The Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) is a wonderful festive houseplant that is frequently passed down through the generations. The Christmas plant is a tropical plant native to Brazil that blooms in beautiful colors of pink and red each year. But what happens if your Christmas cactus gets overwatered? Is it possible to save it? How often should a Christmas cactus be watered? This article seeks to address all of your burning questions about watering a Christmas cactus.
Root rot is one of the most prevalent concerns associated with an overwatered Christmas cactus. Any holiday plant that is left on its saucer and is surrounded by water may have troubles, so make sure that while watering it, you let the water drain out completely before putting it back on its saucer.
Is it possible to salvage a Christmas cactus that has been overwatered? In a nutshell, yes, but only if you respond quickly and the overwatering is still early on. If your Christmas cactus already has root rot, you’ll need to take away the damaged roots and repot it; however, if the plant is in the late stages of root rot, propagation may be the only option.
Is it possible to rescue a cactus that has been overwatered?
The wilted and limp appearance of an overwatered Christmas cactus is one of the first indicators of overwatering. Soggy soil – which leads to root rot – is the most typical cause of a drooping Christmas cactus.
Although the Christmas cactus, like the desert cactus, cannot tolerate long periods of dryness, it can survive being left in moist soil for long periods of time.
When watering, be careful to water well, but wait until the top few inches of soil have dried up before rewatering! When it’s in bloom, it’ll need to be maintained somewhat moister than when it’s not, but we’ll get to that later.
Yes, you may repot an overwatered Christmas cactus to preserve it from root rot if it is in the early stages of root rot. You can also opt to propagate the plant and start from scratch. If your Christmas cactus doesn’t have root rot and has just remained in wet soil for too long, simply let the water evaporate, and your Christmas cactus should be revived.
How can I revive a Christmas cactus that has been overwatered?
It all depends on the severity of the injury. Allowing your Christmas cactus to dry out if it is merely sitting in moist soil is OK. If your houseplant develops root rot, however, whether or not you can save an overwatered Christmas cactus will depend on how far the rot has progressed.
Fixing an overwatered Christmas cactus with root rot in the early stages is rather straightforward and will need repotting. Normally, tropical plants only need to be repotted every 3-4 years, but you’ll need to do it sooner if you have an overwatered Christmas cactus. Follow these easy steps to get started:
Eradicate the roots from the pot and cut away any that are decaying, then wash the remaining roots to remove any fungus.
Leave the plant in a warm, well-ventilated room overnight to allow the roots to dry out. Fill a fresh container halfway with fast-drying, airy soil. Wait a few days before watering the plant once again.
An overwatered Christmas cactus with root rot can be fixed by following the procedures above. You can propagate your plant by taking a cutting and beginning over if the root rot is advanced and most of the roots have been lost.
What are the signs of a Christmas cactus that has been overwatered?
If you believe you have an overwatered Christmas cactus, you will notice several evident indications and symptoms. These are the most common:
- Leaves that have wilted and become limp
- Leaves are starting to fall off
- Branches that are soft
- A foul odor
- Roots that are dark and slimy in texture
You may only notice a few of these signs, but if you detect a few of them, your Christmas cactus has most certainly been overwatered. This, however, does not imply that it is dying! An overwatered Christmas cactus can be saved in rare situations.
How can I tell whether my Christmas cactus is on its last legs?
If your Christmas cactus is dying due to root rot caused by overwatering, you’ll need to inspect the roots. Lift the plant gently from its pot and check it thoroughly! Root rot causes the roots to become black and have a slimy quality.
You’ll notice the leaves are falling off if you search for other overwatering indicators. It’ll also probably fail to blossom, leaving you wondering why your Christmas cactus isn’t flowering. In other cases, the branches will soften and become mushy, and in severe cases, the plant will emit a stale odor.
If your Christmas cactus is dying due to other factors such as lack of nourishment, crowded roots, or poor placement, the plant will turn purple.
How often should a Christmas cactus be watered?
The amount of water a Christmas cactus needs varies on the season. However, to avoid overwatering, make sure the top inch of the soil is completely dry. Take into account the weather and the location. For example, if you live in a hot region, you may need to water your plants every 2-3 days. You may only need to water your indoor Christmas cactus once a week if it is kept in a cool place.
In the fall and winter, you should also water less to encourage your Christmas cactus to blossom. It’s also worth mentioning that the Christmas cactus thrives in a humid atmosphere.
Placing a tray of water next to your plant is the simplest approach to give it humidity. The water will evaporate, resulting in a humid atmosphere. You may also use a spray bottle to shower your Christmas cactus.
When should I stop watering my cactus for the holidays?
Stop watering your festive plant in October and begin watering in November if you want it to blossom in time for the holidays. Your Christmas cactus will blossom at the perfect moment as a result of this!
After the plant has successfully flowered into the beautiful, colorful pinks and reds we all love, you should cease watering for around six weeks. This is to give the plant a chance to relax.
Aside from that, you should water your plants regularly throughout the year and wait until the top inch of the soil is dry before watering again to avoid overwatering.