Does your Christmas Cactus Flower each Year?
A Christmas cactus is the perfect festive plant to have in bloom this time of the year. They can be a little tricky to get to flower if the conditions aren’t just right, though.
Here are some tips to remember to get your Christmas cactus blooming each year.
- The Christmas cactus needs short days and cool night temperatures to bloom well.
- High humidity, bright light and slightly moist soil are also essential.
I keep my Christmas cactus outside in my garden during the summer in a semi shady flower bed, right in its pot. I don’t bring it in until the danger of frost is imminent. This practice gives my plant the shorter days and cool nights it needs. I’ve never had it fail to flower following this pattern.
The flowering season isn’t too long, but to keep your Christmas cactus blooms bright after the holiday, follow these steps.
Keep it in the dark. These plants really do love darkness. Don’t keep it in a room where lights are on well into the evening. It flowers best if it is dark for 12 or 13 hours each night.
Prune only lightly. Don’t prune the flat, arching stems (buds form on the tips), and don’t fertilize heavily, or you encourage only vegetative growth.
For next year’s blooms, do as I described above. Place it outdoors in a spot where it is protected from strong mid-day sun. Leave it there as late into fall as possible, bringing inside only when frost threatens.
When you bring the cactus indoors, place it in a bright window where temperatures drop to 55°F to 60°F at night. If nights are a bit warmer (65°F or so), it will take longer for buds to develop.
If you follow these steps, you will have a Christmas cactus that is a delight each holiday season. I divided my huge plant this past summer, and this year I have two large plants just full of blooms.
See My Honey’s Place for more Festive Christmas Plants.
What is your favorite seasonal holiday gardening tip? Let us know in the comments below.