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How to Care for Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

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10 Reasons Why the Christmas Cactus is a Must-Have Plant During Any Season!

About Christmas Cactus

The Christmas or Holiday cactus is a beautiful winter-flowering houseplant that is easy to care for and propagate. They bloom with colorful tubular flower buds in pink or lilac, making a great holiday gift. Christmas cacti are native to southern Brazil’s tropical rainforests, where they grow on tree branches and soak up high humidity, dappled sunlight, and warm temperatures.

They can’t withstand as much sun and heat as other cacti, so water them more frequently than most succulents, but not too frequently. Christmas cacti are easy to care for and make great holiday gifts.

Additionally, research has shown that having plants in your house will have amazing benefits for you! Visit our article Amazing Psychological Effects of Nature in Pet-Friendly Interiors to find out more!

Selecting the Best soil for Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cacti are beautiful plants that require specific growing conditions in order to thrive. Native to Brazil, it is an epiphyte, meaning it grows on larger tree trunks and gets its water from the air. Its roots go deep into decomposing leaves and debris on tree sides, drawing moisture from this improvised soil.

However, this cactus quickly dries out due to its small volume and high altitude. Consequently, it prefers well-drained soil in order to thrive. Commercial cactus potting mixes provide good drainage for them and are widely available at garden stores. This stunning plant can bring holiday cheer to your home with a little care for years to come.

How to Care for Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

Christmas Cactus Real Live Indoor Houseplant, 6″ Pot, 10-12″ Tall

Selecting the right pot for Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus thrives in moist, humid conditions—unlike most desert-dwelling plants. They are tropical understory plants, so it’s best to grow them in a pot that allows for plenty of airflows and doesn’t impede the roots’ ability to absorb oxygen from the air.

Glazed ceramic pots are not ideal for Christmas cactus; choose a pot with at least one drainage hole to help prevent the roots from becoming soggy. They grow semi-trailing, making them suitable for hanging pots. With its lush, green leaves and showy flowers, they are a festive addition to any home — just be sure to give it the right type of pot!

How to Care for Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

Christmas Cactus Real Live Indoor Houseplant, 6″ Pot, 10-12″ Tall

The Best light for Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus is a beautiful plant that can brighten up any room, but it takes proper care and maintenance to produce flowers. It prefers indirect, bright light, and direct sunshine can burn the plant’s leaves and limit growth, so placing it near East or North-facing windows is ideal.

Light-diffusing drapes or other devices should be used on south or west windows. Christmas cactus should be kept away from drafts, heat vents, fireplaces, etc. In the summer, keep plants in shady regions. If you keep your cactus indoors, a grow light is recommended if you want beautiful flower buds to develop. They can adapt to low light, but it thrives in bright, indirect light.

How to Care for Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

Christmas Cactus – Live Plant in a 4 Inch Pot

How to Water a Christmas Cactus

To water the Christmas cactus, you should start by watering directly at the base. The roots must get water for the cactus. Misting the leaves to keep them hydrated is optional. Christmas Cacti need more water than desert cacti, yet it’s easy to overwater.

Overwatered cactus leaves and branches become limp and die. Before adding any water, let the top third of the soil dry completely. Even though the surface appears dry, you should examine beneath the soil. Water the soil until it drips from the pot’s perforations.

Once the soil is moistened, check for standing water under the container. Always drain excess water to avoid root rot and mold. Christmas cacti require well-drained soils rich in organic matter with a slightly acidic pH between 6 and 7. If you are unsure of your Christmas Cactus’s watering needs, consider getting a moisture meter to help you monitor the soil conditions.

How to Care for Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

Christmas Cactus – Live Plant in a 4 Inch Pot

How to Fertilize Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus is one of the most popular holiday plants. Given their name, it’s no surprise that they bloom around Christmas time. This cactus’s feeding and growing seasons coincide, which means they should be fed from April to October before they bloom. With adequate fertilizer and feeding, you should have Christmas blossoms.

Another key thing to remember is that Christmas cacti need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness in order to bloom. So if you’re looking to get your cactus to bloom in the fall, make sure to give it cooler days by keeping it outdoors or near a window.

Lastly, when the plant stops growing in late summer, stop feeding it. Salt can build up in the bud if you keep fertilizing the plant, so it’s best to just let it rest until it’s time to bloom again.

