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Known by a fantastic and almost magic-like ability to bloom during holidays, the Christmas cactus blooms at its most during winter.
Being similar to succulents in terms of maintenance, it’s not a demanding one to take care of as long as you know what to do.
Here are some of the most common tips for all of you who are interested in growing a Christmas Cactus.
Find out how to water Christmas cactus, how to make Christmas Cactus bloom and much more.
Tips On Watering Christmas Cactus
“How to water Christmas cactus” comes as one of the burning questions for all those who own succulents or plants similar to them.
General rule goes like this – do not overwater or underwater it, both options are harmful to the plant.
Finding the balance between these two is the key to owning a healthy and happy plant. In addition to this, mist the leaves.
You can use a really simple trick to check whether it’s the right time to water your plant:
Check the top inch of the soil. If it’s dry, then you know that the time has come to water it.
Of course, no two plants grow in the same conditions, even if they are in the same house. Some of the aspects you should take into consideration when it comes to maintaining your Christmas Cactus is the time of the year and the climate.
Moreover, Christmas cactuses kept indoors require a different approach from those that are outdoors in a dry and hot climate.vWhen a plant grows in such conditions, you should water it every few days, particularly if it’s been in the sun.
A plant kept inside the house, where it’s humid and cool requires watering once every 2-3 weeks.
Moreover, if you want to stimulate flowering, you should water it less often during fall and winter.
There’s one important thing to mention regarding this plant. Even though it is called “cactus”, this one’s a tropical, not a desert plant. This means it doesn’t tolerate soil which is completely dry.
Overly dry soil results in buds dropping, and then the plant wilts. That’s why the simple test, feeling the soil with fingers, prevents this sad scenario from happening.
On the other hand, too much or too often watering leads to spots appearing on the leaves.
Related: How to care for Christmas Cactus?
The Importance of Humidity for a Strong Christmas Cactus
A Christmas cactus does the best when the environment is humid. The ideal level is around 50-60% and if you are close to that, your plant will grow fine.
However, if you live in a dry climate (referring both to indoors and outdoors), you need to make several adjustments.
A simple trick does the job – put a tray of water near the Christmas cactus, and it will naturally evaporate and create the desired humidity.
There’s another option as well. Take a dish, put gravel into it and pour water. Then place the Christmas Cactus onto it, making sure it is not in contact with the liquid. If that happens, the roots of the plant will rot easier.
Another way to maintain the needed humidity and freshness for your Christmas cactus is to mist it. Make sure it doesn’t turn into giving the plant a shower, but just a gentle sprinkle.
Christmas Cactus Blooming Cycle
If you let the plant act naturally, it will bloom at any time. However,
if you want to justify its name, there’s a certain procedure you need to follow in order to have those breath-taking flowers right during the holiday season.
We could call this procedure “sending the plant into dormancy and coaxing it out when the time comes”.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Reduce watering in mid-October. Quit fertilizing during this time and water just in cases when the soil is dry an inch below the surface.
- Keep it cool, around 12°C or 50 to 55 °F.
- Limit the light, particularly during the night. Keep it in indirect light during the day, but place it in total darkness at least 12 to 14 hours. Put it in the closet, for example, and cover it with a dark cloth for additional protection against the light. This procedure should last about six to eight weeks. This is when the budding starts.
- Once this happens, move the plant out of the dark and place it close to the window, where it’s bright. Mind the coldness and drafts, because they can harm the buds and cause them to drop.
- A couple of weeks from that point, around Christmas time, you should notice flowers opening. They remain open at least six days and continue blooming for about 4 to 6 weeks.
Related: How to Propagate Christmas Cactus