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.
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