Christmas Cactus Care: Growing and Caring Procedure
With the approaching season of holidays, who doesn’t want to add bright beautiful colors to their home and garden? If you want to grow beautiful flowers either in your garden or a pot with little to no maintenance that blooms right when you need it to, Be it either the Christmas or Thanksgiving or easter cactus.
Here, let us discuss the ways to grow and take care of your perfect go-to decorative plant, the Christmas cactus
Check out quick timelapse of Christmas cactus
Christmas cactus is not an actual cactus that grows in the desert area. It is a beautiful succulent plant that can produce beautiful tubular flowers. These succulents are called Christmas cactus or Thanksgiving cactus because the flower blooms at the time of Christmas.
Christmas cactus is actually a tropical plant found mostly in Brazil. These beautiful house plants are easy to grow, care for, and propagate and given enough care and other requirements these can bloom up to even twice a year.
They produce beautiful flowers of different colors like pink, red, purple, salmon, and white. Various species of Christmas cactus bloom at different times of the year. These along with poinsettia and various other decorative plants can add a bright tone to your Christmas garden or even your house decoration.
Scientific name: Schlumbergera truncata
Types of Christmas cactus
1. Christmas Cacti– They bloom during the time of Christmas.
2. Thanksgiving Cacti– They bloom in late autumn.
3. Easter Cacti– They bloom during the time of Easter.
Where to grow Christmas cactus?
Christmas cactus is a beautiful household as well as an outdoor plant. So, you can plant it both inside your house in a pot or in your garden adding vibrant and beautiful color to it.
To get going you basically need to take care of these four things- humid condition, water system with good drainage, temperature, and indirect sunlight. If you can provide the plant with the above-mentioned requirements, you can grow this plant anywhere.
The tropical climate is a very favorable climate for this plant to grow. Direct sunlight and overwatering the plant may damage the health of the plant.
How to grow Christmas cactus?
Christmas cactus is very easy to grow and maintain. However, growing from seed can be very tricky and may require extensive knowledge regarding plant breeding. So it is better to grow new Christmas cactus from a leaf segment.
- For this, first of all, take a 5-10 cm leaf segment from the old Christmas cactus plant and Cut the leaf segment into 2-3 pieces from the leaf nodes. Plant all those pieces into a single pot.
- Use ceramic pot with holes at the bottom as they provide a good drainage system.
- Fill the pot with a good mixture of 50% garden soil followed by some amount of sand, compost manure, and peat moss to provide a good drainage system.
- Plant all the pieces of the leaf in the same pot. It will take about 2-3 weeks for the root and plant to develop completely. While planting the leaf segments make sure that there isn’t any flower attach to the leaves. If flowers are present then remove the flower as the growth of the plant becomes slow because of the flower.
- Place the pot near a bright sunny window for the healthy growth of the plant. After 2-3 weeks, you can shift the plant in the garden or another big pot.
- Christmas plant does not require much water so water the plant when the soil is completely dry.
How to care for Christmas cactus?
Selection of soil
For any kind of tropical plants, well drainage soil is very much important. In good drainage soil, all the water should be drained from the hole within 10 minutes. If you have a poor drainage system then you can improve the drainage system of the soil by mixing the garden soil with the rotten matter, compost manure, or peat moss. You can also add a little amount of river sand to your soil mixture.
For the proper growth of the Christmas cactus, it requires lots of indirect sunlight. These plants require 8 to 10 hours of indirect sunlight. Direct and bright sunlight may burn the leaf. Place the pot near a bright east-facing side of the window so that it can receive more sunlight. If you want to place it outdoor then put this plant in a shady area.
As Christmas cactus is a tropical plant so they require a tropical temperature of between 20-23°C during day time and the temperature of 15-18°C during night time. If the temperature goes below 15°C then you can also use artificial lights to maintain the temperature.
Like all other plants, Christmas cactus also need fertilizers for healthy development. You can use a proper mixture of liquid nitrogen fertilizer (20-20-20 or 20-10-20). When buds emerge, fertilize them every two weeks. Feeding them monthly from spring through summer will help ensure that around the holidays you get a stunning, total bloom.
There is a word cactus in this plant name but that does not mean that it didn’t require any water. It is a tropical plant so it requires a proper amount of water. To check when the plant requires water you can put your finger one inch deep in the soil and if you feel dryness then you can water the plant. Overwatering may damage the leaf and root of the plant.
Repotting and Pruning
It is better to re-pot and prune the plant once a year. The best time to repot or prune the plant is in spring or early summer. Never re-pot the plant at the time of blooming as the plant won’t get much time to settle in the new pot. For pruning, you can simply twist the segment and remove the section.
Problems related to Christmas cactus
- Overwatering of the plant may cause rotting of the root whereas less water may cause wilting. Too much amount of direct sunlight may also cause leaf burn and kill your plant.
- Blossom drop may occur if the plant didn’t get the required temperature, soil, humidity, water, sunlight, and darkness schedule. Also, any sort of plant stress or sudden climate change may cause a problem in the growth of the plant.
- Sometimes your Christmas cactus might be suffering from fungal diseases. At this time the infected part may turn black color. If such a situation occurs then you should remove that infected part or throw the plant and start over.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and gained some good information regarding the ways to grow and care for Christmas cactus. They are very easy to grow and care for. So, if you are looking to add a new beautiful indoor plant then the Christmas cactus will be a great choice.
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