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Indoor Plant Care of Christmas Cactus

christmas cactus image by Bradlee Mauer from Fotolia.com

The scientific name for a Christmas cactus is Schlumbergera bridgesii. The Christmas cactus is one of several holiday cacti named for the time of year it blooms. The cactus blooms in cooler temperatures, and you can expect to see buds form in one of four colors: peach, pink, red or white. The joints of the Christmas cactus become very fragile if the cactus is not kept in good health. It's not difficult to care for an indoor Christmas cactus.

Place your Christmas cactus in the room in your house that receives the least amount of light. Indoor Christmas cacti enjoy 12 to 15 hours of darkness each day.

  • The scientific name for a Christmas cactus is Schlumbergera bridgesii.
  • The Christmas cactus is one of several holiday cacti named for the time of year it blooms.

Keep the temperature around your Christmas cactus below 70 degrees F. For the most blooms, the University of Illinois recommends keeping the temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Feed your Christmas cactus a 0-10-10 fertilizer in November and February. From April to September, apply an all-purpose, 10-10-10 fertilizer once per month.

Water your Christmas Cactus so that the soil is completely wet, but not sopping. Then wait for the top layer of soil in the pot to become dry before watering it again. Check the top inch of soil to determine when it is time to re-water your cactus.

Fill a glass with water and leave it next to your Christmas Cactus during the day. As the water evaporates, it will provide your cactus with the humidity it requires.

  • Keep the temperature around your Christmas cactus below 70 degrees F. For the most blooms, the University of Illinois recommends keeping the temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fill a glass with water and leave it next to your Christmas Cactus during the day.

Prune away some sections of your Christmas cactus in March or April. This encourages your cactus to grow some new buds.

Plant Care Instructions For A Christmas Cactus

Maintain temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit in spring and summer when the cactus isn't flowering. Avoid soggy or wet soil, which results in root rot. Dilute 1/3 teaspoon of 20-10-20 fertilizer in one gallon of water. Stop fertilizing in fall and don't resume until the cactus is done flowering. Pinch back the tip of each stem segment in early summer to encourage more flower bud production in fall. Grasp the tip and break off the top segment at the joint on each of the main upright stem sections. Provide the cactus with 14 hours of darkness each night to force the formation of flower buds. Buds typically form within four weeks of short-day treatment. Pinch off the old flowers as they wilt.

  • Prune away some sections of your Christmas cactus in March or April.
  • Stop fertilizing in fall and don't resume until the cactus is done flowering.

Tip

If you properly care for your Christmas cactus, it can live longer than you.

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