Cacti are one of our favorite succulents. We have an excellent suggestion for those new to the plant world and who need to know what plants to invest in: Christmas cacti are also known as Schlumbergera. Even though they are not the most well-known houseplant, they are easy to recognize. The beautiful, draping, green leaves of this native Brazilian plant produce stunning flowers that last for several weeks. Because of their red blooms (although some varieties can bloom in other colors), they are called Christmas cacti. The base is a rich, deep green.
You don’t have to worry about whether you can keep this plant alive. Continue reading to find out all about this colorful and vibrant succulent. Andrew Gaumond is your plant expert.
Andrew Gaumond is a botanist and horticulturalists. He also serves as the Editorial Director for the Petal Republic.
Best Growing Conditions for Christmas Cactus
They need bright, indirect sunlight during the day to produce beautiful Christmas cacti blooms. Gaumond states that Christmas cacti can be found in shaded woodlands, unlike their desert-loving cousins. Therefore, it is essential to have some shade in your home. Consider putting your plant in an area that has eastern exposure. These plants will be weak and leggy if they don’t get enough light. Too much light can burn your plants. Finding the perfect balance is critical. Gaumond says a side table or window sill facing easterly or orderly would work well. If you have blinds, shielding the plant from prolonged sun exposure is possible.
To ensure balanced growth, rotate the plant at least once per week.
If the plant isn’t in bloom, water it only when the soil feels dry. This should vary depending on how much light is available and the moisture level in your home. The soil should be evenly moist but not soaking wet when the plant is in flower. A good misting every day will be a great help to your plant. Christmas cacti will enter dormancy when winter arrives. The plant will then re-energize itself in spring. Gaumond states that during these months, watering should be cut to once every 14 to 21 days (remember to water only after the soil has dried a bit before re-watering).
Plant your Christmas cactus with well-draining soil to prevent root rot or pests. Use a mix of sand and ordinary potting soil to make your cactus mix.
If it is too hot or cold, Christmas cacti won’t thrive. So aim for temperatures between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit during daylight and 55-65 degrees at night. To bloom, Christmas cacti need lower nighttime temperatures. “Christmas cactus, like many houseplants, requires moderate to high humidity levels (necessary during the long, dry winter months). Gaumond says that these conditions can be easily replicated by placing an excellent in-room humidifier near the plant, or by placing the potted plants on a humidity tray which will create a miniclimate.
To Repot or not to Repot
Christmas cacti are one of the easiest houseplants you can care for. Repotting your plant every two to three years is a good idea. Repotting a plant after it has finished flowering is the best time. Repot in a container at least 1-1.5 inches bigger than the one it is currently living in. Repotting promotes growth and healthy roots. Make sure you choose a container that has drainage holes. Roots left in water for too long can cause rot.
Gaumond suggests that you use a good organic, all-purpose cacti fertilizer or houseplant fertilizer to give your Christmas cactus an extra nutritional boost in the spring and summer and support the growth of vibrant blooms. You should feed your cactus once every three to four weeks, but you should not do this during winter when it is sleeping.
How to Troubleshoot Your Christmas Cactus
First, you need to identify the problem and inspect your houseplants. Next, examine the cactus to see if it has been infested. Christmas cacti can be infested by spider mites or fungus gnats. Fungus gnats can be easily controlled and eliminated.
To kill the eggs, let the soil dry completely. If this doesn’t work, you can try insecticide (a type of bug-killer soap). If this doesn’t work, you can repot the plant in completely new soil. If you intend to reuse the pot, wash it with soap.
Is there white webbing near the soil and under the leaves of your plant? It’s possible that Charlotte hasn’t made a web in your plants. To clean the leaves, spray the insecticide on them or soak them in water. Allow the plant to dry and then try again. Spider mites can be a formidable enemy, so make sure you keep an eye on them until they are eliminated.