How To Care For A Christmas Cactus
Caring for the beautiful Christmas Cactus
Second only to the Poinsettia in popluarity at Christmas time is the Christmas Cactus. It's beautiful green foliage next to a bounty of beautiful flowers is absolutely breathtaking. The flowers range in color from pink, red, salmon, yellow white, fuchsia and combinations of all the colors.
I am not a "green thumb " nor do I profess to be a plant expert but I can tell you that I have had a Christmas Cactus for several years and I haven't killed it yet. I love plants in my house but most times I bring them home and they are dead by the end of the week. As you can imagine, I get teased a lot by family and friends.
This lens has tips on caring for your Christmas Cactus so that it may be around for years to come. The picture here is my Christmas Cactus which is 8 years old this Christmas. Isn't it beautiful?
Selecting a Location for your Christmas Cactus
The Christmas Cactus is native to South American where it grows attached to trees in the jungle. Which is even more amazing that my Christmas Cactus is thriving and I live in Michigan where the winters get downright cold!
I received my Christmas Cactus from my neighbor several years ago. It was just a little guy in a small little pot, a lot like the one pictured here. There were no instructions attached and the only place available to put my new Christmas Cactus was in a North window. And, to my amazement it thrived. It was flowering when I received it and the flowers lasted several weeks. I fell in love with that little plant.
When you bring your Christmas Cactus home select a North or North East facing window with plenty of light. If that is not available to you select a window with filtered light. The Christmas Cactus does not do well in direct sunlight and it's foliage will fade.
Book on Houseplants
Steps to make your Christmas Cactus Bloom
Your Christmas Cactus blooming period is from November through January. After the blooming period the Christmas Cactus goes into a dormant period during the months of February and March. During this time water the Christmas Cactus occasionally.
During April and May you should water the plant thoroughly when the soil feels dry to the touch.
June through August set your Christmas Cactus outside in a shady spot. I place mine on North faced covered porch during the summer months. It gets indirect sunlight all day and cooler temps in the evening. This is when my plant grows about 3 to 4 inches. During this time I water the plant once a week as you would most houseplants. You know, the ones I seem to kill.
Once September is here the Christmas Cactus comes back inside the house. Keep your plant on the dryish side and cool until buds begin to form. I am always surprised to see those cute little nubbins on the ends of the foliage. I know my plant will be in all its glory very soon. Once the buds form increase watering (don't drown your plant) and provide warmer temperatures.
While your Christmas Cactus is flowering water on a regular basis but again, do not overwater and drown your plant. It is better to forget to water once in a while as this plant can tolerate dry spells because it stores water in its leaves.
When & How to repot your Christmas Cactus
The Christmas Cactus loves to live in cramped conditions. But you must repot your beautiful Christmas Cactus because the soil gets depleted of it's nutrients.
Every 2 to 3 years repot your Christmas Cactus. Use well drained soil like cactus soil or you can make your own mix using this recipe:
1 part pottinig soil
1 part perlite
2 parts peat moss
I hope you have great success with your Christmas Cactus and can enjoy it for years to come.