Jack’s Classic by JR Peters is a 20-20-20 all-purpose fertilizer that is perfect for Christmas cactuses. It strengthens the plant’s roots and leaves, preparing it for Christmas blooming. In addition, Epsom salt is an essential element for Christmas cactuses. When not fertilizing, you should use a gallon of water and a teaspoon of Epsom salt to ensure that the plant gets all of the magnesium it needs to grow and blossom appropriately.

Dormant after October, the plant won’t need fertilizer. You must stop feeding and watering this plant in order to prepare it for Christmas blooming.

How to Care for Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

Christmas Cactus – Live Plant in a 4 Inch Pot

Christmas cacti prefer temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and they prefer high levels of humidity. One way to increase the indoor humidity for your cactus is to place a tray of water-filled stones beneath the pot. You can also help maintain its bud set by watering it adequately and avoiding exposure to cold drafts, unventilated heaters, and hard treatment.

Nighttime temperatures exceeding 70 degrees Fahrenheit may impede bud growth, so be sure to keep an eye on the temperature in your home. With a little bit of care, your cactus will bloom gloriously for years to come.

How to Propagate Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus is a beautiful plant that can add holiday cheer to any home. These plants are relatively easy to care for, but they can be finicky when it comes to propagation. They typically reproduce via stem cuttings, and these cuttings can be a bit tricky to get right.

First, the cutting should be made up of two or three segments. These segments should be healthy and taken from the end of the plant’s stem. Once the cutting has been made, it’s important to allow the piece to dry for a few hours before rooting it, and this will help to prevent stem rot.

These cuttings root easily, so there’s no need to worry if you don’t have much experience with propagation. Simply place the cutting in moist peat and sand, submerging the portion by a fourth of its length. Avoid too much direct sunlight when placing the plant, and water gently at first to prevent rot.

After two or three weeks, you should see Reddish development at the tips of the cutting, indicating that roots have begun to form. Once this happens, you can transfer the plant to its permanent home. With a little bit of patience and care, you can successfully propagate a Christmas cactus.

How to Care for Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

Rare Yellow Christmas Cactus Plant – Zygocactus – 4″ Pot

Christmas Cactus Common Pests and Diseases

Christmas cactus is native to tropical regions and require high humidity to thrive. They are especially susceptible to rot, which can quickly kill the plant. To prevent rot, water the cactus thoroughly when the soil seems dry. Drain the pot, and don’t let the plant stand in water. Winter water lightly, but never completely dry the potting mix.

Fungicides are often ineffectual against pathogens, as each pathogen requires a distinct fungicide. However, there are some general tips that can help to prevent rot. They thrive in high humidity, so be sure to mist the leaves regularly. Also, make sure that the pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.

Basal stem rot and root rot are the most common concerns caused by poor drainage. Basal stem rot forms a brown, water-soaked patch in cool, humid soil at the stem’s base, and Lesions climb the plant’s stem. Basal stem rot is usually fatal because the treatment includes removing the plant’s supporting structure.

Root rot is another concern that is often difficult to treat. The disease causes plants to wilt and die and is characterized by wet, black, or reddish-brown roots. Early disease detection may rescue the plant, but it is often best to start again with a healthy Christmas cactus.

Additionally, they are vulnerable to several diseases, including botrytis blight and impatiens necrotic spot virus. Botrytis blight is characterized by silvery gray fungus on blossoms or stems and can be controlled by removing diseased plant portions early. It is also important to reduce humidity and improve ventilation to prevent outbreaks.

Impatiens necrotic spot virus causes spotty, yellow, or wilted leaves and stems and is transmitted by thrips. However, diseased plants can be saved by putting them into a clean container with a pathogen-free potting mix. They are well worth the effort of disease prevention, as they add beauty and cheer to any home during the holiday season.

When should I repot my Christmas Cactus?

Christmas cacti prefer to be pot-bound, so they should be repotted every three to four years. Repotting too often can harm the plant. It should be repotted in late winter or early spring after blooming ceases and the flowers wilt. Don’t repot a blossoming plant.

It prefers dense roots, so don’t repot it too soon. It can often thrive for years in the same pot. However, when you decide to repot it, follow these steps, and your cactus will thrive for years.

1.- Begin by mixing 2/3 potting soil with 1/3 sand. This lightweight, well-drained mix is perfect for bromeliads and succulents. It likes water, but its roots will rot without air, so it’s important to use a pot that drains well.

