Christmas cacti are definitely among the least understood houseplants. They have a bad reputation for being difficult to flower or for flowering at the wrong time.
However, once their secret is discovered, these wonderful plants will produce colorful flowers every year.
Although it is a succulent plant, the care that the Christmas cactus needs is more reminiscent of a tropical plant. Native to Brazil, it grows in humid, tropical undergrowth.
Light and temperature
Christmas cacti need lots of indirect light. They need a mild temperature, never cold, ideally between 15 and 23 degrees.
You can also keep it outside if you live somewhere that doesn’t have very cold winters. If you decide to do this, remember to bring it inside during colder periods and absolutely avoid exposure to frost.
The Christmas cactus should be treated like a tropical plant: water it thoroughly and let the soil dry completely between waterings.
It is important to let the soil dry and avoid waterlogging to prevent the roots from rotting.
This plant prefers a humid environment, so if you live in a dry house, place the pot in a saucer filled with water and pebbles. The water will evaporate and provide the plant with the moisture it needs.
Potting soil and fertilizer
In their natural habitat, these plants do not grow in the ground, but in places where dirt and debris accumulate, such as the hollow of a tree or a hole in a rock where natural waste accumulates.
Christmas cacti prefer succulent soil that drains well.
Feed the Christmas cactus with a good fertilizer when the flowering stage is over.
These cacti have beautiful flowers, with delicate pink, fuchsia, orange or white petals. But what needs to be done to make them flourish?
Christmas cactus flower after a dormant period of about four weeks. You can help this process by giving the plant what it needs to bloom: longer, cooler nights.
Keep the plant in the dark for about 12-14 hours a day. If you don’t have a dark place to put it, you can cover the Christmas cactus with a cloth or box.
The plant will also need cooler temperatures, between 10 and 12 degrees.
Once the Christmas cactus begins to produce sprouts at the ends of its segments, you can move it back into place.
Christmas cacti tend to drop their buds if disturbed too much. Make sure you water the plant regularly, keep it away from heat sources, and avoid moving it.
Assured the plant of its dormancy phase, it will produce wonderful flowers every year.