Along with pine trees and poinsettias, the Christmas cactus is one of the most popular winter plants in the Norfolk Islands. Although the Christmas cactus, also known as Christmas cactus, may seem like an unusual holiday plant, it blooms profusely, making it a welcome sight in the middle of winter. The plant’s fleshy, segmented stems have flattened leaves and are slightly serrated on each side. Tubular flowers bloom at the ends of each stem in late fall or early winter.
All varieties of a Christmas cactus are native to the Brazilian rainforest and can be planted indoors all year round as a houseplant until you can transplant it or move it outdoors in the summer. With proper care, your cactus should grow quickly and bloom at the start of each winter.
Christmas cactus care
Caring for a Christmas cactus is a little more difficult than most other desert-loving cacti that are drought-resistant. The Christmas cactus comes from the tropical rainforest and requires regular water to stay healthy. The flattened leaves are stem segments that hang and drape on containers and hanging baskets. Flowers form at the ends of the stems – the more stems your plant has, the more flowers it will have. Traditionally, the cactus blooms red, but it can also produce flowers in pink, white, magenta or purple, or in the rarer colors of salmon, peach and orange.
To encourage more stems, grow your Christmas cactus as a hanging plant or place it in a spot where it has room for draping. You don’t have to worry about touching the thorny spikes like you do with other cactus species.
Plant Christmas cactus
The best pots for cacti are terracotta or clay pots. These pots are porous and drain water away from plants that could be damaged by overwatering. The pot should have plenty of drainage holes or a large one at the bottom.
When repotting, choose a container that is only 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than the current one. A larger pot can retain too much moisture or encourage insects and plant diseases.
A Christmas cactus likes sun or shade, but you have to be careful not to give it too much of it. Holiday cacti prefer partial shade or diffused light, although they can adapt to other conditions. If you are going to expose them to full sunlight, make sure it is during the winter months. Too much sunlight in spring and summer can cause the plant to turn pale and yellow.
FlooSoil is not a major factor for the Christmas cactus; It is adaptable to most soil conditions and grows naturally as an epiphyte in its native region. They thrive in loamy, sandy, perlite, cactus mix or all-purpose potting soil. To achieve optimal growth, it prefers a pH between 5.5 and 6.2; Peat moss is a helpful additive for a more acidic environment.
Despite being a cactus, this plant requires more water than most due to its tropical origins. Water the plant thoroughly and allow excess water to drain through the drainage holes. Allow the soil to dry almost completely between waterings. You can tell if the soil is too dry if the leaves begin to curl and shrivel.
Water the plant two to three times per week in a hot, sunny summer. If the plant is in a sunny window in winter, it may need water once a week. To check the moisture level, insert your finger 2 inches into the soil. If it feels dry, water thoroughly. If you keep the plant in a cooler location away from a window during the winter, it may only need water every two to three weeks.
Temperature and humidity
The Christmas cactus needs sufficient humidity, especially if it grows in dry, heated houses in winter. Either mist the plant with water or place a pebble tray filled with water under the pot to increase the humidity.
The Christmas cactus is a bit picky when it comes to temperature. During its peak growing months (April to September), it prefers mild temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Once buds have formed, low night temperatures (between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit) and at least 13 hours of darkness are required to form buds that will bloom. Keep it away from heating vents, frequently opened doors and drafty windows. This plant does not like sudden drafts or temperature changes and will drop its buds or flowers if unhappy