Gardening

6 Secrets For Making Your Christmas Cactus Flourish All Season Long

No green thumbs necessary!

Whether you’re a Christmas cactus novice or you want to ensure that your plant stays healthy and blooming as long as possible, these care tips should help you do just that!

The Christmas cactus is known for producing bright pink flowers around Christmastime. It has cascading green leaves, and it’ll practically overtake any pot you put it in. Even though it blooms only once a year, it’s important that you follow specific care instructions in the months leading up to that winter bloom.

It’s easier to know how to care for this particular type of cactus once you get a little background about how it exists in nature. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, this cactus differs from most cacti in that it doesn’t originate from an arid environment. Instead, it’s known for living in tree branches in Brazil. So, it prefers a humid climate and more water than most succulent plants.

With that information in mind, here are a few tips for keeping your Christmas cactus in tip-top shape:

1. Indirect Sunlight

Considering this plant thrives in a rainforest setting, it is accustomed to having a bit of a covering from the sunlight. Your plant will do best in a spot where it’s getting indirect light as opposed to direct sunlight during the day.

christmas cactus photo
Flickr | spablab

2. Temperature

Your plant doesn’t like much temperature fluctuation. It does best in a daytime temperature of about 70 degrees and a nighttime temperature of  60 to 65, according to The Farmer’s Almanac. So, if you typically keep your cactus outdoors, it’s best to bring it indoors if it drops below 70 during the day in the winter months.

christmas cactus photo
Flickr | RubyGoes

3. Watering

It’s important to keep your cactus well-watered. While you may let the top level of soil become dry, the soil should never be completely dry. That said, the plant should also never sit in water for long periods, either.

christmas cactus photo
Flickr | gurdonark

4. Dormancy

Keeping your plant alive is one thing, but getting it to bloom is another. Around October, you’ll want to move your plant to a place where it gets 12-14 hours of darkness to create a “dormant” period, which will promote bloom growth.

christmas cactus photo
Flickr | fishhawk

5. Fertilization

The springtime — aka post-flowering — is the time to fertilize the plant. You can continue to fertilize into the summer before gearing up for the plant’s dormant period in the fall.

christmas cactus photo
Flickr | Gail Frederick

6. Transplantation

Consider repotting your cactus after each flowering. If you’re also going to begin fertilizing after flowering, it would make sense to move your cactus to a bigger pot to promote even more growth just in time for spring!

christmas cactus photo
Flickr | InAweofGod'sCreation

With these tips for caring for your Christmas cactus before, during and after blooming, you should be on your way to enjoying a happy and healthy plant for years to come!