Whether you are a Gardener or a hobbyist and want to grow a Christmas Cactus in your home, then this is the right guide for you.
In this guide, you will find complete detail on everything you need to know how to care for Christmas Cactus and see it blooming in your home. It covers every detail from soil requirement, fertilizer, sun, temperature, tips for blooming and more regarding the common issues and fix for that.
After reading this, you will be easily be able to keep your Christmas Cactus growing in your home.
Let’s get started!
How to Care for Christmas Cactus Daily?
Taking care of Christmas Cactus daily is not a hard nut to crack. You can take care of your Christmas Cactus which is a succulent easily by keeping these things in mind.
- Put your Christmas cactus away from direct sunlight and keep it in a shady region. Make sure the spot gets a sufficient amount of indirect light and open air.
- A succulent should be away from heaters, exhaust fans and others that can heat-damage it.
- Make sure your plant gets enough water throughout the year. You can water it once a week in a hot climate and fortnightly in winter months to avoid over-watering. Check the moisture of the soil by putting your finger. If the top two inches feel dry then you can water it.
- Keep your plant pot in a dry spot so that the pot doesn’t soak water from below.
- While caring for a Christmas cactus, you should keep the temperature range in mind. 60-70 degree temperature with moderate humidity is right for the cactus but anything less or more than this level can prevent growth.
- Check for bugs and insects. If you find any of them, clean the plant well using tiny white cotton and slowly massage the whole infected area.
- You can shift the plant to a new pot if the existing one becomes too short or damaged for the cactus. Get a pot that has a drainage hole at the base so that the air can enter.
- The pot mix soil should be well-draining otherwise it may cause roots to rot.
- Feed your plant some fertilizer as it badly requires nutrients in the growing season.
- Prune few parts of the succulent. It will grow from the wounds.
Christmas Cactus Care
You can give the best care to your Christmas cactus by following the tips below. Try them and see how your beautiful plant blooms year after year.
- Water the plant regularly, making sure to avoid over-watering. A Christmas cactus typically requires watering about once a week, but the exact amount will depend on factors such as the plant’s size and the climate where it is growing.
- Keep the plant in a location with bright, indirect light. A Christmas cactus can tolerate low light levels, but it will bloom more if it receives plenty of light. Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to burn.
- Fertilize the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Avoid fertilizing during the winter, as the plant will be dormant at this time.
- Prune the plant as needed to maintain its shape and remove any dead or damaged stems.
- Check the plant regularly for signs of pests, such as aphids or spider mites, and treat as needed to keep the plant healthy.
Christmas Cactus Soil Requirements
A Christmas cactus requires the same kind of potting mix soil that other cactus and succulent requires to survive. The potting mix should be tight but not overly dense because this binds the roots together.
Such roots cannot absorb nutrients from the soil and can’t breathe in. The soil in the pot should be well-drained so that the water can drain properly. Succulent grows and blooms well in a wide range of pH levels of soil.
If the pH level of the soil is between 6.0 to 6.5 then it is considered optimal. Talking about the nutrient levels, the cactus can grow well in low-nutrient mix soil.
However, you can put some slow-release fertilizers in the soil so that it can have a steady supply of nutrients over time. If the potting mix of your plant is not well-draining, you can make it one by adding soil and sand in the right proportion.
You can also read this complete guide on the Christmas Cactus Soil Requirements to know more about it.
Christmas Cactus Water Requirements
The best part about Christmas cactus is that it doesn’t require water like other plants. So if you forget to water it for a day or two, it won’t do any harm.
However, this succulent does not behave like a desert cactus so you need to water it on a weekly basis. To water a Christmas cactus, you should check the potting soil to determine whether the plant needs watering or it can go for a few more days.
A Christmas cactus typically requires watering about once a week, but the exact amount will depend on factors such as the size of the plant and the climate which it is growing.
To check the soil, stick your finger into the soil to a depth of about an inch. If the soil feels dry to the touch, the plant needs watering. Water the plant thoroughly, but avoid over-watering.
To water the plant, use a watering can or other watering devices to apply water to the soil until it is evenly moistened.
Avoid watering the plant too frequently or too heavily, as this can cause the roots to rot. After watering the plant, make sure to allow the excess water to drain away from the pot. This will help prevent waterlogging, which can be harmful to the plant.
By following these steps, you can help ensure that your Christmas cactus receives the right amount of water to stay healthy and thrive. To know more about Christmas Cactus Water Requirements, you can read this post written by me.
You May Also Like to Read: Do Christmas Cactus Need More Water when Blooming?
Christmas Cactus Fertilizer Requirements
The fertilizer requirements for a Christmas cactus will vary depending on the particular plant and the conditions it is growing. In general, a Christmas cactus will benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season, which typically runs from spring to early fall.
During this time, you can fertilize the plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer, and apply it according to the instructions on the package.
A Christmas cactus will benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season, but it is important to choose a fertilizer that provides the right balance of nutrients. There are three types of fertilizers for Christmas Cactus.
Look for a fertilizer that is specifically formulated for cacti or succulents, or choose a general-purpose liquid fertilizer with a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).
If you cannot get a succulent fertilizer then you can go for a general-purpose liquid fertilizer which has an NPK ratio of 20-20-20.
There is another fertilizer known as all-purpose slow-release fertilizer which gives a steady boost of nutrients to your plant. Obviously, it will take longer to show the effect.
While applying the fertilizer you need to dilute it using water and then apply it throughout the base of the plant. Make sure the fertilizer does not touch its leaves and stems. Initially, keep the fertilizer quantity low and observe closely how it works.
