The Christmas cactus, (chlumbergera bridesii or Schlumbergera truncata), is actually not a cactus at all, but a member of the succulent family. Reigning from the tropics, this succulent needs specific and attentive care in order to bloom during Christmas time. Learn how to care for Christmas cactus in this easy to follow gardening guide and you'll have a beautiful, blooming plant just in time for the holidays!
Christmas Cactus Care:
#1. Keep in a Dark Place
For your Christmas cactus to bloom, it will need to be placed in a dark place for at least 4 weeks prior to the holiday season. Keep the plant covered or in a dark room for at least 12 hours a day.
#2. Bud Formation
Once you see tiny buds have started to form, you can then bring your Christmas cactus plant out for a few hours at a time. As the buds start to get even bigger, move the plant to its desired spot, but avoid extreme temperature or lightning changes.
#3. Watering & Feeding
While the buds are blooming, continue watering and feeds your Christmas cactus plant. Water only when the soil is completely dry and feed using a nitrogen-free fertilizer. Feed one last time in the season (October or November) to encourage Christmas blooming. Use about 1/2 teaspoon of liquid fertilizer, such as a 0-10-10 blend and do not fertilize once the plant begins to flower.
Yearly Christmas Cactus Care:
Spring: Fertilize after flowering has stopped.
Summer: Move the plant outdoors to a shady area. Water and fertilize regularly.
Fall: Move the plant indoors before frost sets in. Keep the soil dryer, and start the budding process in September.
Winter: Place the plant in a location where it will receive 4-6 hours of indirect sunlight. Be sure to keep soil moist and air semi-humid.
So now that you know how to care for Christmas cactus, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!
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HI! GREAT INFO FOR THE CHRISTMAS CACTUS! WHEN AND HOW DO I TAKE OFF THE SPENT FLOWERS?? THANK YOU!
You should remove the spent flowers as soon as they’re dead. To do that, simple pinch them off using your fingers. Additionally, it’s also good to prune your Christmas cactus right after it blooms. This is because during that time, the Christmas cactus enters a new growth period and will start putting out new leaves. Pruning it right after it blooms, will force the plant to branch out and produce new stems. Hope this helped 🙂
some instruction on pruning would be helpful. I have a plant that started as a cutting about 40 years ago. It has never been pruned.