors in winter and is a great gift. Unlike regular cacti, it thrives in high humidity, sunlight, and warm temperatures, making it a popular choice for holiday decorations.
Holiday Cactus Types
Three main types of “holiday” cacti are the Easter cactus (S. gaertneri), the Thanksgiving cactus (S. truncata), and the Christmas cactus (S. x buckleyi). These species are referred to as “Christmas cacti” for simplicity. For more information, see our article.
Potting Christmas Cacti
- When selecting a pot for a Christmas cactus, be sure to choose one that has a drainage hole in the bottom. This helps to keep the soil from getting too wet.
- Christmas cacti grow well in most potting mixes formulated for succulents. The important thing is that your potting soil drains well.
Where to Put a Christmas Cactus
- Plants should be kept in bright, indirect light. An east-facing window or a bright bathroom is ideal. Too much direct sunlight can bleach the sensitive leaves.
- A daytime temperature of 70°F (21°C) and an evening temperature of 60-65°F (15-18°C) is preferred.
- Christmas cacti prefer a more humid environment, which makes a bright bathroom or kitchen a good spot to keep them.
- In the summer, Christmas cacti can be placed in a shady spot in the garden or on an unheated porch until temperatures get below 50°F (10°C). Keep them out of direct outdoor sunlight.
How to Care for Christmas Cacti
Water your cactus every 2 to 3 weeks, only when the top one-third of the soil feels dry. Soak the soil until it runs through the pot’s drainage holes and discard excess water. Water well during flowering, and feed it every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer from spring through early fall. Feed the cactus monthly in fall and winter for successful blooming. Prune the plants in late spring to encourage branching and more flowers. Cut off sections of each stem and place them in lightly moist potting soil. Cut pieces can root easily after a few weeks and make excellent Christmas presents.
How to Get Your Christmas Cactus to Bloom
The three main types of holiday cacti typically bloom according to the schedule triggered by cooler temperatures and longer nights of fall.
- Thanksgiving cacti are the earliest and longest bloomers, typically producing flowers from late fall through mid-winter.
- Christmas cacti tend to bloom from early winter to mid-winter.
- Easter cacti bloom from late winter to mid-spring.
To encourage your cactus to bloom, follow these tips:
- To initiate blooming, cactus require a minimum of 14 hours of nights and 8 to 10 hours of days for at least six weeks, and if indoor lighting is strong, cover the cactus or relocate it to an area exposed to natural light.
- The optimal temperature for flower buds to form is between 50 and 60°F (10 and 15°C).
- To initiate the budding process, expose the plant to temperatures of 45°F (7°C) for multiple consecutive nights.
- Consistency in watering during flowering is crucial to prevent excessive drying, as excessive drying may cause the plant to drop its buds.
- The cactus, despite one winter’s buds shed, should bloom the following year.
There are three primary types of “holiday cacti” available:
- Thanksgiving cacti (Schlumbergera truncata) bloom from late fall to mid-winter and are often mislabeled as Christmas cacti.
- Christmas cacti (S. x buckleyi) bloom from early winter to mid-winter.
- Easter cacti (S. gaertneri) bloom from later winter to mid-spring.
How to Make Christmas Cactus Bloom
The Christmas cactus, also known as Thanksgiving or holiday cactus, is a forest cactus that thrives in tropical conditions. They prefer bright, indirect light and a rich, organic potting mix. Their water needs are higher than other succulent plants, so it’s important not to leave their soil too dry. To properly care for the Christmas cactus, follow these steps.
The bloom season occurs in early November, and the key to its success is minimal watering, sufficient light, and a suitable temperature.
1. Reduce Watering
To ensure Christmas cactus bloom, limit watering to the top 1 inch layer of soil and only when the plant feels dry to touch. This watering schedule encourages the plant to enter the dormancy period, which is crucial for the plant’s growth.
2. Provide 12 hours of dark
ness and cooler temperature:
The Christmas Cactus, a short-day plant, requires 12-24 hours of daily darkness, preferably in a cool room, for flowering.
To promote flower buds, relocate your Christmas cactus to a dark location for at least 12 hours, cover it with clothes at 6 PM and remove it the next day, and continue this process for approximately 6 weeks.
Direct sunlight during the day is acceptable, but 12-hours of absolute darkness at night is crucial for a Christmas Cactus’ growth. Avoid turning on lights at night, even for short periods, as it disrupts the dark cycle and disrupts the blooming process.
The optimal temperature for Christmas cactus to bloom is 50-55F, which may necessitate adjusting the heater or finding a cooler room.
Does Christmas Cactus Bloom More Than Once A Year?
Christmas cactus can re-bloom in spring when exposed to short days, especially in an east-facing window with abundant sunlight and 12 hours of darkness, unlike many other succulents.
Succulents should be treated with dark and cool conditions for six to eight weeks until buds emerge. If buds fall off, it may be due to drafts, hot temperatures, excessive sunlight, or water.
After bud appearance, flowers take up to twelve weeks to grow. Place the Christmas Cactus in draft-free, sunny spots, away from direct sunlight. Increase watering as needed, as temperature, lighting, and humidity affect blooming. Avoid direct sunlight for more blooming.
What Do You Need To Know More?
To make your Christmas cactus bloom, keep these tips in mind while growing this beautiful plant.
- Christmas cactus are prolific bloomers and produce flowers at the end of the leaves.
- Each flower will last from five to seven days, whereas the flowering period of the plant lasts for three to six weeks.
- While it blooms, continue to give your Christmas Cactus water lightly. Lack of water will make the bud break off easily.
- Originally, the Christmas cactus produces red flowers. However, the hybrids produce peach, lavender, magenta, white, and pink flowers.
Follow these essential tips to make your Christmas cactus bloom and enjoy the beautiful flowers on this plant.