If you come to know that the succulent is suffering from magnesium deficiency then only Epsom salt can come to the rescue. It contains a high amount of magnesium which works superbly for the plant.
Avoid fertilizing the plant during the winter, when it is dormant, as this can cause the plant to produce new growth that may be damaged by cold weather. It is also important to avoid over-fertilizing, as this can cause the plant to produce excessive foliage at the expense of flowers.
Here are some types of Fertilizers that you can also use for Christmas Cactus:
Christmas Cactus Temperature Requirements
The temperature requirements for a Christmas cactus will vary depending on the specific plant and the conditions it is growing.
In general, however, a Christmas cactus will thrive in a range of temperatures, as long as it is not exposed to extreme heat or cold. Here are some general guidelines for temperature requirements for a Christmas cactus:
- Optimal temperature range. A Christmas cactus will grow and bloom best in temperatures between 60-70°F (15-21°C). This is the temperature range that is most similar to the plant’s native habitat in the tropical forests of South America.
- Tolerance for lower temperatures. A Christmas cactus can tolerate lower temperatures, down to about 50°F (10°C). However, if the plant is exposed to temperatures below this for extended periods of time, it may go dormant and stop growing.
- Tolerance for higher temperatures. A Christmas cactus can also tolerate higher temperatures, up to about 80°F (27°C). However, if the plant is exposed to temperatures above this for extended periods of time, it may become stressed and stop blooming.
Overall, it is important to keep your Christmas cactus in a location where the temperature is within the optimal range, and avoid exposing the plant to extreme heat or cold. By doing so, you can help your plant thrive and provide you with beautiful blooms year after year.
Christmas Cactus Sun Requirements
Your Christmas cactus requires neither of too much or too less sunlight as both of them are harmful for its growth. Such succulents require 10 hours of full daylight and 12 to 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness to maintain their growth and to bloom.
If you live in a region where the weather keeps on changing frequently then there is nothing to worry about. The succulents are self-surviving and they know best to sustain in fast-changing environments.
Christmas succulent demands 70 degrees Fahrenheit in day time while the evening temperature of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit makes them feel cozy.
In other words, the plant can thrive to its maximum limit when they are in its native habitat or at least an environment that makes them feel so. If you can keep your cactus at a 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit temperature range then nothing can stop it from growing healthy with vibrant blooms.
The succulent grows and blooms best in bright and indirect light. This is why you should keep it in a shady area where it receives plenty of light but not directly.
Keeping it in the east or west-facing window is best because the intense sunlight in mid-day won’t reach there.
Note that the plant cannot survive in extremely low light. If you force it to do so, it will become compact and leggy, thereby losing its shape. If you don’t get indirect sunlight in any area of your home, then you can place it under artificial lights.
There are lots of artificial lights for succulents that mimic indirect sunlight. The number and position of these succulent lights will depend on your holiday cactus.
Last but not least, the cactus cannot bear extreme sunlight. If your plant is exposed to direct sunlight for a long time then it burns the leaves. As a result, the succulent looks pink or maroon and dull. Neglecting this may kill the plant.
Read More: Christmas Cactus Light Requirement
Tips for Blooming Christmas Cactus
If a Christmas cactus gets the best conditions then it starts blooming after about 18 months of its birth. The blooming flowers stay open for 6 days and they look beautiful red in color. The plant continues blooming flowers for a couple of weeks. Here are a few tips for blooming Christmas cactus…
- Reduce watering frequency in mid-October.
- Make sure the plant receives 12 to 14 hours of a completely dark environment at night.
- Once the buds are visible, shift the pot to a bright window where flowers can open within a few weeks.
- Stop fertilizing in the blooming season.
- Make sure the plant receives a comparatively low temperature of 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 6 to 8 weeks.
- Bring your Christmas cactus inside your home before the first frost to avoid freezing the plant.
Common Christmas Cactus Issues and Fix
Here are the common Christmas cactus issues and their quick fixes.
- Mealybugs may infect the cactus so you need to remove the infected areas and clean them using a moist cotton swab.
- When the Christmas cactus drops its blossoms, it indicates unfavorable environmental conditions like extreme temperature, high amount of light, nutrient deficiency and more. Try to give it the best environment.
- If you notice yellowing leaves, discolored stems, spotted leaves, wilted sections or anything unusual then the problem might be infection or soil. You can treat the infection using any insecticidal soap. Additionally, replace the existing soil with a fresh potting mix.
- Sometimes the color of the Christmas cactus changes into red, pink or close to purple. In this case, the sunlight may be the culprit so move your plant to the South or west-facing window. It should not get low or extremely high sunlight.
- When your succulent seems shrunken or compact in shape than earlier, it is asking for water. Mist the roots with water and wait for improvements.
Also, Explore these guides to fix Christmas Cactus Issues:
- Christmas Cactus Bugs
- Christmas Cactus Leaves Curling
- Christmas Cactus Wrinkled
- Leaves on Christmas Cactus Limp
- Christmas Cactus Wilting
- Christmas Cactus Splitting
- Christmas Cactus Dropping Leaves
- Christmas Cactus Dropping Buds
- Christmas Cactus turning Red/Maroon/Pink
- Christmas Cactus Turning Purple
Let’s conclude the post on how to care for Christmas Cactus!
I have written a lot of extensive guides like this one. Explore more on Christmas Cactus by finding other articles here.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found this helpful.
Anirban Saha is an Engineer with a specialization in Electronics and Communication. He is the Founder and Editor of mrplanter.com and also techbullish.com. Anirban loves plants and pursue gardening as a hobby for more than 10 years.