Wondering if your Christmas Cactus will bloom this holiday season? Check out these simple tips on How to Make a Christmas Cactus Bloom at Christmas!
A blooming Christmas Cactus will have your heart with its colorful tubular flowers in pink and lilac shades. Although, this popular houseplant can be tricky to flower if not nurtured carefully. Read on to know the best tips on How to Make a Christmas Cactus Bloom at Christmas!
Most Common Mistakes that Stops Christmas Cactus to Bloom
- Overwatering during the blooming season
- Keeping the soil too dry once buds appear
- Over-fertilizing after visible flower buds
- Interrupted darkness
- Locating the plant in direct sunlight after bud formation.
- Placing the cactus at a windy location, which blows away the flower buds
- Pruning the plant during blooming season
- Frequent repotting of the succulent
How to Make a Christmas Cactus Bloom at Christmas?
1. Ideal Light & Temperature Conditions
Proper light and temperature is the most crucial part of making a Christmas cactus bloom. They bloom best when the days are short, and the temperature is moderately cool.
- Firstly, tuck your Christmas cactus indoors. Keep it at a temperature around 60 F (15-16 C) until the first flower buds appear.
- During this period, your succulent needs uninterrupted darkness of 14-16 hours (or at least 12 hours) and 8-9 hours of bright indirect sunlight (no harsh direct sunlight) for at least 4-6 weeks or until the buds appear.
- For the best result, don’t turn on even a light bulb where you’re keeping the plant for some days.
- If you can’t maintain a dark room–the best trick is to cover the plant with something like a cardboard box at a fixed time in the evening and uncover it in the morning.
- It’s ideal to begin this cycle from mid-September to get full blooms during Christmas. However, you can do this as late as early November. After this period of intense darkness, the plant will show its first flower buds after some time.
- The blooms will appear in 6-12 weeks after doing this.
Pro Tip: Do not let artificial lighting in your room disturb the dark environment of the cactus.
2. Minimal Watering
A blooming Cactus will adorn your tea table this Christmas if you swear by a few steps!
- Water your Christmas cactus sparingly until the appearance of the first flower buds.
- Allow excess water to drain out from the soil. Water-logged conditions will rot your succulent.
- Moisten only when the topsoil feels dry to the touch. This will allow the plant to enter dormancy, which will encourage it to bloom.
- After it has formed buds, start watering it regularly to promote more blooms.
- Once the flower buds appear, avoid inconsistent watering. One long dry spell and buds may fall.
- Make sure not to overwater it either, as it may cause bud drop.
Christmas cactus is an epiphytic succulent and belongs to the rainforests of Brazil, which means it grows in shady and humid surroundings naturally. This is the reason why it enjoys some coolness and humidity around it. Ensure the right humid conditions to help your succulent bloom.
- Christmas cactus needs 50-60% humidity in the air to bloom. Use a humidifier to raise the moisture in the air.
- You can create a DIY humidity tray on dry days by filling a saucer with pebbles and halfway water. The water will then evaporate, making the atmosphere humid. Make sure to place the pot above the waterline in the saucer.
- You can also mist your cactus to supply more humidity, but this trick doesn’t work that well compared to the above two. Also, misting must not be done when the plant is in dormancy.
4. Do Not Move
Bud drop can be heart-breaking if you are not cautious while handling Christmas cactus.
- Moving your cactus from one location to another will cause a sudden change in light and temperature conditions, which will drop off the forming flower buds.
- New buds are too fragile.
- Please do not move the succulent or alter the growing conditions until it shows full prominent buds.
- Once the buds appear, you can start regular care of the plant. Move it to a little warmer and brighter spot and start consistent watering.
- But avoid sudden change than previous conditions. Don’t try to position it at a sunny spot, a location with cold drafts and extreme temperature change.
- Basically, don’t expose the plant to any stressful conditions once it forms the buds.
Pruning the plant at the right time is the best trick to get more blooms at Christmas.
- Trim your cactus after a month or two of the blooming season. At this time, the plant enters the growing phase and grows new leaves.
- Pinch out 1-2 segments to give it a bushy look. It will then branch out with new leaves, which will further bloom.
- Pruning is best done in spring and can be done until late spring for best growth. But do NOT touch the plant in its dormancy or just before the blooming season.
Christmas cactus loves to stay root-bound. Keep a few things in mind while re-potting.
- Repot it in every three years or when the growth seems to have stopped, and it’s looking too pot bound.
- The best time to repot a Christman cactus is during the summer months when it’s branching out new leaves. This helps the plant to adapt to the new conditions before the flowering process starts.
- Never transplant this succulent after the buds appear; it will result in bud drop.
The right feeding schedule is crucial for the plant to bloom during Christmas.
- Feed your cactus with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer like 20-20-20 or 20-10-20 in a weak dose (half or one-quarter of the recommended strength), once in 2-4 weeks during the growing period.
- Usually, from March to October (or up to November), this will strengthen the roots and overall growth of the plant.
- You can fertilize year-round in a frost-free climate (USDA Zones 10-11), whenever the plant needs.
- You can also apply a meager amount (1 teaspoon in a gallon of water) of Epsom salt dissolved in water sometimes as this plant wants extra magnesium.
- Never fertilize a Christmas cactus after visible budding and when it is flowering, as it will drop off the buds.
- Stop fertilizing the succulent once the plant stops growing, i.e., in the winter months. Feeding the plant while it’s not actively growing will result in salt buildup around the root, which will keep off blooming.