How To Care For Your Christmas Cactus Plant

There is no need to confuse the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) with the Thanksgiving or Easter cactus. The blooms are magnificent, brilliant tones of pink and red that blossom just in time for the holiday season. They are a common houseplant in the United States and may reach a height of 3 feet.

A Christmas cactus’ flowering season may last many weeks, but if you’re new to plant care, you’ll need some Christmas cactus care advice to avoid problems like Christmas cactus pests and a withering Christmas cactus.

Fortunately, we’ve put up this simple guide on caring for Christmas cactus. We want to answer all of the frequently asked concerns about caring for a Christmas cactus indoors (the tropical plant is more often than not an indoor houseplant over an outdoor plant).

How to look after your Christmas cactus inside

When caring for a Christmas cactus, there are a few fundamental guidelines to follow. To assist you, we’ve divided this page into six sections, each of which aims to address frequent concerns about Christmas cactus care inside and will hopefully help you develop your plant into something lovely!

Cactus care tips for the holidays

So, how about we get started? Learn how to care for your Christmas cactus so that it blooms year after year and you never have to wonder, “why is my Christmas cactus not blooming?”

What’s The Best Soil For Your Christmas Cactus?

When caring for a Christmas cactus inside, one of the most crucial things to know is what sort of soil to use. The lovely seasonal houseplant is native to Brazil and requires extremely specialized growth conditions.

The Christmas cactus is an epiphyte (air plant), which means it attaches itself to other trees and plants to obtain water and nutrients from sources other than the soil.

So, what is the ideal soil for growing a Christmas cactus? To begin, you will want exceptionally well-draining and airy soil. You may get cactus potting mixes with adequate drainage at your local garden center. Look for soil that has a pH balance of 6.0 to 7.0 and hasn’t had any fertilizers put to it.

If you want to do things yourself, you may simply make your own potting soil mix using only a few items. One part potting soil, two parts peat moss, and one part sharp sand or perlite are all you need. The perlite and peat mixture will aid drainage, while the potting soil will supply nutrients.

A soil that drains effectively is required. If you have compacted soil, your plant’s leaves will take in more water than they can tolerate. This can lead to a variety of issues, including oedema, which can cause your Christmas cactus leaves to fall off.

The beauty of a Christmas cactus is that it requires very little upkeep, and the soil won’t need to be renewed for at least two years!

What temperature range does the Christmas cactus prefer?

Christmas cactus, like desert cacti, enjoys mild temperatures as tropical plants. They also prefer moderate moisture levels and direct sunlight. In the spring and summer, the optimal temperature for a Christmas cactus is 70 to 80°F (21 to 27°C), while in the fall and winter, 60 to 68°F (15 to 20°C).

If you want to push a Christmas cactus to bloom during the flowering season, bring it to a colder location around October (about 50°F). This will encourage blooming, and you’ll have a happy, healthy plant in time for the holidays. The leaves will then fall off and droop if you bring them back into a warmer environment, but try to prevent severe temperature swings.

So, now that we’ve established the usual temperature range for a Christmas cactus, how cold can it get? To find an answer, we’ll need to consult the United States Department of Agriculture’s hardiness zones. The Christmas cactus is hardy in zones 9–11. Zone 9 is 20-25 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 to -3 degrees Celsius), while zone 11 is 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (-6 to -3 degrees Celsius) (7-10 C). This is the plant’s lowest winter temperature tolerance.

The Christmas cactus, as we can see, is rather wide, yet it can withstand freezing weather. However, this does not imply that your plant will flourish in these circumstances, and it should never be exposed to cold or snow.

How often should a Christmas cactus be watered?

Watering is an important component of Christmas cactus maintenance, as it is with any plant. Always keep in mind the climate and surroundings your cacti are in, as well as the season. It’s difficult to estimate how often a Christmas cactus should be watered, but as a general guideline, wait until the top few inches of soil are dry before watering. Depending on the time of year and weather, this might last anywhere from 2-3 days to a week.

In the summer, when your plant is exposed to more sunlight, you should water every 2–3 days, and once a week in the fall. In the winter, you should also water less to stimulate flowering!

Overwatering a Christmas cactus may result in a variety of issues for your plant, including mealy bugs, root rot, and eventual death! A Christmas cactus, unlike a desert cactus, cannot tolerate drought and should never be allowed to dry out completely. This will result in withering and the loss of floral buds. If you’ve neglected to water your Christmas cactus, you may always read our guide on how to revive a Christmas cactus.

When watering a Christmas cactus, soak it well until all of the water drains out of the drainage pores. It is important to select a container with drainage holes since root rot might occur if the soil remains wet.

What is the recommended amount of light for a Christmas cactus?

This is when taking care of a Christmas cactus becomes challenging! The festive cacti, like any other cactus species, are like a little sunshine. The only difference between a tropical plant and a desert cactus is that the Christmas cactus should never be exposed to direct sunlight and should be put in a north-facing window.

In the summer, too much bright, direct sunshine might turn the leaves of your Christmas cactus purple. Sunburn can occur with any succulent when exposed to too much direct sunlight. Your houseplant will require strong light to grow in the autumn and winter, so avoid using artificial lights.

This is when things start to get difficult. If you want your Christmas cactus to bloom, keep it in a dark environment for 12 hours a day. In most cases, this will begin in September. To make it simple, we propose putting it in a place that isn’t utilized every evening. You should continue this for 12 hours a day, every day, until you see buds start to form.

You may then relocate it to your display spot, which could be a window or your dining room table after the buds develop.

What fertilizer is best for Christmas cactus?

Using a high-quality fertilizer can help your Christmas cactus grow. Indoor care for a Christmas cactus can be difficult, owing to the fact that it is removed from its native environment and living circumstances. Using the finest fertilizer, on the other hand, will promote growth and keep your houseplant healthy.

During the months of April to October, you should fertilize every 2–4 weeks (stop at the beginning of October). However, you should avoid feeding your Christmas cactus when it is in bloom since this might be harmful.

Because Christmas cactus requires more magnesium than other indoor plants, combine your fertilizer with 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts and, of course, water. Half-strength, water-soluble fertilizers are ideal for a Christmas cactus. These are available at your local garden center.

Again, DIY fertilizers are a terrific alternative, and putting coffee grounds on a Christmas cactus is a great home treatment. As previously stated, tropical houseplants need more magnesium. But it also requires a certain quantity of potassium, which is found in coffee.

Christmas cactus also prefers somewhat acidic soil (between 5.8 and 7.0 pH) to other indoor plants. Coffee grinds on a Christmas cactus can help balance the levels out because water has an alkaline pH of roughly 8. However, you should first verify what kind of soil you’re using since if it’s already acidic, you’ll want to keep the coffee grounds out of your food!

When should a Christmas cactus be repotted?

Now for our last Christmas cactus care suggestion! When should a Christmas cactus be repotted? The lovely Schlumbergera only needs repotting every 3-4 years! Repotting Christmas cactus too often can create serious problems with flowering, and they can go for years without being repotted.

When it comes to repotting, the season plays a big role. Repotting during bloom is harmful because the buds will fall off. Wait until the blooms have withered and the flowering has stopped, which is normally in the spring.


I hope you found this post useful and that you are now more knowledgeable about how to care for Christmas cactus! The subjects covered are the fundamentals of Christmas cactus care, and if you follow the advice, you should have a very healthy plant that blooms year after year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *