Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Care for Christmas Cactus Plants

By April Sanders ; Updated September 21, 2017

Christmas cactus plants are popular gifts for the holidays. They are easy to care for and can last for a long time, even being handed down from generation to generation. In the wild, Christmas cactus plants thrive on rich, organic material, filtered light and high humidity. Recreate these conditions for your plants and you will be rewarded with a spectacular display of blooms year after year.

Care for your Christmas cactus plants by providing rich, well-drained soil consisting of equal parts potting soil and sand, and two parts peat moss. This will create a rich, light mixture that the plants will thrive in.

Water your cactus plants properly, keeping the soil continually moist in the spring and summer. In the fall and winter, let the top half of the soil dry before watering again. Although it is a succulent, Christmas cactus also is a tropical plant that needs more moisture than dessert cacti.

Fertilize the Christmas cactus plants as soon as you see new growth emerging in late winter. Apply a liquid organic fertilizer formulated for succulents, but dilute it to only 1/4 strength, as these cacti can get easily burned by fertilizer. Feed the plant monthly during the summer as well.

Place the cacti in filtered light during the spring and summer months. In the fall, move the plants to a cool, dark location to force blooms at Christmastime. Bring them back into full sunlight in early November and continue to offer full sunlight throughout the winter months.

Prune your Christmas cactus plants after they bloom by pinching off two or three sections of each branch of the plant. This will encourage stronger growth.


Things You Will Need

  • Potting soil
  • Sand
  • Peat moss
  • Liquid organic fertilizer formulated for succulents