Christmas Cactus Water Requirements: Mastering the Basics

When it comes to nurturing your Christmas cactus, getting the watering just right is crucial. This guide will walk you through the simple steps to keep your holiday favorite healthy and thriving.

Let’s dive into the essentials of giving your Christmas cactus the perfect drink.

Christmas Cactus Water Requirements

How often to Water Christmas Cactus?

Christmas cactus is a flowering cactus that does well in cool forests. They are mostly available in Brazil in areas with frequent rainfall and humidity. 

When comparing the Christmas cactus to the other cactus species is the type of environment, they thrive in. Most Christmas Cacti do well in dry and sunny areas.

If you need the best Christmas cactus in your living area, whereby you need to water the cactus with water once a week.

Use the draining potting soil that has the best balance of moisture. The moisturized soil helps solve the issues of overwatering and underwatering.

Factors affecting the need for water in Christmas Cactus

Pot Type and size

A bigger pot will retain water for a longer period. A smaller pot will drain water faster. There are types of pots that can retain water depending on the type of material used to make the pot.

Type of Potting Soil

Soli like clay can absorb water for a long time. Sand does not absorb water. The type of soil will determine the frequency at which you need to water your Christmas cactus.

Surrounding Temperatures

There are seasons when temperatures change. During low temperatures, the Christmas cactus may need less water while during high temperatures, water drains fast thus watering frequently is essential.

Current Season

There are many seasons. During the winter season, water is retained for a longer period thus you do not need to water the Christmas cactus regularly. During summer, water is drained fast and plants need more water during the season.

Humidity. Most houses have low humidity. However, Christmas cactus need higher humidity for sustained growth.

How to tell if a Christmas cactus needs water?

1. When the leaves have some patches

The presence of patches on the leaves of your plant is a sign that your plant needs water. The loss of dark green colors is a result of dehydration.

2. Look out at the soil and feel the texture.

The texture of the soil tells if you need to hydrate the plant. When the soil is too dry, it is an indication that the plant has taken all the water available and probably needs more water. 

You can stick the fingers to the pot about 2-3 inches and if the soil is dry, add water to the pot. Moist soil shows that the plant is still hydrated.

3. Too much leaf drop

When a Christmas cactus needs water, the leaves start drooling. You need to be very observant so that this stage does not affect your plant too much and die.

4. The weight of the soil

When you lift the pot of the Christmas cactus, you can tell when it is dry and wet. Wet soil has more weight. Dry soil has a lighter weight. Wet soil is darker than dry soil. By observing the color of the soil, it will be easier to tell if the plant needs water.

Christmas cactus Signs of overwatering

1. Rotten roots

Too much water in the Christmas cactus pot might decay the roots. This is because the plant gets too much water than it can handle.

2. Brittle roots

When you put too much water on your plant, the roots are too soaked which might start making them weak. After a while, the roots will become brittle and finally, the roots will hold the plant long enough.

3. Soft and mushy stems

Water might end up making a plant soft and fragile. When water accumulates on your plant it goes from the roots to the stem making them too soft and mushy.

To solve overwatering issues, you need to reduce the amount of water and the frequency of watering your plant.

Signs which tell Christmas Cactus is Underwatered

1. When your plant turns yellow

When you notice that some body parts of your cactus or leaves are turning yellow, then you are under watering it. 

Underwatering makes your plant turn yellow because it cannot produce chlorophyll which is mainly caused by root damage as a result of drought.

2. Shriveling

Your Christmas cactus will shrink due to a lack of enough hydration. This is because the plant lacks enough water in the tissues.

3. Wilting

When your plant has a thin and upright posture, it starts to wilt when enough water supply is declined. The plant starts to soften and drop down because the tissues lack water to keep it firm.

4. Brown tips and edges on your cactus

If your plant is already grown, it has meatier tissues. 

Insufficient water on your Christmas cactus will slowly dry its edges and tips. The brown color is a sign of sunburn especially if you underwater the plant and leave it out in the sun.

5. Dry spot presence on the leaves

You might notice some brown spots on the leaves of your plant. This happens when there is too much heat and less water supply.

How to water a Christmas cactus?

When you own a Christmas cactus plant, you need to be very careful when it comes to watering. You should be keen to prevent overwatering and underwatering.

 When you do not provide enough water for the plant, the buds will drop and the plant might die.

When watering your Christmas cactus, add 2.5cm of water to the pot if the texture of the soil is dry. Water the plant, wait till of is dry then water it again. Avoid adding too much water to prevent the roots from rotting. Ensure that the soil is moist for sustainable growth.

As you water the plant, put enough water all over the plant. Before watering the plant again, check whether the top parts of the soil are dry. You need to change the watering schedule according to the seasons. During dry climate water the plant for 2 to 3 days. During humid or cold seasons water after one week.

Does Christmas cactus like to be misted?

When caring for a Christmas cactus, you should avoid overwatering the plant. It is advisable to mist the plant. You need to get a spray bottle that will help you in the measurement of a good amount of water. 

The time that you need to water the plant as a whole is when you notice that the soil is too dry. It is best to mist your plant in the morning and evening. 

As you mist, cover all parts of the leaves up and bottom. To gain dew. The dew will ensure that the plant stays humid at all times.

Should I water my Christmas cactus from top to bottom?

Owning a Christmas cactus plant needs low maintenance. The plant does not need too much water or special conditions to thrive. 

When watering the plant, start from the base and pour water directly into the soil. Ensure that the roots get enough water which will be shared with to rest parts of the plant. 

After a thorough watering, ensure that the soil is moist. Afterward, you can mist the plant daily. 

This makes sure that the plant is well hydrated. Misting is necessary on the top parts of the plant, especially the leaves. 

Watering of the plant can be done once or twice a week depending on the weather or temperatures.

How long can a Christmas cactus go without water?

You need to ensure that your plant never runs dry to prevent it from losing leaves and dying. After every two days, feel the texture of the plant to ensure that it remains moist. 

The good thing about Christmas cactus plants is that they can tolerate drought for a little time. A Christmas cactus plant can go for around two weeks without water. 

The plant will only stay this long without water if it is maintained in an area that does not air current. In addition, ensure that the air is not too dry to prevent the plant from dehydrating.

Should I water my Christmas cactus when it has buds?

When your plant’s buds develop, the most stressing thing is to see them drop off. You should continue watering your plant even during the budding stage. 

However, you need to be careful with the amount of water. Overwatering can lead to dropping off the buds. 

During the budding season, add less amount of water to your plant and more fertilizer. Place the pot in an area with the right amount of sunlight.

When to Stop Watering Christmas cactus?

When October comes, it’s time to stop watering your Christmas cactus. This is your time to wait and rest from the watering duties. When November comes, you can resume watering the plant lightly. 

If you live in a dry area, you can add moist pebbles. The watering schedule helps you plan to prepare for blooming around Christmas. 

You should stop watering the plant after blooming. Stop the watering process for around 6 weeks. This gives your plant space to rest.


Let’s conclude the post on Christmas Cactus Water Requirement!

I tried covering in-depth on watering frequency, watering process, and all you need to know in this guide. I hope you enjoyed reading this post.

Was this Page helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!