How to care for your Christmas cactus

Care of Christmas Cactus


The soil should be evenly moist for best growth, but they are intolerant to constantly wet soil and poor aeration. If outdoors, an established plant may only need to be watered every two or three days in warm, sunny weather; or every week in cool, cloudy weather. Let the soil go dry between waterings. Don’t ever let the soil stay soggy, especially during cooler weather, as root rot can be lethal. But if the fleshy stems show signs of shriveling, water right away. If you are lucky enough to be able to keep your Christmas cactus under a lattice-covered patio or in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade you can just keep your eye on the weather, and soil condition in the pot, as mother nature will often do all the rest of the work for you as far as water and aeration goes.


Christmas cactus will do best in bright indirect light. Long term direct sunlight can burn the leaves and stunt growth. If taken care of properly, a single planting can last for hundreds of years.


Christmas cactus will create flower buds when subjected to cooler temperatures 50-58degrees Fahrenheit/10-14 degrees Celsius for 6-8 weeks.

You can use tomato or cactus fertilizer which are easy to purchase from your local brick and mortar family owned garden center and only fertilize with these when the flowerbuds appear.

Apply a balanced fertilizer of your choosing during the growing season (summer). Flush the soil occasionally to prevent salt buildup. Salt buildup is easy to spot as it look just like it sounds. You will see flakey white or yellow/white crystals start to appear around the edged of your pot.

You don't need to run to flush the plant the second you start to see a salt buildup. Rather wait, check the condition of the soil and decide when to proceed with a good water flush of the plant. You should not flush the Christmas cactus if the soil is too wet or if you have just fertilized it. Wait for the plant to dry out or give the fertilizer a good week in the soil so the plant can take it in, then flush the plant with cool to tepid water. Use your fingers to abrade off any salt that is stuck to the pot itself. Stop or reduce fertilizing in fall

Do not move the plant after the flowerbuds appear, as it does not like to be disturbed and is likely to drop all the flowerbuds.

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