So I was at a Christmas Party and we did a Dirty Santa gift exchange and I came home with a Christmas Cactus! Has this ever happened to you? Or have you admired someone’s plant and they gave it to you? Or maybe they just gave you a piece of their plant? And now you wonder, just HOW do care for a Christmas Cactus, now that Christmas is over?
I wrote about three easy care plants for pots here , but do you want an easy to care for houseplant with gorgeous blooms? Then try the Christmas Cactus. You can get different varieties if you prefer red blooms, or pink blooms, or white blooms! Some also will bloom earlier, closer to Thanksgiving, and some later, much closer to spring.
So you’ve got your plant home. Now what?
First of all, those pretty papers that they wrap around Christmas plants need to be removed. They hold in too much moisture and don’t allow the soil to breathe. So take the pretty paper off. You will then see an ugly pot. So your next step might be to repot into a prettier pot. Do not plant it in pot that is too large because pot bound plants tend to bloom better. Instead of repotting, you can just sit the existing pot inside of a prettier pot.
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These plants like to be kept moist. So don’t let them dry out, but don’t let them sit in water either because they don’t like soggy.
They do like light, but not direct sun. I am hoping that mine will get enough light, but I have a very dark house so I am not sure. I’ve had mine in the living room and am keeping my fingers crossed, but I may have to move it back to the kitchen where it is much brighter.
About once a month you should feed your plant. I usually stick with Miracle Gro.
In the early fall, say around September or October, you need to quit feeding and take your plant to a dark cool room and only water sparingly to keep it alive. An unused guest bedroom will work, or even the basement. You are creating a dormancy period for your plant which will encourage it to produce buds in about 6-8 weeks. Once you see buds it will take at least another 6 weeks before you have blossoms.
Once it starts to bloom, you can take your cactus back into your living space to enjoy. Be sure to place it in a sunny draft free area, but not in full sun. Resume regular watering and enjoy those gorgeous flowers.
Interested in Houseplants? You might like to read 3 Easy Care Plants for Pots.