Propagation of your Christmas cactus

Propagation of your Christmas cactus

It’s easy to make more Christmas cacti.

Just gently pinch and twist a stem at its top joint (where you see the little 'hairs'), then pull it free.

Commercial growers typically take cuttings right after the first of the year, then grow them in greenhouses. But it’s a lot less trouble to wait until the weather warms up in late spring or early summer. Ideal temperatures for rooting are between 70 and 75 degrees.

If you’re shaping your plants at the same time, you can pinch off a stem containing up to four segments. Let your cuttings sit a few days in a cool, dry place, then bury about a quarter of the bottom segment of each in a loose, fast-draining medium.

You can also purchase root tone from your local family owned brick and mortar garden center and go directly from plant to soil. Pinch off, dampen end that will be going into soil, dip into root tone, bury about a quarter of the bottom segment in the soil.

Because these plants like to be tightly kept in a pot use a small pot and I always place many segments into one small (tiny) pot. This allows for a fuller plant and if any segment die you can just pluck them out and still have something left.

Give the cuttings bright light and even moisture. You should see signs of life within several weeks. Commercial growers expect a new tier of growth every six weeks, but your results may vary. Water your new plants about once a week. As they grow larger, let the top layer go dry, as under-watering is better than over-watering.

With proper care you can give a Christmas cactus to every family member next Christmas. Attach a small handmade tag that explains you are starting a family tradition that will last for many, many generation. You will be the hit of the family for starting such a special and long lasting tradition.

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