Having beautiful flowering plants in the home can definitely add to its ambiance. There are so many options to choose from. Christmas cacti are certainly a worthwhile choice. When properly maintained, these plants will bloom multiple times a year and their bright, festive flowers can be enjoyed all year long.
What Is A Christmas Cactus?
This plant is also known as Schlumbergera. It's the name for a genus of cacti that are indigenous to the coastal regions of Brazil. Due to this, these plants will prefer a much more humid climate than those cacti that come from desert regions. They also enjoy much more shade or darkness.
These cacti are famous for their stunning flowers. In the Northern Hemisphere, their typical flowering season coincides with Fall and Winter holidays. That's the inspiration for their name. They can easily thrive indoors with the right care.
What You'll Need To Start
For those wanting to grow these lovely plants, starting out isn't as intimidating as it can appear. Things that are needed to begin this venture are:
- A Christmas cactus plant
- Cactus soil mix
- Potash potassium fertilizer
- An indoor watering can
- Once these basics are ready, the journey to beautiful flowers begins.
Factors Of Cactus Care
When taking care of these plants, there are six key factors that need to be considered. Besides avoiding drastic temperature changes and under watering, these factors are the biggest aids to optimal blooming:
- Soil: Choose a soil that's high quality and nutrient-rich
- Temperature: These plants grow best in the 65-degree temperature range
- Water: Over or under-watering can be problematic. Ensure the soil is evenly watered and mist as needed
- Light: These plants would do best with moderate light levels and some direct sun. East-facing windows are ideal for placement
- Fertilizer: It's advised to use a fertilizer high in potassium biweekly once the plant has buds
- Transplantation: Re-potting yearly after flowering is recommended
How To Get More Blooms
Unlike some other cacti, Christmas cacti are fully capable of blooming multiple times a year by following certain methods. Once the blooming cycle has ended, keep the plants cooler than usual at around 50 degrees. Lessen watering slightly and let the soil be only barely moist. At this time, it is also integral to not give the plant any fertilizer.
When new growth appears on the plants, the next steps in the process for inducing blooming can begin. Plants need to be kept in a temperature range of 55 to 65 degrees. They will require alternating between 10 hours of light and 14 hours of dark for a period of four to six weeks. Buds will sprout at this time. This change indicates that it's time to give the plants warmer temperatures again. If the Christmas cactus is well taken care of, it will bloom after about 6 weeks.
The maintenance of these gorgeous plants is not excessively labor-intensive. Strategy and consistency in their care are key. It will almost guarantee a top-notch result every time.