Do you have a Christmas cactus plant? It is reputed for its colorful flowers, right? But I love it more for its easy care procedures. Christmas cactus care doesn’t require hard labor or much time!
The first and foremost thing about taking care of a Christmas cactus is to know that plant well!
So, for taking care of your cacti friend, it will be great if you know the following things-
- what it likes (weather, temperature)
- how it reacts to what conditions (seasons)
- what’s the time of its reproduction (flowering or blooming)
If you can make time, have a look first at the ‘profile’ of Christmas Cactus to know it well!
Then we will go to the most effective care tips for your Christmas cactus! I have also added solutions to the most common problems people face while growing Christmas Cactus. So, without any further intro, let’s sip to know your cactus friend well and ensure the best care!
Moderately Warm and Humid
21°C at daytime
15-18°C at night
|Flowering or Blooming season||
Late November-Late January
Short day period
|Best position in house/ Garden||East-facing, Any bright corner with indirect sunlight|
Now we are ready for the care tips. Let’s go down one by one…
Jump to the one you are looking for
- Keep attention to Weather (light & temperature)
- Provide appropriate soil mixture and fertilizer
- Maintain watering schedule
- Perfect pot size
- Right positioning
- Pruning timely
6 Best tips to care for a Christmas Cactus
Christmas cactus never demands much care. All you have to do is, give it a little attention and find out what it needs!
We have shortlisted the things that will help you in caring for your cactus, from potting to blooming!
1. Keep attention to Weather (light & temperature)
Christmas cactus wants bright but indirect sunlight. But that’s an overall idea only. It needs a little care in different stages of life.
- In the growing season, it loves warm weather. Indirect sunlight and moderate temperature are good for the growth of Christmas cacti. That’s where an extra concern about temperature can give you a far better result with your holiday cactus friend!
- Never expose it to direct sunlight in Summer. Exposure to direct sunlight will burn the sensitive leaf cells leading to severe damage. So be conscious about the placement of your favorite cactus.
- In the blooming season, keep it in a moderately humid condition. The flowering of Christmas cacti especially depends on low night temperatures.
- The most favorable temperature ranges from 15-18°C during the night period. (If your region is not providing it, you can easily make humid conditions for your houseplants yourself!)
- In the daylight, a temperature around 21°C is well considered. You can keep an eye on Google weather service. Never hesitate to move your cactus to a cooler place if it’s a warmer day.
2. Provide appropriate soil mixture and fertilizer
The best soil feature for Christmas Cactus is well-drainage capacity. The draining capacity is vital because-
- Well-draining soil prevents overwatering and consequently saves from several diseases e.g. root rot!
- Ensure proper air movement of your cactus.
You can either use commercially available potting soils or make them on your own! Do you know how to make it?
Well, Preparing soil for a Christmas cactus is quite an easy process. Just take regular potting soil and mix it well with sandy soil and well-decomposed organic matter.
One additional tip for you, while making your soil, You can add some ingredients to boost up your cactus soil. You must be trying to guess those ingredients. Let me help you!
Pertalite, Peat, and mixed fertilizers are some of the good options. These elements facilitate soil aeration, increase drainage capacity, and hold moisture. Aquarium gravels can also be a nice addition!
3. Maintain watering schedule
Daily watering is not a Christmas cactus demand. So, this plant will not bother you to provide water daily.
- When it is spring and summer, water every 1-2 weeks.
- After fall or winter comes, you need to water every 3-4 weeks.
For some people, it may be difficult to water their cacti following seasons. If you are one of them, then don’t worry! I have an easy hack to share that I have used and benefited from!
Well, it’s very easy to know when your cacti are ready to absorb water. You just need to observe whether the upper soil has completely dried out or not. In general, if you touch and feel dry top one-third of the soil, then it’s the right time. You can go and water your cacti!
4. Perfect pot size
The right pot size for Christmas cactus is small to medium sizes. A drain hole at the bottom of the pot is a must.
- You may know that Christmas Cactus prefers a slightly crowded root region. So a relatively small pot can go well.
- The roots of Christmas cacti like to be relatively dry. So you can see they do not prefer wet roots. Hence you need to make a way so that water does not accumulate at the bottom.
To help water leave your cacti pot, you must make at least one hole at the bottom. You can even buy pots with holes in the market.
5. Right positioning
We have talked about the weather, temperature, and seasons. Now where to place your Christmas Cactus in your house?
Well, you already know that Christmas Cactus wants bright but indirect light. So while placing your cacti, you must carefully choose a suitable corner. Let me help you with some tips!
- Look for a place where sunlight can not pass directly. Only the warmth of light reaches up there. Such a place will provide your cacti with both adequate and indirect sunlight.
- My advice will be an east-facing window or some other bright corner.
- You can also place your cacti on your reading table and make it look attractive. For that, the table must be located close to the window.
Unfortunately, if your window is south or west-facing, then your cacti are in trouble! A semi-transparent curtain is a solution in this situation. Use a curtain to prevent sunlight from touching the plant directly.
6. Pruning Christmas Cactus timely
Pruning i.e. cutting away the dead or overgrown branches of your cacti for getting a dense as well as bushier plant. You can also produce new plants by replanting those trimmed branches. In that case, take a longer cut of branches.
