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Caring for a Christmas Cactus


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 355 Posts
November 8, 2019

Watching My Christmas Cactus Grow - closeup of red cactus flowerI have been growing Christmas cactus for years! I think they are the most fascinating plants to watch blooming. All my plants originate from the first plant I had. I then rooted pieces and grew new plants. That is why they are all the same color blooms. My cactus bloom 3 times a year.

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Watching My Christmas Cactus Grow
 
Watching My Christmas Cactus Grow
 
Watching My Christmas Cactus Grow
 
Watching My Christmas Cactus Grow
 
Watching My Christmas Cactus Grow
 
Watching My Christmas Cactus Grow
 
Watching My Christmas Cactus Grow
 
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15 Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

February 1, 2011

I got my mother's Christmas plant just after she pasted away in March of 2010. The plant was doing great until I got it. I water it about once a week and give it plant food about once a month (Miracle Gro 24-8-16). Can someone help me with my dying cactus? If I am using the wrong plant food can I run it under water continuously to get the remaining plant food out? Please can you tell me what I should do. Thank you very much.

By duane

Answers


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 167 Feedbacks
February 1, 20113 found this helpful
Best Answer

When I had a cactus plant, I used cactus food for it, rather than Miracle-Gro. I don't know if it's available everywhere, at the time, I lived in the desert Southwest, but it should be available online, if worse comes to worst.

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I would also guess that you're really over watering your cactus. These plants are made to survive in the dry desert climate, there's only a "monsoon season" once a year, and some rain in the valleys if it snows heavily in the mountains. I hope someone else here will have more specific advice, but for the time being, stop watering the cactus. Then find out how much you really should water it, by researching online, or calling garden centers that sell cacti.

Hopefully, once you stop over watering the plant, and give it plant-specific nutrition, it will perk up and be healthy again. I can see why the plant is so important to you. I'm very sorry to hear of your loss.

 
February 2, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you can repot your Christmas cacti as I think you will find you have over watered it and the roots are probably starting to rot , pot it up again with new compost. Then leave it for a while about a month and then only a little, as already has been said Christmas cacti or any cacti for that matter only need watering infrequently! my inlaws always watered theirs with cold tea now and again.

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In the spring when the weather warms up a bit I put mine outside in a shady spot and virtually forget about it until autumn then I bring it in and you will soon see buds forming, but once again neglect it it will repay you by flowering a couple of times, it is natural for them to have a long resting period before they flower again.

 
February 2, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

Cut some of the arms off of the plant and place in a clear glass jar in a sunny location. They will start to root this way and you will be able to start a new plant (or a lot of new plants!). The advise given was on-spot: these are cactus and only require a bit of water every-so-often.

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I got mine from cuttings where the summer temp was 100 or so, ours is closer to 70. It's a great plant and should bloom for you year after year. I am sorry for the loss of your Mother. I know that this is an important plant for you to tend.

 
February 4, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I understand about having your mom's plant now that she's gone. I did the same thing after my mom passed away. With a Christmas cactus, as with any succulent or cactus, less is more. Don't water it unless it thoroughly dries out in between watering and then only enough to moisten the soil. And stop feeding it so often, too...they really thrive on neglect.

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I've had one for over five years that blooms profusely every year and sometimes I've forgotten to water it for a couple weeks at a time and I've never fed it. And I'd take the advice of putting it in a new pot and getting rid of all the soaked potting soil, too. Don't give up, I think your cactus will be just fine. :-)

 
February 4, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have a Christmas cactus that I got as a one-stalk cutting from my sister-in-law. I took it home and stuck it into a glass of water until roots grew. I planted it into some cactus-type soil and it grew. That was thirty five years ago! It grew because I forgot about it, sometimes only watering it once a month, if then.

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It has been re-potted only twice in 35 years. This year was the first year that it had a profusion of blooms. Last year I moved it to a west window that gets lots of light and sun. I guess it likes it there!

 
 
Anonymous
April 20, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Most people tend to over water them. These cacti are more of a forest type of plant, rather than a desert plant, but they like for the soil to be dry between waterings. Use plant food sparingly, about 1/4 tsp per gallon of water. They also like the summers outdoors in shade and the winters indoors in a dark area, a closet? Once removed from the dark area they will bloom. Continue watering as before. They require some unique techniques but the results are spectacular! Just don't over water them. As for removing the excess fertilizer, set the pot in the sink with the stopper in. Fill the sink to the level of the top of the pot with cool water (only) and let it set for about an hour. Then let the water down and let it sit for another hour, or until no more water runs out the bottom of the pot. Place the plant back in it's usual spot. I had to do this when I lived in So. California, due to the high salt level in the water there. It was necessary for ALL my indoor plants. Don't place the plant in direct sunlight; being a forest plant it likes bright but filtered light. You can read the results of many others here and elsewhere. Good luck and enjoy it!

