From Holiday Star to Year-Round Delight: A Guide to Post-Bloom Christmas Cactus Care

Holiday Plants| Houseplants| Succulents

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi) are one of the rare houseplants that bloom during the winter which makes it so beautiful when you look outside and everything else is dreary and dormant. This plant also will teach you patience and reward you for the tender loving care given all the other months. With a little care, you can keep your Christmas cactus alive and thriving for years to come!

Here are some tips for caring for your Christmas cactus after the holidays:

Light:

  • Christmas cacti need bright, indirect light. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.
  • In the spring and summer, you can move your Christmas cactus outdoors to a shady spot. Bring it back inside before the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water:

  • Water your Christmas cactus when the top inch of soil feels dry. Don’t let the soil dry out completely, but don’t overwater it either, as this can cause the roots to rot.
    • It’s especially important to water well while the plant is flowering.
  • Use room-temperature water to water your Christmas cactus.

Fertilizer:

  • Feed your cacti every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant fertilizer from spring through early fall. Feed the cactus monthly in the fall and winter to encourage successful blooming.

Temperature:

  • Christmas cacti prefer cool temperatures, between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing them near heat vents or radiators.
  • In the fall, you can provide your Christmas cactus with a “chill period” by keeping it in a cool room (around 50 degrees Fahrenheit) for 6-8 weeks. This will help it set buds for next year’s blooms.

Pruning:

  • You can prune your Christmas cactus after it finishes blooming to encourage bushier growth. Just pinch off the ends of the stem segments.

Repotting:

  • Repot your Christmas cactus every 2-3 years, using a pot that is one size larger than the current pot. Use a well-draining potting mix.
    • Christmas cacti grow well in potting mixes formulated for succulents. Make sure you are buying a potting soil that drains well.

With a little effort, you can enjoy your Christmas cactus for many years to come!