2.- Next, remove the plant from its pot and loosen its roots. If the potting mix has become compacted, carefully wash it away from the roots. Repot the cactus, so the root ball is about an inch (2.5 cm) below the pot’s rim. Fill the roots with fresh potting mix and pat to remove air pockets.

3.- Now it’s time to water your Christmas cactus. Be sure to moderate your watering so the plant doesn’t get too wet or too dry – just give it a good drink once a week, and it should be happy! 

How to prune my Christmas Cactus

Pruning a Christmas cactus is a great way to encourage new growth and more flowers. After blooming, prune the plant to encourage branching and new stems. It will start growing new leaves at this time, so pruning will help it grow fuller and bushier.

If you have a large Christmas cactus, pruning will also help keep it from getting too big for your space. Simply cut back the main stem by a few inches to prune a Christmas cactus. You can also prune off any dead or damaged leaves or stems. Be sure to use sharp pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant.

Final Thoughts

Christmas Cactus is a must-have houseplant for any season! With its festive and stunning blooms, Christmas Cactus will surely bring holiday cheer to your home. Arranging your Christmas Cactus is one of the key parts of creating a beautiful Christmas display. Place it in a strategic location that has access to natural light or use grow lights.

Ensure the planter you picked has holes at the bottom, allowing the excess water to drain and prevent root rot. You can talk to your houseplant to make it grow healthier, using humidifiers or grouping more plants to make the air more humid.

And don’t forget about Christmas cactus carefertilize it regularly for continued growth and health. Besides Christmas cacti, you can also invest in pet-friendly indoor trees, hanging gardens, and other creative design elements, such as hanging plants, to further enhance the atmosphere of your.

Care for Christmas Cactus – FAQ

What type of potting mix should I use for Christmas Cactus?

A lightweight, well-drained mix is best for Christmas Cactus. Try mixing 2/3 potting soil with 1/3 sand.

Are Easter Cactus the same as Christmas Cactus?

Easter Cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) and Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) are two different plants.

Are Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) and Christmas Cactus related?

Yes, Thanksgiving Cactus and Christmas Cactus are in the same plant family, but they are two different species.

What is the difference between a Christmas Cactus and a Thanksgiving Cactus?

The main difference between these two plants in the shape of their leaves. Christmas Cactus leaves are smooth, while Thanksgiving Cactus leaves have teeth-like serrations.

Another difference is that Christmas Cactus blooms in the winter, while Thanksgiving Cactus blooms in the fall.

What is the difference between an Easter Cactus and a Thanksgiving Cactus?

The main difference between thanksgiving cacti and holiday cacti is the shape of their leaves. Easter Cacti leaves are smooth, while Thanksgiving Cacti leaves have teeth-like serrations. Also, thanksgiving cacti generally bloom a bit earlier than Easter cacti. Finally, the two plants are native to

What is Holiday Cacti?

Holiday cacti are a group of three closely related plants: Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii), Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), and Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri).

Are Christmas Cactus plants easy to care for?

Yes, Christmas cactus plants are relatively easy to care for. They prefer bright, indirect light and moist, well-drained soil.

When does Christmas Cactus bloom?

This plant blooms in the winter, typically around December.

Why are the leaves on my Christmas cactus limp? 

There are a few reasons why the leaves on your cactus may be limp. First, make sure you’re not overwatering the plant. Christmas cacti prefer well-drained, evenly moist soil. Second, check for pests or diseases. 

How can I care for Christmas cactus?

To care for a Christmas cactus, water it when the soil is dry to the touch and fertilizes it once a month during the spring and summer months. Give it light, indirect light and protect it from drafts. You can also prune the plant to encourage new growth. Flower buds form in late summer, so avoid fertilizing after August.

Is Christmas cactus care complicated?

No, Christmas cactus care is relatively easy. They prefer bright, indirect light and moist, well-drained soil.

How do I get my Christmas Cactus to bloom?

You can try a few things if your cactus isn’t blooming. First, make sure it is getting enough light, and it prefers bright, indirect light. Also, be sure to keep the soil evenly moist – not too wet or too dry. Finally, try giving it a little extra fertilizer during the spring and summer months. If you still can’t get it to bloom, you can try pruning it to encourage new growth.

How to Care for Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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