The perfect time for pruning your Christmas cactus starts just after blooming.
The reason is that a Christmas cactus enters a new growth period after blooming. As a result, the leaves, stems, and ultimately branches keep increasing. In this way, pruning becomes easier with more branches!
Now you know very well that you can prune anytime once the plant is done blooming. But remember, Never prune your cacti in the flowering season.
6 most common problems/questions with Christmas cactus
Here are the most asked questions about Christmas cacti from various community tabs. We have given brief but effective solutions. Hope it will make gardening easier for you!
1. Why are the leaves on my Christmas cactus limp?
There are three reasons for the limp leaves on your Christmas cactus-
- Excessive sunlight
Carefully observe your cacti and find out the matching cause. Now take the necessary steps according to the reason.
- If it’s overwatering, then stop pouring water until the plant absorbs all the existing water.
- In case of underwatering, hurry up and water your cacti. Providing sufficient water is the solution here.
- For the third one i.e. excessive sunlight, you have two options. First, move your cacti to another place with indirect light. Otherwise, simply use a curtain to control the sunlight!
2. Why did my Christmas cactus drop its flower buds?
If your happily blooming cacti suddenly drop their flower buds, then there may be one or more of the following reasons. Have a read and identify yours.
- Extreme temperature: Christmas cactus produces flower buds only at low temperatures. Hence if the extreme temperature is introduced in your budding cacti, then sadly they will drop their flower buds.
- Over-watering: Christmas cactus has a particular demand for water. If you offer more, diseases in stems and roots will occur.
Stem rot and root rot are two such frequent diseases that result from overwatering. These rots will prevent your cacti from absorbing water. Consequently, flower buds will start to drop.
- Insufficient light: Though buds are produced in response to longer nights, minimum daylight is also necessary. If the daylight period goes below the minimal range, then your cacti will sadly start dropping their buds.
However, there are some additional factors that can also cause bud drops. Some of these are low humidity, the spread of insects and pests, etc.
3. Are Christmas cactus toxic to cats?
No, Christmas Cactus is not toxic to cats. Neither the leaves nor the colorful flowers are toxic. So, if your beloved cat has accidentally eaten up any part of the cacti, do not panic!
But consuming a large part can be a reason to worry. Your pet may vomit or undergo diarrhea due to digestive failure.
4. Are Christmas cactus indoor or outdoor plants?
Christmas Cactus is more of an indoor plant. As it cannot tolerate direct sunlight, hence it’s considered better if you keep your cacti inside. But you can also place the cactus outdoors where the intensity of sunlight is relatively low.
5. How many times should I water my holiday cactus?
The best way to know when you should water your holiday cacti is here! By checking the soil surface of your cacti pot, you can find out the water requirement. How?
Well, the watering of cacti varies depending on seasons and placement. So, you can just simply check the upper soil surface whether it’s dry or not. When the upper one-third portion of the soil feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water your holiday cactus.
However, in case you place your holiday cacti inside, then
- If the weather is spring or summer, you should water every 1-2 weeks.
- If the weather is fall or winter, you should water every 3-4 weeks.
Anyway, if the environment is warm and dry enough, then you may need to water after 3-4 days. In case of dry weather, try to place your loving cacti inside if possible.
6. How much cold can a Christmas cactus take?
A Christmas cactus is an amazing cold-tolerant houseplant. It can survive in a very cool temperature ranging from 10 t0 20 C (50-60 F). But unfortunately, it can not tolerate freezing temperatures which is less than 50F. Keep this temperature note in mind. Otherwise, your favorite cacti may undergo severe damage due to extremely low temperatures.
Yearly schedule to Care for a Christmas Cactus
You will be glad to know that, a Christmas cactus can survive hundreds of years. If you want your cacti to live longer, then you need to become a caring cactus owner. There are some seasons throughout the year when your loving cactus demands special care from you. Let me prepare a yearly schedule to take care of your loving cactus.
Here you go!
The flowering period of the Christmas cactus ends at the beginning of spring. After flowering, your cacti will definitely need some essential nutrients and a resting period. So, keep watering timely and add some fertilizers to the soil. After absorbing those nutrients from the soil, your cacti will start growing actively again.
Hot summer days come with brighter sunlight. If you have placed your cacti inside, then it’s safe. In terms of placing outside, a shady corner is the safer corner.
Once the placement is secured, focus on watering and applying some fertilizers. As a result, nutrients will be absorbed and the growth of cactus will be continued.
However, at the end of summer, you can stop supplying fertilizers to stimulate flowering.
You already know that Christmas cactus cannot withstand freezing temperatures. So, you must be careful about maintaining the minimum temperature during this season. Do not forget to shift your cacti inside if snow starts falling. Also, be careful about watering so that the potting soil can retain enough moisture.
The short day cycle and low temperature in winter stimulate your cacti to start the flowering process. The continuous long night hours along with cooler weather for some days will finally initiate flowering in your cacti. Then the cacti will happily bloom from early winter to mid-winter.
In this season, the amount of watering will be less than in the other seasons. As the sunlight is not frequent in winter, manage a location for your cacti where they will get enough indirect sunlight.
That’s all for today. Let us know if you have further questions, in the comment box. We are looking for getting progress news of your Christmas cactus!