Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Care for a Zygo Cactus

Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Most people think of drought-tolerant, squat, spined plants when they think of cacti. Fewer immediately jump to the three blooming holiday cacti that appear near Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Natives of the Brazilian rainforest, these plants require much different care than desert cacti to grow and bloom successfully. When given the right conditions, your holiday cactus may live long enough to become a family heirloom.

Encourage new growth after the blooms drop by fertilizing with a general purpose liquid fertilizer. Keep the plant moist as it grows but do not leave it in standing water. Reduce water in mid-August to prepare the plant for its dormant period.

Provide the cactus with 13 hours of uninterrupted hours of darkness once temperatures are consistently between 60 and 65 degrees F. Continue to simulate short days from September to November, when blooms will begin to open. Provide the plant with another dose of fertilizer when blooms open.

Propagate additional holiday cacti by cutting sections from the original healthy cactus along the joints. Mix 3 parts compost, 1 part peat moss and 2 parts sand to make an ideal growing medium for holiday cacti. Choose a pot that drains well Plant the cactus in the medium in a new pot. Water thoroughly and allow to dry out before watering again.

Care For An Old Man Cactus

How to Care for an Old Man Cactus. Give an old man cactus as much light as you can provide in your home. The plant tolerates any amount of sunlight and more is better. Because it receives less light in the winter, winter growth is likely to be weak and undesirable. Temperatures between 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit are best. Water the cactus several days after the soil has finished drying out. An old man cactus is more likely to be damaged from over-watering than under-watering, so it's important not to water it unless the soil is dry. However, when the soil does dry out, give the plant water until it runs out of the drainage hole. Because the old man cactus is slow growing, this may take several years. When repotting, fill the pot with a potting mix made especially for cacti. Mix the solution, apply with a brush and then rinse the plant with plain water.


Do not move plants between extremely different environments while buds are forming, as this can cause flower buds to drop. Flower buds may also drop if the plant is under- or over-watered.

Garden Guides