Christmas Cactus Care Instructions are very important to know and follow accordingly if you want to plant this. The Christmas cactus, with the scientific name Schlumbergera, is also known as the Thanksgiving, Easter, or Santa Teresita cactus. It comes from the tropical areas of Brazil. So it needs more humidity than traditional cacti, and it is an epiphytic plant since they live on other trees. It has a foliose shape and its stem, with a fleshy and cylindrical base, becomes flat as it grows. It is a very nice plant to put in a hanging basket since the stems with the flowers tend to fall.
Christmas Cactus Care Instructions
Unlike most species, which grow in arid terrain, the Christmas cactus comes from the rainforest. It has acclimatized to other types of environments much more humid. We will not be able to satisfy the care of the Christmas cactus by simulating the conditions to the challenging environments of the desert. This plant requires special attention. So let me explain to you about Christmas Cactus Care Instructions.
Christmas Cactus Care
As with some plants, there will be no one-size-fits-all way to care for the Christmas cactus. Some of us, from experience, will prefer a few care guidelines. While others will use different methods and the plant will live the same. It can even flourish without having to stick to a pre-established care script. So to explain the care of the Christmas cactus I will not only talk about my shape but also about other guidelines.
If we manage to offer a good quality in the environment, this cactus will give us beautiful pink or purple flowers at the tips of the stems. The branches of this plant are composed of segments adhered to each other and with serrated edges. Its flowering is one of the most beautiful moments. If we take good care of this plant, it can be very long-lived and live with us for several years.
Although their flowers do not last long, they are usually very abundant. The larger the size of your leaves, the more tendency your leaves will have to hang sideways due to weight. If it grows a lot we can use it as a hanging plant in our living room.
Being an easy plant to reproduce by cutting, we could even grow it ourselves. Although we will have to wait until it has a large volume to proceed to cut some of its leaves. They should be long in size.
What is the care of the Christmas cactus?
The care of the Christmas cactus differs from the rest of the cacti. By following Christmas Cactus Care Instructions, we can get our desire amount of flowers. We will have to water the plant more regularly, preferably with lime-free water. It needs a lot of ambient light and a comfortable temperature of about 20 degrees. We will take care of it in a cactus substrate and we will pay for it during the summer so that it offers us flowers from November.
The 3 Rules of the Christmas Cactus-
- Watering more abundantly with water without lime.
- A lot of light
- Warm temperatures of 20º Celsius more or less
Any substrate that is well-drained and does not cause puddles in the pot. From there, we will choose the one that we like the most or the one that we have more at hand, or our own formula. We can use cactus substrate or add perlite to a substrate with peat and pine bark. I prefer the substrate of cacti and succulents. If you prefer to extend the humidity in the pot a bit, you can add a little perlite.
The pot should be small and compact. The Christmas cactus likes to live in the compact ground. If we transplant it, it will be for another pot not much bigger. We can do it every 2 or 3 years.
Irrigation and Water
The amount of irrigation and humidity in the substrate will have to be measured by observing its leaves. If they wrinkle or see small grooves or screams on the surface of the leaves, there may be little water. If they start to lose their green and weaken, we are overwatering. Ideally, create irrigation cycles by leaving the substrate dry for a day. It is always better to go from less to more. We water little at first, if we observe wrinkles on the leaf, we increase the watering. The goal is to find the balance so that our Christmas Cactus feels comfortable.
To water it, we can water with a watering can or by immersion. If we live in a dry environment, we can spray water on the leaves (never on the flowers), to help keep the humidity high. Another option would be to place a plate with stones and water under the pot.
In my way of controlling the irrigation of this plant, I do not distinguish much by season. I am guided by the dryness of the earth all year long. If it’s dry, I water. If it’s wet I’ll wait. It seems to me that the care of the Christmas cactus when it comes to watering should focus more on the land. During the summer, it is normal for the substrate to dry earlier, hence I place it in the coolest room in the house.
Caring for the Christmas Cactus involves watering it with slightly acidic water. But we should not be alarmed, because it is easier than it seems at first glance. First of all, a clarification: if one day we do not have this type of water, we will have to assess what is better for the plant: to water or not to water. If the substrate has been dry for a couple of days, it is better to water even with tap water.
To achieve low-lime water we have several options:
- The “Britta” type anti-scale system that many of us use to add water to coffee makers
- Collect rainwater
- Use tap water and add an anti-scale product
- Use water from an aquarium (they tend to have low pH but not always)
Sun and light
Caring for the Christmas cactus in terms of light and temperature is very easy. Ambient light, a lot, the more the better. In that, there is no possible error, no discrepancies, not even during the seasons. Pleasant temperatures of about 20 degrees centigrade will suffice. This cactus survives in a range of temperatures that goes from 10 to 25º. During the flowering season, it is better that there are no thermal fluctuations. For example, forgetting the open window and letting the room drop 5 degrees suddenly.
Can you give it the direct sun? Again, we find ourselves in a complex situation again. It will depend on the house and the place where we live. An hour of sunshine in the morning does not have to hurt you if the room temperature is comfortable and it is winter. An hour of sunshine outside in the middle of August at 35 degrees can be deadly.
If you live in a place where there are not very high temperatures, there are experts who assure you that we can leave the Christmas Cactus outside during the summer in full shade and with some humidity in the environment. I have not tried. I prefer the safety of my environment.
Fertilizer Need For Christmas Cactus
Fertilizer for cacti or flower plants of any brand from spring to autumn. In my experience, I must say that I prefer slow-soak fertilizers per bar. If we also give it an extra bar in summer, the plant will appreciate it. Once all the nutrients have been accumulated, we will wait for it to offer us as many flowers as possible in winter. If we do not fertilize, it is likely that its flowering will be greatly diminished.
Pruning and Diseases of Christmas Cactus
At the end of the flowering period, we must cut the last segment of the branch that has given the flower. The branch is built on segments. You can’t go wrong if you cut the last piece in half that joins one segment of the other. Thus we will stimulate their growth for the following season. If we also want to grow more cacti, we can make a cutting as long as our plant has long leaves.
The cutting is built with 3 or 4 segments (depends on the size). We will cut 3 segments and store them covered in absorbent paper for 24 hours to remove some moisture. Kitchen paper can be used. Then we will take a small clay pot and we will plant it with a substrate for cacti. We will start watering and ready to continue the cycle.
The Christmas Cactus in Nursery
The local nursery will always be able to inform you better about the care of the Christmas cactus for your area. This plant is usually sold from the fall, and it is difficult to find last January or February because it has lost it’s flowering and is less showy.
How to differentiate the Christmas Cactus from the Easter Cactus?
The best way to differentiate one cactus from the other is during flowering. Both have very similar leaves, although they are different species. The Easter cactus blooms from April and its leaves are starry. The Christmas cactus blooms in November and its leaves are somewhat longer.
I leave you a small visual comparison between the two species in flower so that you can appreciate the differences.
So, here is all about Christmas Cactus Care Instructions. If you want to plant it indoors, then you have to take care of them more carefully. So, you want to know more about indoor gardening? Then you can visit our Indoor Gardening category. Hope you like it. & if you have any queries, don’t hesitate to comment below! Stay blessed.