Tips to Grow and Care for Christmas Cactus
Tips for growing and caring for Christmas cactus are necessary for the best results. Christmas cactus known in other words Forest cacti originated from the Southeastern Brazil rain forest. It was introduced to join other beauty shrubs that decorates Christmas and other festive seasons. It is known for its response to light even when grows under the dense forest canopy. Moreover, it is different from other cactus that is available in stores of North America. Christmas cactus is a combination of two different types of cactus to produce a hybrid variety of cactus. It is popularly issued as Christmas gift in England, this cactus is one of the most used plants as Christmas gift. It follows poinsettia which is the most issued in this festive season. Treated well, Christmas cactus can pay you with a couple of years of attractive blooms.
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When Choosing the Best Position for Growing Christmas Cactus
It depends on whether you prefer the north facing window or east facing the window.
- Christmas cactus requires much light to continue growing. Despite this, it does not grow very well when kept in the hot sun. The plant is not okay with intense light. Exposing it to the said light results in its leases limping and red coloring. During the warm season, it is advisable to take the Christmas cactus outside although it must be placed under a shade. It can also be placed in partial shade to prevent the burning of foliage.
- The best growing temperatures of Christmas cactus ranges between fifty-five and seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit. One biggest challenge when one is growing cactus is dropping from closed flower buds. Those who are trying to grow Christmas cactus must be aware of this. The problem can be avoided by making sure that by the beginning of the autumn during the formation of the buds, the cactus is kept below the temperature of ninety degrees. This will save the buds because too high temperatures kill the buds.
During Watering and feeding
- Christmas cactus does not grow in drought areas unlike another desert type of cactus. Christmas cactus must be given relatively wet condition but not very severe wetness. Severe wetness result to root rot.
- Once a cactus is out of summer months, one must make sure that the soil moist is even but during the autumn avoid too much water but one must continue watering.
- The plant requires houseplant fertilizer at least once per month starting from early spring and the whole summer. This is a water-soluble fertilizer that feeds the the cactus with the required nutrients. During the fall one should discontinue using the fertilizer.
- One should follow the instructions elaborated on the fertilizer label for other specifications of instructions and better outcome.
When there is Production of flower
Same as poinsettia which is the first moving plant during Christmas regarding popularity, Christmas cactus is influenced by darkness duration certain temperatures for it to have proper flowers production best condition for it to produce flowers is long hours darkness and cool evening temperatures.
- To meet the above conditions, your Christmas cactus must be placed in a situation where it receives not less than 12 hours in the condition that no light is penetrating. The other remaining hours of the day, your cactus must be kept in a position it does not receive direct bright light. This is around the center of the month of October when these conditions are supposed to be met.
- The period of darkness to Christmas cactus is essential for blooming although can be substituted by keeping the temperature around 50degrees where hours of darkness are not necessary.
- Christmas cactus is left in low temperatures of about 50 degrees starting from the month of November; it will bloom by Christmas which is a very good timing for the season.
- On closing the Christmas festive season, it is good to prune your cactus a bit to increase the surface area for the next blooming of the year. This is enhanced by simply clearing one to two phylloclade from each branch using hands.
- These cuttings hats have been removed from the Christmas cactus serve as future propagation material and therefore must be well preserved.
- Propagation is the best time one can share the cactus with friends and loved ones, and the exercise is very easy.
- The process of propagation starts by removal of the intersection of three or four phylloclades twisting them with your hands on the position of the joint. The intersecting points are left to dry for not less than 24 hours. This enhances the position of a scab on the injured joint. Once e injured area is dry, the cutting is planted in a wet mixture of one part rests under the potting mixture. This pot must then be placed in a position where it will get a lot of filtered sunlight.
- From here, this pot carrying the already propagated Christmas cactus must receive little mist on a daily basis to keep it damp it should not be watered at this stage. One must be aware of the process as it is very tricky because of the segments first wilts and seem to die. Without the awareness, one may abandon it or throw it away. From this stage, new growth re-appears while roots develop to hold the cutting beneath the mixture. After full root development watering must be resumed and other mentioned activities regarding the case of the Christmas cactus.
The Christmas cactus survives in well-supervised conditions where it feeds from the said soil mixture. It has been noted that by the span of two or three years. The essential nutrients get finished, and it shows signs of stunted growth. During this time it is wise to re-establish the plant with a fresh supply of nutrients. This process is known as re-potting.
- It is advisable to do it in the starting of spring or ending of winter when Christmas cactus in dormant in buds formation or blooming.
- One is supposed to use the soil that does not retain much water preferably cactus soil. If one cannot access the soil, one can go to the alternative of making his/her combination under the guidelines that two parts of peat moss combine with one part perlite and one part potting soil.
If you want the best results and a cactus that will have to follow the steps and tips one by one. We want the best cactus for your Christmas. Therefore, play your part and follow them.
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