How to Grow Christmas Cactus (cacti Schlumbergera). This plant is grown for its colorful blooms from white, bright pink, and deep dark red blooms and because the blooming season is right around Christmas time, thus its name. It will also bloom again in mid-spring… it’s then called a spring cactus.
The Christmas cactus is in the succulent plant family. Like most succulents, they like less water than other plants. They like indirect sunlight too much direct sun and the foliage will burn. Too much water and they will develop root rot.
Considered a houseplant in most U.S. homes. People purchase this plant when it is in full bloom at the nursery or big box stores during the Christmas or spring season. But once it stops blooming folks aren’t sure what to do?
Home to make this plant bloom again?
You can make it bloom again by following this simple trick. Try placing it in a darker area or a room with low light. Preferably about 10-12 hours of darkness during the night. A small amount of light during the day is ok.
Try to keep the soil moist but only at the bottom of the container. Basically water about every ten days or so. Keep the top portion of the pot dry. Do this for about six weeks or until you see new buds. It’s also important to keep the room temperature at about 50-60 degrees f.
Once you see new buds it’s time to place it in a room where there is more indirect sunlight. Water about once per week and you will be rewarded with new blooms. It may take up to 3 months before it blooms, again.
What we are trying to do is make the plant go dormant. Like all plants once the dormant time is over it will bloom again.
Where to place this plant
When it is in full bloom you can place it on the dinner table or any place where there is sufficient light but away from drafts or the direct sun coming in from a large window. Try to keep it in the same pot for as long as possible. Their roots like to be tightly compacted and always use cactus soil when repotting.
When to fertilize
Try using a liquid fertilizer at half the recommended usage. I have had good luck using organic fertilizer such as fish emulsion or bat guano. Do this about once per month starting in September and ending just before December.
The Christmas Cactus is native to Brazil in areas where there is lots of shade and humidity learn more over at Wikipedia.
Paul Guzman – Husband, Father, Grandfather, Gardener, and Webmaster of GuzmansGreenhouse.com