5 Facts on Taking Care of a Christmas Cactus ...

With Christmas just finishing up, I’m sure there were quite a few Christmas cacti given as gifts. These plants are known by many other names as well, but are a common present for people to give to plant lovers during the holidays. If you recently received one of these lovely plants, then you might benefit from the 5 facts on taking care of a Christmas cactus that I’ve provided below.

5. It’s a Cactus Only by Name, Don’t Forget to Water It!

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This plant is actually more of a succulent than a cactus. It does require a bit more water than cacti do, but don’t try to overcompensate. You are still able to overwater this plant. Check the soil at least once a week. Water it if the soil feels dry and/or crumbly.

4. These ‘cacti’ Don’t like Direct Sunlight

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Again, the name of this plant implores you to think that it absolutely loves the sun. The Christmas cactus does like lots of indirect light and even some morning sun. However, if you place this plant in full sun and allow the intense rays to beat down on it for too long, you’ll end up with a dead plant.

3. Temperatures Should Be Cool during the Months of September and October

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If you want your Christmas cactus to bloom by the holidays, then you need to make sure it is placed in a room where the temperature is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temp drops a bit below this mark, that is alright too, just as long as the temperature doesn’t reach the point of freezing.

2. Placing Your Christmas Cactus in the Dark at Night Will Help It Bloom on Time

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Indirect light during the day and between 12 to 14 hours of complete darkness at night is necessary for getting this plant to bloom at the right time. This is very similar to what it takes for a Poinsettia to be able to bloom. Since the plant is getting less light, this means you can ease up on the amount of water you are providing it as well.

1. Allow Your Plant a 30-day Rest after Blooming

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Once your Christmas cactus has finished blooming, it’s time to allow it to rest for about a month. Take it to a cool, dark room and give it very little water. After this rest period, move it back to a room with indirect light and water it whenever it becomes dry.

I hope these care facts help you to get your Christmas cactus to thrive and produce many brilliant blooms for you next Christmas. These are excellent houseplants and I have yet to accidentally kill one, which is a very good sign! Did you receive your plant from a friend who bought it in a store or is it a young plant that was started from a much older one?

Top Photo Credit: Linda Griggs

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