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The Care of an Easter Cactus

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The Care of an Easter Cactus

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Overview

The Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertnerii), along with the Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti, make up the three major "holiday" cacti. The Easter cactus differs from the others in that it blooms red or pink flowers in the spring and has smoother leaf margins than the other cacti. The leaf margins each have four to six ripples with brown bristle-like hairs on their pointy tips. The Easter cactus is generally easy to care for, but care varies depending on the season of the year.

Step 1

Maintain a temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the night when you first get your Easter cactus in the spring or late winter.

Step 2

Set your plant in an area that is bright, but one that does not receive a lot of direct sunlight. Near a south-, east- or west-facing window may be a suitable location for your Easter cactus.

Step 3

Water your Easter cactus from February until October regularly so that the soil is constantly moist.

Step 4

Fertilize your Easter cactus from spring until fall with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer (e.g., one labeled 10-10-10). Read the fertilizer's dosing instructions and always remember to water your cactus after fertilizing.

Step 5

Take your Easter cactus outdoors during the summer months, if desired. Set in full to partial shade. Be sure to bring it back indoors before temperatures dip below 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 6

Allow your Easter cactus to rest from October until February. Set it in an area that is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit all the time (e.g., unheated room) or at least in an area that is this cool at night. During this rest period, only water the plant when the soil dries out to a depth of about 1 to 2 inches. Bring your plant back to your living space when you see buds begin to form, which usually happens sometime in February. Then once again, maintain daytime temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit (as mentioned in Step 1).

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Iowa State University: Growing Holiday Cacti
  • Bella Online: The Spring-Blooming Easter Cactus
  • PlantCare.com: Easter Cactus
Keywords: Rhipsalidopsis gaertnerii, care Easter cactus, holiday cactus, grow Easter cactus

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.