 
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March 25, 2010

My Christmas cactus blooms, but is not growing taller or fuller. It is just staying the same size. How can I increase plant growth? What kind of fertilizer should I use?

Hardiness Zone: 6b

By gayle from Rochester, NY

Answers

March 30, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

Repot the cactus into a larger pot.

 

Silver Post Medal for All Time! 288 Posts
April 1, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use Schultz 10-15-10 Plant food plus. It is liquid, I mix about a Gal of water to 14 DROPS of the plant food. Water plants about every 2-3 weeks. Don't over water. GG Vi

 
October 8, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use Miracle Gro liquid fertilizer on my Christmas Cactus about once a month and not too much. I mix up a Tbsp. in a gallon of water and just put a small amount on each plant.

 
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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 157 Feedbacks
January 13, 2020

I was just wondering if anyone has any idea why the blooms on my 2 Christmas cacti have been weedy and droopy for the last two years. The year before they fell off too; the foliage looks fine. Before this, they had a lovely display.

Thanks in advance!

Answers


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
January 13, 20201 found this helpful
Best Answer

Drooping is usually when the plant isn't getting enough sun. They seem to do best in direct morning sun. Don't over water. The soil should be moist and watering done once a week for optimal flowers.

 

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
January 13, 20201 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you have not changed the soil in the pots they are in I would suggest that you do this one. A lot of times a plant is in the same soil for too long and needs new soil in order to grow and produce flowers. Try this and see if it helps. A little larger pot is also a good idea because a lot of times plants outgrow the pots they are planted in.

 
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November 13, 2017

What causes Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus to sprout roots between leaf segments?


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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 433 Posts
November 14, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

In their natural habitat, they grow on rocks and trees. Their aerial roots help the plant cling to its host. These roots help the plant reach for water and sunlight.

 

Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 131 Feedbacks
November 19, 20170 found this helpful
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The aerial roots of the Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera) appear when the plant is already a few years old. It is the signal that the root system of the plant is too old or failing because the roots may be dried or rotten. It is time to start breaking some of this segments with their aerial roots and to plant them in a new pot. The next step is usually that the leaves will become soft. In any case, do not water, do not fertilize, it is just that the plant is not getting enough "food" from its own roots and if the roots are already dried or are dying, they will not be able to transmit the water or the nutrients to the plant, they will rot and could rot the base of the plant.

 
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August 23, 2010

After many years of regular blooming and growth my Christmas cactus has turned purple and droopy. It is in a large hanging pot in full shade and has done well for 6 years. What could be wrong?

By Irwin Friedman from Paso Robles, CA

Answers

September 9, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Too much water, roots being bound or poor drainage. Take some of the root from the bottom of the plant off. Put your plant in a pail with a couple drops of dish soap and a touch of bleach. This removes dust, etc. Rinse and re-pot in new soil. The roots need room to travel in the pot. You would be amazed what this method does to a spider plant.

 
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December 2, 2009

My Christmas cactus has lots of blooms but they are falling off before they bloom.

Hardiness Zone: 7b

By debbie from Orangeburg, NY

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 520 Feedbacks
December 4, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Have you moved it? Even turned it round? They don't like that much. Happy Christmas. Marg from England.

 
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October 29, 2017

How do I care for a thin leaf hybrid Christmas cactus?


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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
October 30, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

They like bright, indirect light and they need humidity if it's dry. They need well-draining soil and container. Fertilize 2-4 times a year with 20-20-20 fertilizer. Do not over or under-water. Stop watering around October

If buds drop, increase humidity/light. Lower the temperature to get it to bloom. Keep the plant in a dark room at night.

 
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September 28, 2015

So I have been putting my Christmas cactus outside for a couple of years now in the spring and bring it in about now. It then blooms when I bring it in, too early for Christmas, but that is OK. So I go to bring it in now and it has already started blooming! So what do I do? If I bring it in it will kill the buds and I can't leave it out it will freeze!

Thank you!

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
October 26, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

In the last couple of years the weather in some areas has been changing. This has effected the blooming cycle of your cactus this year.

You will need to bring the cactus inside so it won't kill the plant during winter. This year you might lose a few bloom on the cactus, but it will save the life of your plant.

 
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December 18, 2013

What causes buds to fall off a Christmas cactus without opening?

By Billie B from Garland, TX

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 131 Feedbacks
December 24, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

The causes could be: turning the pot as the buds will try to bend to one side to receive more light and fall off, leaves with petiole can follow the light but buds have no petiole and will fall off.

Watering too soon. It is better to wait until the buds turn into flowers.

Or watering with cold water.

 
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September 23, 2012

My Christmas cactus is wilted and the leaves are really flat. It got too much water so I transplanted it into fresh dry soil.

By Cathy

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September 24, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Even though they are cactus, they still need some water. If you transplanted into completely dry soil, it's probably thirsty!

 
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March 25, 2010

How do I care for my Christmas Cactus? I have a Thanksgiving cactus that I have had for over 20 years, it is similar to a Christmas cactus.

 
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