How to Care for Christmas Cactus Indoors

christmas cactus care

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Christmas cacti are blooming just in time for the holidays (hence the name), and they’re pretty stunning as well. Hanging branches, made up of flat, shiny green segments, can grow up to 3 feet long. Flowers in red, white, yellow, pink, or purple appear at the ends of these branches and are up to 3 inches long with multiple levels of petals. Each Flowering lasts several days, and the entire flowering period of most cultivars will last for several weeks. But in order for these plants to stay beautiful, you need to follow all the necessary steps to properly care for Christmas cacti.

There are certain factors that can help – or hinder – the potential of your Christmas cactus. For example, this Brazilian coastal plant (also known as Schlumbergera) promotes wetter conditions than desert species. Additionally, it needs long periods of darkness before it can flower.

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With that said, here’s how to make sure that this festive plant continues to brighten up your home year after year.

What you will need

Before you start, stock up on these Christmas cactus care essentials.

How to take care of Christmas cacti

A lack of water and strong variations in temperature can cause flower buds to drop more quickly. Maximize the flowering time of your specimen by paying attention to these six key factors:

  • Ground: Use a quality soil rich in humus and other nutrients.
  • Temperature: Maintain an optimal climate of 65 degrees.
  • Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist while your plant is flowering, spraying it frequently.
  • Light: Place the cactus in an east-facing window for moderate light and some direct sunlight.
  • Fertilization: Apply a fertilizer rich in potassium every two weeks after buds have formed.
  • Transplantation: Repot your cactus every year after flowering.
    christmas cactus care

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    How to encourage more flowering

    Keep the plants cool (around 50 degrees) after they are flourishing period. Water them to keep the soil barely moist and be sure to retain the fertilizer. When new growth begins, use the following strategy to encourage flowering: House the plants in an environment with a temperature between 55 and 65 degrees, and alternate between giving them 10 hours of light and 14 hours of total darkness for four to six weeks after the growth appears. When the buds appear, introduce the plant to warmer temperatures and start a regular cultivation, as described above. The plants should flower in about six weeks.

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