When it comes to helping your Christmas cactus thrive, understanding its light needs is key. These festive plants have a unique preference for bright, indirect light.
In this guide, we’ll uncover the secrets to keeping your Christmas cactus happy and blooming with just the right amount of light.
Let’s get started!
Getting to know Christmas Light Cactus
Christmas Cactus, with its scientific name Schlumbergera truncate, is a plant under the family of Cactaceae. Although it uses the name cactus, the way it looks and is taken care of is different from the regular desert cactus.
Its physical appearance can be described as having flat stems and a flower with a striking resemblance to a cerise flower, often located around Northern Hemisphere.
It is also popularly known as Thanksgiving cactus, crab cactus, or holiday cactus, but the Christmas cactus is the most well-known.
The plant earned the name for itself due to its blooming season, which is at the same time as Christmas. Thus, it becomes a perfect gift during the holidays.
How Much Light Does My Christmas Cactus Need?
Now, if you are planning to get one for yourself, you must remember that just like any other plant, it needs to be taken care of. Your Christmas cactus can propagate within a month if you’ve done the right job.
Here’s a trick to know when dealing with it. To successfully propagate it, it both needs light and temperature. As mentioned above, this plant is similar to other types of plants that need to have light to survive.
Now for it to have flowers, it has a specific light requirement. On a cycle of 8 days, it should have a light of 8 hours each day and be kept in the dark for 16 hours. No matter where you placed your Christmas cactus, make sure that when it is a dark time, it should be dark. No light should be introduced to the plant. If this happens, the blooming cycle will be destroyed, leading to the plant having difficulty flowering.
Direct light vs Indirect light
As you have learned, the Christmas cactus needs a specific set of lights to survive. Here, you will know the difference between direct and indirect light.
Light can only be considered as a direct light when the light rays from the source directly hit the plants without any covering or filter.
On the other hand, indirect light is somehow the light that hits the plants with a medium or a filter. It can be a shade, a leaf, or other materials that slow down the direct hit of the light.
Now, there is another type of light that some plants need. It is called a partial shade. In simple terms, it refers to a type of plant that needs direct sunlight for a specific time and then becomes shaded for the rest of the day.
For example, some plants need at least 3 – 6 hours of light. Some areas can have this type of condition where during the morning, light comes visible and only sunny during that time but not the rest of the day.
Is Direct Light for Christmas Cactus?
It will be discussed here about its sources, benefits, and works to learn more about direct light. For starters, the main source of direct light is the sun.
So plants that are outside receiving direct light energy from it are considered plants that use direct light. Take note, it can be sunny outdoor but considered indirect light. The critical component as to how light is considered direct is when the rays from the source directly hit the plants.
For its benefits, sunlight is the optimal light perfect for growing plants as the wavelengths in there cannot be replicated by artificial light. Furthermore, it’s eco-friendly since it’s renewable energy and cost-efficient.
Now, for the important question, is direct light applicable to Christmas cactus? The answer is NO. Direct light is harmful to this type of plant.
Direct light cannot be controlled, and once it hits the leaves or the flowers, it can burn and destroy them. So avoid using this at all costs.
Indirect light: A lighting source for Christmas Cactus
On the contrary, as mentioned above, indirect lights are those lights received by plants with the help of a medium.
There are a lot of sources as to where you can get it. To name a few, these are sunlight, which passes through medium, moonlight, and LED Lights.
Indirect Lights have their fair share of benefits like adjustments and control for the strength of light energy plants receive, especially if plants need indirect light; cost-efficient as you may use the lights outside and inside the house as a source provided that it has a medium it can bounce of and perfect if you are creating indoor gardens.
This is the perfect type of light for Christmas Cactus to consider. They are inclined to survive using indirect light but make sure that it’s bright enough for them to receive the needed energy.
Christmas cactus: light exposure and its amount?
If you remember, the vital key for a Christmas Cactus to survive is temperature and sunlight.
As you now know, Christmas Cactus needs indirect but bright light.
No specific energy of measurement, but the cycle mentioned beforehand should be followed. For its temperature, it’s best if they are in a humid condition.
Learn to know the balance as exposing your plant to direct light can cause damage, and lack can cause difficulty growing.
Can a Christmas cactus live in a dark room?
Yes, and No. Christmas cactus needs at least 8 hours of indirect light and 16 hours of dark. It is ok for them to be placed in dark-shaded places provided that the lighting conditions are still met. Putting them in the dark without access to light is not advisable.
Choosing the Best spot for Christmas cactus at Home
Your Christmas Cactus can be put outside and inside the house provided that the conditions of light and temperature are met. For outside spots, it can be placed in the garden or on the porch, provided it is shaded and not hit by direct sunlight.
Now, the best place you can have them is inside. Specifically, you can place them near the window, kitchen, or bathroom. Just make sure that they receive indirect lights from these spaces.
How to know if the Christmas cactus getting enough light?
If you are worried that your cactus light may not get enough light, you can use these signs to check your plant.
Here are some things that you might notice if your plant is lacking light.
- The plant is experiencing etiolation.
- The plant is growing and reaching in the direction where light is coming from.
- The plant may be growing on one side than the other.
- The plant is weak and thinning.
- The plant experience some discoloration, and the roots rot.
If this happens, you need to help fix it by doing some of this.
- Trim the etiolated side.
- Find another place for them.
- Reposition now and then so sides can receive equal light.
- If indirect outdoor light is not enough (as the plant is placed near a window), you can reinforce it with indirect LED light.
Christmas cactus: A Light to be Shined
Christmas Cactus should receive a balance between light and dark to propagate and bloom. On average, it needs to have bright indirect light for a maximum of 8 hours. The rest of the day, it should be shaded or dark to avoid burning leaves.
Christmas cactus: A time in the dark
Since Christmas cactus should have at least 8 hours of light, the rest of the time, it should be in a cool, shaded, or dark area. During this time, it gives the plants the time to release their flower and enables blooming.
As you now read, there are many things you need to remember to take care of your Christmas Cactus. With this article, we hope we have given you enough knowledge, and with this Christmas cactus light requirement, you’ll be able to propagate and bloom the plant successfully.
Let’s conclude the post on Christmas Cactus Light Requirement!
If you already placed your Christmas Cactus near the window where it receives proper light as per this guide, then you are good.
However, on the contrary, if your Christmas Cactus faces too much direct sunlight or it is placed in the dark without any light, then you need to change its position to make it have better natural light for its proper growth and bloom.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post.