Christmas Cactus is a winter favorite thanks to its colorful blooms and relatively easy care instructions, which make it ideal even for plant lovers who don’t do well with fussy plants. This beautiful plant is a pleasing addition to the home during the cold winter months, and if you follow the tips below, your mini cactus will bring joy and cheer to your home year-round!
Give Your Cactus The Right Amount Of Light
Like most succulents, Christmas Cactus needs bright but indirect sunlight.
You should keep the plant near a window but avoid placing it in an area where it will get too much direct sunlight, as direct sunlight can burn the leaves of the plant and even stunt the plant growth.
During the summertime, when the temperatures near windows tend to rise, move your mini Christmas Cactus to a shadier location. If possible, add light-diffusing curtains if you place the plant in a window that faces the South or West, as these get the most heat from the sun.
Use The Proper Soil
Mini Christmas Cactus will suffer in heavy soil that doesn't drain well, so you need to make sure the plant gets a light, well-draining soil.
You can increase the drainage of the soil by placing your cactus inside a pot with drainage holes.
Add Humidity In A Dry Environment
Mini Christmas Cactus needs a decent amount of humidity all year round; unlike other cacti, this one is actually a tropical plant, and doesn't thrive in a dry environment.
Some ways to add humidity include creating a humidity tray by placing your plant onto a waterproof saucer filled with pebbles or gravel and distilled water.
You can also place a tray of water near your Christmas Cactus so that the water can evaporate into the air and provide humidity to the plant.
Make Sure The Soil Doesn't Get Too Dry
Since Christmas Cactus is a tropical plant, it doesn't enjoy becoming too dry.
If the soil gets too try, this can cause the plant to drop its flowers and then wilt. It can be difficult to revive a Christmas cactus plant that has wilted, so preventing dry soil in the first place is the best option.
You can routinely check the soil with a toothpick or your finger; if the soil doesn't stick to the toothpick or your finger, then this means the soil is too dry, and you need to add more water.
However, don't overwater your plant: overwatering can cause a host of issues, including rot, which can create white spots to show up on the leaves of the plant.
Generally, it's always better to be a bit more cautious with your watering than to overwater.
Tailor Your Watering To The Season And Environment
It's important to keep tabs on both the season and the environment when it comes to watering your Christmas Cactus.
If you live somewhere with a dry climate or you are experiencing a dry season, then you might need to water your plant every 4 to 6 days.
If the environment is humid or cooler, then water once every week.
In any case, you want to water your cactus less often during the fall and winter, so that the plant can bloom. The flowers look especially beautiful in the wintertime, so this is important if you want pretty blooms in time for the Christmas season.
During The Winter Season, Put Your Plant In The Dark At Night
Starting in the fall and continuing into the winter season, mini Christmas Cactus requires indirect bright light in the day – and darkness at night.
To achieve this, place your plant in a dark room for about 12 hours each night. Do this for about 6 to 8 weeks, or until you see flower buds start to form; once they do, you can gradually reduce the amount of time you place the plant in a dark room.
Start Pruning Your Plant 30 Days After It Blooms
Once your mini Christmas Cactus has bloomed, take note of the day. About 30 days after the first bloom, prune the plant in order to encourage the foliage and flowers to expand and branch out more. Make sure that you don't over-prune.
You can decide to wait a bit longer to prune – about 60 to 90 days – but that's up to personal preference and the overall growth state of your plant at the time.
Give Your Christmas Cactus A New Home Every 2 Years Or So
Christmas Cactus can last a long time in the same pot or container, but it needs to be given a new home every two years or so.
When you are planting the cactus into a new pot, make sure that you use new soil, as this will give the plant the best chances of thriving for years to come.
Don’t Let The Plant Sit In Water
Although this is a tropical plant that needs more moisture than other cacti, you shouldn’t let it sit in water, as this encourages root rot and other overwatering problems.
Make sure you fully drain the soil and don’t let the roots soak in water.