Tips to Grow and Care for Christmas Cactus
Christmas Cactus, a winter-flowering houseplant, graces our houses just in time for holidays, as you can tell by the name. With hanging branches that can grow up to 3 feet long and flowers that come in vibrant colors, the plant makes a mesmerizing choice to sit with any home decor.
The plant is essentially brought in to accessorize the Christmas decor. Since it takes rather low maintenance to grow it, people often find it to be an ideal choice to enhance their home aesthetics in the busy Christmas season. It also makes a lovely gift for friends and family.
Christmas Cactus is particularly recognizable for its segmented stem with colorful plants hanging from them. With the right care, you can encourage the plant to bloom again and again. In this article, we are offering some effective tips to grow and care for Christmas Cactus. Keep Reading!
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Choosing the Right Location to Grow and Care for Christmas Cactus
While it largely depends on whether you prefer north or east-facing window, here are some general tips that can help you decide on a location for your plant.
- While caring for a Christmas Cactus, you should always keep in mind that the plant requires much light for healthy growth. However, you should not place it under direct sunlight; it will simply do more harm than good. Exposure to intense light is likely to result in limp, burning of foliage, or red spots in its leaves. So, somewhere with a partial shade will make an ideal location for your Christmas Cactus.
We suggest you place your Christmas Cactus outdoors in the summer, of course under a shade. This fosters better growth for the plant.
- Christmas Cactus prefers to be kept between a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with average to high humidity, during the blooming season. If the humidity is below average, you could try placing a tray filled with water underneath the plant.
Once the plant ceases flowering, which is supposed to occur by fall, it will not need as much watering or light. Make sure that the plant is being kept in darkness for 12 to 14 hours then.
- Christmas Cactus does not enjoy being kept in drafty areas.
Watering and Feeding your Christmas Cactus
Unlike most plants in the cactus family, cactus requires to be watered and fed regularly. They demand average to high humidity levels for healthy growth. However, make sure not to over-water the plant as it can result in brown spots, root rot, and other chronic diseases. But again, too little water can cause issues with its blooming. To ensure proper drainage, you can put small stones or sand at the base of the plant.
To understand if your plant needs watering, simply feel the soil to see if it’s getting dry, then it’s your cue to water your Christmas Cactus.
Feeding season for Christmas Cactus is the same as the growing season, which means you will need to pay special attention to the plant from the month April to October.
Keep in mind that Christmas Cactus needs well-draining soil. In this case, it will work wonders if you mix some fine bark with normal potting soil. Christman Cactus needs to be fed with diluted liquid fertilizers every two weeks.
And as you notice that the plant has stopped growing, usually toward the end of summer, you will need to stop feeding the plant as well. If you continue fertilizing the plant even when its growth is at a standstill, the salt will start to build up in its buds and hinder bloom.
When buds show up in the plant, introduce the Christmas Cactus to a warmer temperature with moderate humidity.
Tips to Grow and Care For Christmas Cactus When Its Blooming
Christmas Cactus is a sucker for darkness or shade during its growing season. The plant begins to bloom toward winter, during the cooler days. It requires to be kept in darkness for 12 hours a day, then. And even during day time, it has to be kept away from direct sunlight. However, light is essential for its growth. Make sure to put the plant in a spot where it gets at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight.
Meanwhile, make sure that the soil is not drought. Like all other succulent plants, Christmas Cactus enjoys moist soil at all times.
If you leave a Christmas Cactus at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you can expect a beautiful bloom by Christmas eve.
Tips to Grow And Care For Christmas Cactus When Repotting
If you are planning to re-pot your Christmas Cactus, its best to begin right after blooming ends. Note that frequently repotting your plant can cause more harm than good since the plant enjoys slightly crowded roots.
- Before you begin repotting, make sure that you have a drainage hole at the end of the pot. Although the plant prefers moist soil, it does not enjoy being sunk in a pool of water.
- Remove the plant from the soil and loosen the roots. Gently wash it with water before replanting
- As you are replanting your cactus, make sure that the root’s top is an inch under the pot’s rim. Fill the roots surroundings with the potting mix and water the soil. Leave no air pockets in the soil.
- Once you are done repotting, the plant in a shaded location for up to 3 days. After that get back to the plant’s regular care routine and prepare it for the next blooming season.
To encourage healthy blooming in your Christmas Cactus, you will need to tend to it regularly. As low maintenance as it is, there are some care routines you are required to follow if you want to foster your plant’s growth. In this article, we have presented some essential tips to grow and care for Cactus. We hope you have a wonderful bloom!
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