Christmas Cactus Indoors – Beginner’s Care Guide
Christmas Cactus is a type of holiday cactus that is unlike the typical cacti found in deserts. Christmas Cactus is native to the coastal mountains of Brazil, so it loves a moist environment. The reason why it is called a Christmas Cactus is probably that it has red flowers which bloom around the Christmas season. In this article, we will tell you how to care for Christmas Cactus indoors to make them last longer.
Facts About Christmas Cactus
Scientific Name: Schlumbergera
Plant Type: Indoor Plant
Height: 6-12 inches
Different Varieties of Holiday Cactus
As Christmas Cactus is a holiday cactus, what are other varieties from this group? There are three types of Holiday Cactus. They are:
- Easter Cactus
- Thanksgiving Cactus
- Christmas Cactus
Difference Between Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Cactus
The only difference between the Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Cactus is the timing of their blooming season. Easter Cactus produces flowers from late February until the end of Spring, whereas Thanksgiving Cactus starts giving flowers in late fall. The Christmas Cactus starts blooming in the winter season until it ends.
How To Care For Christmas Cactus Indoors?
The care for Christmas Cactus indoors is easy. You do not have to take extra measures to make your Christmas cactus healthy and happy.
We all know cactus doesn’t require much water, and the same is the case with Christmas Cactus. Watering this plant once every 2-3 weeks is okay. You can water the plant when you feel that one-third of its soil has become dry. Experts recommend watering Christmas cactus from the bottom rather than on top.
Christmas Cactus should be put in bright indirect sunlight. As too much light can harm the leaves of this plant, it is better to put them in a place where they get a shadow from time to time too.SoilChristmas cactus grows well in almost all potting mixes. What makes the difference is the drainage system of the soil. Choose well-draining soil.
In the blooming season of Christmas Cactus, it is best to fertilize them once a month in winter. During Spring to autumn, you can fertilize them with a balanced houseplant fertilizer once in two weeks.
As Christmas Cactus is a tropical plant, a temperature between 70°F-80°F seems best. In the evening, the plant must have a temperature between 60°F-65°F if you want it to grow properly.
Repotting the Christmas Cactus is extremely easy. It would be best if you chose a pot with holes in the bottom so the extra water can drain well. Make sure to repot the plant in the evening and not expose its roots for too long.
How To Propagate Christmas Cactus?
The propagation of Christmas Cactus is fairly easy. All you need to do is cut an undamaged tip of the stem of the already-grown Christmas plant. Put soil in a pot, preferably peat or sand mix, and plant the tip inside it. Water the soil thoroughly. It will take some days for the stem to regrow. Until then, provide the plant with favorable conditions to grow.
How To Get Your Christmas Cactus To Bloom Indoors?
The temperature and light are important factors in getting the Christmas Cactus to bloom. Christmas Cactus need a cool environment where they can grow flowers. But that’s not all, because as much as it needs light, it needs dark too for blooming. Move your plant to where it can get 14-16 hours of darkness and about 8-10 hours of light daily. That’s how the Cactus Plant will start producing buds in its growing season.
Common Problems With Christmas Cactus
That’s the common issue new Christmas Plant owners face. If your Christmas Cactus is not flowering even if the whole plant is growing just fine, it is because you are not giving the plant enough darkness. As Christmas Cactus is native to Brazil, it has evaluated itself according to that environment. Christmas Cactus need 14-16 hours of no light during their flowering season. So you must place it somewhere where it can get just that.
Leaves Turning Brown
If the leaves of your Christmas Cactus are turning brown, the reason is overwatering and root rot. Checking in with your watering habits is easy, so look to see if you are watering Christmas cacti right. Remember to water the plant only if one-third of the soil has dried.
Another reason is root rot. The solution to root rot is repotting the plant. When you take out the Christmas Cactus, cut the roots damaged by root rot. Then prepare the new pot for the plant by adding a good soil mix and moistening it with water. Plant the Christmas Cactus inside and tap the soil’s surface until it is even. Now water the plant until the Christmas Cactus grows again and gives new green leaves.
Leaves Turning Pink
This is also one of the common problems with Christmas Cactus. The leaves start turning pink, and you have no idea why. However, the reason is more shocking than you think. The leaves of Christmas Cactus start turning pink when they are not getting enough water or when they are exposed to bring direct light.
Make sure you put your Christmas Cactus in bright but indirect light only for a few hours of the day in winter. They also need darkness to bloom, so you should keep this in mind. Regarding the issue with underwatering, you need to know your plant’s requirements. Christmas Cactus need watering two to three times a month in winter, but if the soil is getting dried frequently, you should try to increase the watering routine.
Overwatering is the main problem of Christmas Cactus. As it belongs to the group of cacti, it doesn’t need much water, but sometimes people tend to overwater the plant, resulting in root rot, browning of leaves, limping off the plant, and wilting of leaves and flowers. To avoid these situations, you need to keep a check on watering habits. You can check whether your plant needs water by putting your pointer finger inside the soil. If you feel the lower section of the soil is dry, it needs water; if not, leave the plant as it is.
Common Christmas Cactus Pests
It is a fungus that is common on Christmas Cactus and leaves a white-grayish mold on the leaves. It can harm the leaves as well as the stems of Christmas Cactus. The only solution to stop their growth is by destroying the plant so this fungus doesn’t get on any other plant.
Mealy Bugs are common houseplant pests that can get on your Christmas Cactus from outside or other plants in your houseplant. They can seriously harm the leaves of your plant. To get rid of mealy bugs, you must know to wash your plant thoroughly under the sink and then spray rubbing alcohol or neem oil on the plants. If the mealy bugs have affected the roots of the Christmas Cactus badly, propagate the plant.
In this article, we told you everything you needed to know about plant care for Christmas Cactus indoors. Now, you are also aware of the common problems with this plant and what measures you can take to solve those problems.
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