Complete guide to Christmas cactus care
With a little care and attention, your Christmas cactus can bring joy to the festive season, and beyond.
With their bright winter flowers and distinctive leaves, a Christmas cactus is the perfect way to add a splash of colour to your home during the festive season. It’s also known as Thanksgiving cactus and holiday cactus for this very reason. Basically, this plant loves a celebration. Here's how to keep yours happy:
- Keep the soil lightly moist
- It'll be happy in most light conditions, just keep it out of direct sunlight
- Mist every couple of days
- Remove any dead flowers to encourage new growth
About Christmas cacti
The Christmas cactus, scientifically known as schlumbergera, earned its name because it flowers right around the festive season. We call ours Francisca and Francisco. Unlike a lot of cacti, this plant doesn’t naturally live in hot, dry conditions. In the wild you’ll find it growing in shady spots in humid forests, generally in crevices in rocks or trees.
How much light does my Christmas cactus need?
Christmas cacti with enjoy bright, indirect light. Place your cactus near a window that receives lots of light, but be sure to keep it away from any direct sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to burn. They'll be quite happy in partial shade too.
How often should I water my Christmas cactus?
Christmas cacti prefer to be kept slightly moist. Water your cactus once every two weeks, making sure to let the soil dry out between waterings.They'll need less water in winter.
What's the best temperature for my Christmas cactus?
Christmas cacti prefer to be kept in temperatures between 18°C and 24°C. Avoid exposing it to temperatures below 10°C, so keep yours away from cold draughts.
Should I fertilise my Christmas cactus?
Use a balanced liquid fertiliser once a month during the spring and summer months. This will help your plant prepare for blooming in winter.
Do I need to prune my Christmas cactus?
You can prune your cactus lightly to encourage more branching and fuller growth.
When should I repot my Christmas cactus?
Repot your cactus once every two to three years, using a potting mix specifically designed for cacti.
Common Christmas cactus pests
Christmas cacti are generally resistant to pests, but watch out for mealybugs, scale, and spider mites.
Following these tips will help ensure your Christmas cactus looks its best during the holiday season and beyond.
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