Christmas cactus is a popular plant used as a holiday decoration and gift that may be subject to distress because of the plant’s natural growth patterns.
This can range from the Christmas Cactus dropping leaves, drooping, or severely curling, sometimes in clumps. The causes of this problem (among others) may be due to low light, water-logging, heat stress, or other reasons such as the plant being rooted in too much soil.
If your Christmas Cactus has just started dropping leaves, don’t worry and take each step in this guide as a checklist to check whether the conditions are met.
Let’s get started!
Why is my Christmas cactus dropping leaves?
Here are the reasons for your Christmas Cactus leaf drop issue:
1. Watering Issues
The Christmas cactus should be watered just enough so that the soil is not dry. If the roots are dried out, they will start to die.
Both Overwatering and Underwatering can cause leaves to drop. So, let’s explore them one by one.
The Christmas cactus should be watered just enough so that the soil is not dry. If the roots are dried out, they will start to die. This is a common reason for losing leaves.
Underwatering is a common cause of losing Christmas cactus leaves. If the soil stays too wet for too long, it will rot the roots and make them vulnerable to other problems as well such as fungus.
2. Pest Infestation
Pests are very common for Christmas cactus plants. Although the plant is typically pest-free, infestations can occur and develop quickly.
This is a common reason for losing leaves, especially in younger plants. Some pests like ants will stop the tree from growing new leaves.
3. Low Humidity
Low humidity is a common reason for losing Christmas cactus leaves. Lower temperatures and air circulation may cause damage to the plant.
4. Soggy Soil
This is not a common reason for losing Christmas cactus leaves, but it is still important to note.
Soggy soil can cause the roots to rot, especially if the soil stays too wet for too long. This type of damage may occur if plants are left in standing water after watering.
5. Poor Quality Water
Water quality varies from city to city. Some areas may have high concentrations of fluoride in the water, or the water may be hard because it contains a large number of minerals like calcium or magnesium.
Plant roots need good quality water to stay healthy and produce well-formed leaves, flowers, and fruits.
6. Root Rot Issue
Another common reason for losing Christmas cactus leaves is root rot. This occurs when a plant has been over-watered and the roots become waterlogged or rot from an incorrect soil mix.
7. Improper Fertilization
If a Christmas cactus is fertilized incorrectly, it will stop growing new leaves. Usually, it will only affect the oldest leaves on the plant, but sometimes all of the leaves will fall off.
8. Unfavorable Temperatures
This is a common reason for losing Christmas cactus leaves. If a plant is exposed to extreme cold or hot temperatures (or both), it can lose its leaves and even die.
The younger the plant is, the more sensitive it is to temperature changes.
9. Low Light
Plants need light in order to make food through a process called photosynthesis. Young houseplants that are on their way to becoming healthy and strong can be injured or stressed by low light levels and lose their leaves as a result.
10. Wrong Pot/Planter
Christmas cactus should be placed in certain pots with a good amount of drainage provision for best results.
This is because some pots can have too much soil, roots will be unable to grow properly as well as being in the sun all day, or the pot might not provide enough drainage.
A Christmas cactus in a pot with too much soil or little drainage may mean that the plant will quickly die.
11. Wrong Soil Mix
This is a common reason for Christmas cactus dropping leaves. When the soil is too dry, it can crack and break the roots, which can cause the plant to die.
From time to time, it is good to add potting soil. The potting soil should be of a high quality so that it does not cause any damage to the plant and does not compact when you fill the pot with water.
How to prevent the dropping of leaves in the Christmas cactus?
The following tips can be used to prevent drops of leaves in the Christmas cactus:
1. Water and Humidity
If you see that the soil of your Christmas cactus is dry, then you can add water to the pot. If the soil of your Christmas cactus is too dry, then it is necessary to lower the amount of water added.
If there is no water in the pot, then rainwater can be added instead.
2. Proper Fertilization
If you fertilize the Christmas cactus, then you should do it at least twice a year. To fertilize the Christmas cactus, it is recommended to use a fertilizer that is apple-based.
You can use garden soil or organic material such as leaves as fertilizer.
3. Temperature control
The temperature in which your plant grows affects its health and well-being. Plants with lower temperatures have fewer leaves while plants with higher temperatures have an increase in leaves.
You can also lower the temperature in your home or office to keep the temperature more favorable for your Christmas cactus.
4. Clean Air
Plants need air to breathe in order to survive. You can control the air quality by opening a window and keeping it open during the winter months.
This is especially important for plants that are exposed to higher temperatures because they might not live through winters or experience feasting under cold conditions.
5. Careful handling
To be able to save the Christmas cactus, you have to handle it safely and carefully. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight in summer, winter, or spring because this can cause the browning of leaves.
Also, avoid dropping the Christmas cactus because this will damage the plant and cause it to die.
6. Avoid Pests and Disease
Avoid pests by keeping your house clean, staying away from cigarette smoke, and eating a balanced diet. Be careful of pest infestations in the Christmas cactus if they occur or may occur, especially if you do not know how to handle them.
Regularly inspect your Christmas cactus for pests and diseases such as aphids that can attack plants.
7. Proper Lighting
Plants need light to survive. You can make sure that your Christmas cactus gets enough light by placing it in a bright place during the daytime and by turning on the lights at night time.
From the above information, you can see that Christmas cactus leaves are very sensitive to many diseases and pests.
You should take note of when your Christmas cactus starts dropping its leaves.
In some cases, it may just be a minor matter, but in some cases, it may be a sign of an infection or pest infestation that needs to be addressed immediately.
You should also take note of how your plant is growing and if you notice any changes or not.
Let’s conclude the post on the Christmas Cactus Dropping Leaves!
So, as you came this far, you have known several steps which can help you with dropping leaves.
But, it is also worth noting that if the leaves are dropping in a very low amount, it’s nothing to worry and it’s natural to see that.
Just have these fixes as a checklist to check whether the present conditions for your Christmas Cactus are met. Fix one by one and check the progress of your Christmas Cactus.
If your Christmas Cactus has already experienced a heavy dropping of leaves, do visit a nearby nursery and take an opinion specific to your plant.
I hope you enjoyed reading the post.
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.