Looking to fill your house from festive plants? Christmas cactus can make a good addition in decorating the interior of your home. They are known as christmas cactus because they bloom just in time for christmas holidays. Also, it is called by the name “Holiday Cactus”. Let’s see how to grow christmas cactus at home.
About the Christmas cactus
Christmas cactus is also known as holiday cactus because it blooms during the time of Christmas when usually holidays occur. Just because they are cacti, they’re not desert-dwelling or need any of those conditions.
It is a beautiful blooming succulent that blooms. People decorate their home interiors with this plant as a symbol of respect for their friends, family, and relatives that visit during Christmas. They grow moderately fast and are able to reach up to 2 feet. They have stem segments that bloom flowers of different variety of colors including red, salmon, pale pink, hot pink, and white.
Mostly all varieties of cactus including christmas cactus can be planted any time during the year as an indoor plant. Give the right care to the plant and It will start to bloom at the beginning of the winter and can survive for many years. Christmas cactus is not easy to care for, but they propagate well. Hence it becomes a perfect gift for holiday thanksgiving.
How To Plant a Christmas Cactus?
The fact is Christmas cactus propagates so easily. Hence we are going to plant a Christmas cactus by cutting a stem segment and growing it into another pot or container.
- Cut a short Y-Shaped segment from the stem tips. Ensure that the cutting should be taken from a healthy growing plant.
- Plant the segments one-four in soil. You can take sandy soil for that.
- Spray water on the top of the soil to make the soil moist.
- Place the pot in a well-lit area. Away from direct sunlight.
- Ensure that the plant should get enough water and humidity.
- To increase the humidity. Place it over a tray of pebbles containing water beneath. Humidity will automatically increase near the pot.
- The cutting would show a sign of growth in a few days.
Types of Holiday Cactus
There are major 3 types of Christmas or holiday cactus. They all look alike but have slight differences in the shape of their leaves. Due to same looking flowering plants, they are often mislabeled.
Thanksgiving Cactus: it usually blooms around thanksgiving. It has very pointed and claw-shaped projections on leaves.
Christmas Cactus: It flowers around Christmas. Flattened leaf segment and produce multiple color flowers.
Easter Cactus: it starts blooming in the early spring. It has tiny bristles around rounded leaf segments.
How To Grow Holiday Cactus From Seeds?
To grow holiday cactus from seeds, you can buy the seeds online or from a vendor. Seeds of holiday cactus can be harvested from the pods (fruits) of the plant. Wait till they turn red and extract the brownish-black seeds.
- Plant the seeds in moist compost or potting mix. Press the seed gently into the soil. Cover with a thin layer of compost on it.
- Cover the pot with clear plastic to ensure that the humidity remains in the growing environment.
- Place the plant on a window sill or wedge of a wall so that it gets partial sunlight. Directly exposing it to full sunlight can damage the plant.
- Make sure the soil remains moist during the process of germination. Spray water on the surface of the soil to keep it moist.
- Within 2-3 weeks the seedling will emerge out of the soil.
- Remove the plastic wrap once you saw the growth of the seedlings.
- Transplant the seedlings into individual pots where they get large space to grow.
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Holiday cactus care
Unlike the desert cactus that are drought-resistant, Christmas cactus being a rainforest native plant needs an adequate supply of water to remain healthy and grow. The leaves of this plant are actually the stem segment that hangs out from the container, pot, or basket. The flowers bloom at the end of the stem. So, the more leaves your plant has, the more flowers it will produce.
Generally, holiday cactus or christmas cactus bloom red flowers, but they can produce different color flowers as well. They can bloom pink, white, magenta, salmon, and peach color flowers. You should try planting holiday cactus in hanging baskets as it results in more stem growth that eventually will produce flowers.
Christmas cacti prefers shady or semi-shady region to grow. Although they are adaptable to other conditions as well. If you want to expose them to full sun, make sure it’s during the winter season. They are not fond of direct sun in the summer season. Too much sunlight during late spring and summer can cause the plant to turn yellow and pale.
Soil is an essential factor in the growth of the christmas cactus. The growth of the plant is highly dependent on what type of soil you are using. Use a quality soil rich in nutrients essential for its growth. Chrismas cactus prefers soil that remains moist for long time. They can be grown in loamy, sandy, fertile, or potting soil. To achieve optimal growth it prefers a pH ranges between 5.5 and 6.2.
Being a cactus It craves more water. Moisture is very much important for this plant to grow well. Christmas cactus need regular and enough water supply during its growth period I.e spring and summer. Keep the soil moist through the water. During hot summers, the plant needs watering 3-4 times a week. If the plant is placed near a sunny window during winters it needs to be watered once a week.
To know whether the plant needs water or not, place a finger two inches deep in the soil and if it feels dry, then water thoroughly. During the cold season, if the plant is away from the window and cannot get sun, it might need watering once in 2 weeks.
Temperature and Humidity
Christmas cactus is a bit picky in terms of temperature. Ensure that the temperature should hover between 60-80degrees during its peak growth time (April-September). Once the buds are produced, it requires low temperature between (55 to 65 degrees) and at least half-day of darkness to form buds and leaves. Keep it away from drafty places.
The Christmas cactus needs an ample amount of humidity to grow. To boost the humidity levels around the plant, you can place it on the pebble tray filled with water beneath. Humidity becomes essential when it is grown in dry cold conditions in a heater home.
Feed your christmas cactus plant with half-strength, dilute water-soluble fertilizer during the peak growth time of spring and summer. Once the buds and leaves are produced, stop feeding the fertilizer to the plant.
Thanks For Reading.
5 thoughts on “How to Grow Christmas Cactus At Home”
To propagate, what do you mean a Y cut? After the flowers bloom, should you trim the end of the Christmas cactus? Should you remove old flower buds that have died? Ty
I have been growing the same Christmas cactus for over 30 years and make potted plants to give away each Christmas. Never heard about V cut starters before
To propagate new plants simply twist off a 3 segment branch
Don’t twist and pull..just keep twisting in the same direction until the branch comes free. Lay the branch on top of damp soil or even on a board outside in the shade for about a week. Then plant it in potting soil with the first segment fully inserted. Put 3 or 4 or more in a pot and water thoroughly
Water again once a week. Fertilize when new growth appears.
I agree with what u wrote ! I too have grown Christmas cactus for many years and never heard of propagating the way they advise to do it .
I put my Christmas cactus in a dark room for 6 weeks, usually from the beginning of August to mid September. After I bring it back out to my window, it puts on buds like crazy. I have blooms from late November until late April!
Annie, May I ask what state you live in? I’m in Tucson, AZ. My holiday cactus had blooms for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas thru April. New leaves are growing now. This is my 2nd year with this plant. I’m thinking I should put mine in the dark from mid September until end of October. And should I feed it from April until I put it in the dark? What’s your thoughts? Thank you so much.