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Saving an Underwatered Christmas Cactus?

I stopped watering my Christmas cactus for a long time (a couple of months?) and now the leaves are dark red and it isn't growing. Is there any hope that it is still alive?

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July 26, 20181 found this helpful

That has happened with me - one gets pushed behind something and gets dried out.
I generally take my pot, place it in a bowl that will hold water about half way up the cactus pot and set it in my kitchen sink. Add plain water and let the plant soak up water for an hour or so. Just place in sink if it is a large pot.

Trim about one-half of the "leaves" or more if very long and let pot drain for a while after soaking. Set aside and hope for the best.

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It will come back if you have not missed it too long. I try misting my cactus as much as watering and an ice cube once in a while is good also.

Sometimes I take the cut off leaves, place on top of wet soil and put a light layer of soil over the cut ends and many times I am lucky and get startings from these.

I feel sure there are many ways to try and save your plant so maybe you experiment with different methods.

Good luck - I love my Christmas cactus.

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August 21, 20181 found this helpful

Its alive!!! Thanks to your comments about soaking it in the bowl of water, after only a few weeks I started to see tiny leaf buds where I cut off the red foliage! Thank you so much (to everyone) for your encouragement. Ill never neglect it again!

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July 26, 20181 found this helpful

Water it and put it in a plastic bag. Blow some air into it and seal it up. It will get much-needed moisture.

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July 26, 20181 found this helpful

Cactuses are hard to kill and it does take a lot to kill one. I think you still have hope to save it now if you start taking good care of it. This will require you to get the roots good and wet. You can try soaking the roots with your garden hose, but the best bet is to place the pot in a watering try or drip try.

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You'll need to soak the plant and wet it as much as possible. Set it in the try and fill the tray with water. The roots of the plant will drink the water from the tray. Just keep filling the try with water.

You'll also need to trim all the dead leaves off the plant to help it grow new leaves.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
July 31, 20180 found this helpful

cactii are pretty forgiving so i would expect that only after a few months it will still come back if you rehabiitate it

when you think about what they have to put up with in the desrt it makes sense they'd come back

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