Repot your cactus into a larger, terra cotta pot that is fairly shallow and wide with excellent drainage. Cut off the broken end, let dry for a few days, then plant or place it in a glass of water until roots form. If your Christmas Cactus is still in its decorative wrapping, cut holes in the bottom to allow drainage. The boost of nutrients from the rooting hormone will really give them a good head start. Spines instead of leaves. When temperatures dip, you should cover them or bring them inside. It is readily available online, as well as in most garden centers or home improvement stores, and fertilizer should be given monthly during regular watering, from late winter through fall. Go online or find a book on common cacti and compare pictures and descriptions to figure out which cactus you are dealing with before you begin the rescue mission. Oakes' Brooklyn home has four large south-facing windows, most of which are reserved for light-loving succulents. Christmas cactus are perennials and can live 20 or thirty years with proper care. Yes, you do have to water succulents! Root rot will result. If your Christmas Cactus leaves are changing colors, it is alerting you to problems with your plant’s health. The average lifespan of a Christmas cactus is between twenty and thirty years, but some have been known to live for a centennial! How to Keep a Cactus Alive. Buy a special cactus mix of potting soil, or create your own layering gravel, sand, and all-purpose potting soil. Cactus fruits come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Christmas, Winter Solstice, Yule. White Christmas cactus leaves are indicative of root rot, caused by overwatering (and or poor soil drainage). Anything over that can cause buds to fall off before they bloom. Roots will grow in three or four weeks. Common cactus ailments include rot, fungus, dull complexion, wilting, and a stunted growth due to poor light, poor soil, neglect, or too much water. When this happens, it is not usually curable, and it’s best to discard the entire plant to prevent the spread of the disease. You can still place them outside in a pot in northern areas of the country during mild weather in spring or fall. Species. After the plant has bloomed, pinch the spent blossoms to encourage new growth and branching. THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. Though you may think they're limited to the Desert Southwest, many are hardy enough to grow deep into Canada. Keep the plant in a well-lit location (like near a window) away from direct sunlight (which can stunt growth and burn the leaves), drafts, heat vents, fireplaces or other sources of hot air. Purple or brown leaves signifies damage to the roots and can be caused by too-frequent repotting. Indoors, left surface soil dry out to a few inches deep before watering, usually about once a week. The spiny leaves can irritate cats, who may like to rub up against them. The elegant, graceful flowers are the reward for the time and effort you put into them. Spring is a good time when they are beginning to grow again after blooming. There is a plethora of pertinent information on cacti growing, but unless you want to make cactus gardening a major hobby, focus on the basics. The indoors may be a greenhouse or … Speaking of water, don’t over water your plant. Plant about an inch deep in potting soil in a small pot. Mention @Budget101com or tag #Budget101. holiday plants are extremely dangerous for dogs and cats, 8 Most Dangerous Holiday Plants for Dogs & Cats, How to Keep a Christmas Cactus Alive (& Make it Thrive!). They're found primarily in the Americas, plus one species in tropical Africa. Keep watering to a minimum, the light should be indirect, and temperatures shouldn’t vary too widely. Feed after blooming in January and continue through fall. Keep out of the direct sun, especially if your windows face the south. Keep the plant in indirect sunlight. A shady spot on your porch is the right place in southern states. It is best you have a … Bring to a boil and mix thoroughly. Christmas cactus prefer their roots to be slightly crowded, so don’t transplant too often. How to keep cacti happy Get the light and watering right, and a cactus will be your best friend Heart of the matter: some cacti and succulents will thrive in conditions that are shady and less dry. 2. If your Christmas Cactus is still in its decorative wrapping, cut holes in the bottom to allow drainage. Brown leaves can also be a sign of rotting roots from over-watering. Although there are some shade-loving varieties, in general, succulents need light—lots and lots and lots of light. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! Cactus dormancy instructions Step 1: Reducing watering frequency. The best time to propagate is when the plant is healthy, usually right after blooming. The cactus family (Cactaceae) ranges from tiny to giant specimens. Blooms are delicate and come in a rainbow of lovely shades ranging from purple to pink, yellow, orange, red, and white. Christmas cactus will bloom from late December through January with just a little effort. As time passes the compost and fertilizer lose its effectiveness. Christmas cactus does not grow in soil in their native habitat. “Those drought-tolerant cactus gardens that people do in their front lawn that are just a bunch of gravel and a cactus… Adding or changing the container pot completely with new compost and fertilizer gives a great boost to growing cacti … The cause of leaf drop is typically due to overwatering. Soak the soil when watering, but be sure to remove any excess water that drains out the bottom. Gently wipe the dust off the cactus with a damp paper towel. Your email address will not be published. Step 2: Move your cactus to a cool and dry area. Buy a special cactus mix of potting soil, or create your own layering gravel, sand, and all-purpose potting soil. Don’t make the mistake of over-watering. One person is trying their best to keep a little baby succulent alive in one part of the world, while somebody else has their yard overrun with giant cacti that they’re struggling to get rid of. How to Keep a Christmas Cactus Alive & Make it Thrive. This means learning what kind of cactus you have, which soil it prefers, and how to pot, repot, and prune your cactus. You can also dust lightly with powdered rooting hormone. Water. Unfortunately, a black or slimy spot is the sign of a disease, either fungal or bacterial. Do you enjoy gardening? The Christmas cactus has round tips on their stem sections, and the flowers have pink pollen and hang down. Gently plant them in a small pot with good potting soil. It works in much the same way as a powdered hormone. This is preferred when planting the “pups”, not when rooting them in water. It should be plain, without sugar or cream. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money. Or, if you’re of the DIY persuasion, amend a … As you transplant the cactus, prune any dead or wilting roots with sharp scissors but be careful not to trim too much at once or you'll make the cactus more vulnerable to root rot and fungus. Unlike its desert cousins, the Christmas cactus is tropical. The leaves appear yellow at first and eventually turn white. Easter cactus may look similar, but they are an entirely different group. Speaking of water, don’t over water your plant. Overwintering soft succulents indoors is the best way to ensure they live if you’re in an area with cold winters. Even though this plant bears the name of a cactus, the care it needs has nothing to do with the typical desert cactus. Use a new pot that is only a bit bigger than the existing container. Most cactus plants need sandy soil and lots of direct sunlight to thrive. To easily root Christmas cactus in water, place up to four segments in a glass of water. The plant grows well when it is pot bound and prefers a rich and organic potting mix. Christmas cacti release oxygen at night, rather than during the day like most houseplants. To stay alive cacti and succulents need not only water but food which they get from compost and fertilizers. Never allow the potting mix to dry out if you want to keep it alive. Wear gardening gloves when handling Christmas cactus to protect your skin. The beautiful Christmas cactus, scientifically known as Schlumbergera, is relatively easy to grow and can be placed indoors or outside warm climates. Move an indoors plant outdoors in summer to a shady location. Originating in the rainforests of Brazil, they are succulent and do well in areas of high humidity. Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. Water the plant less frequently for six to eight weeks until you see buds forming. Let the cactus recover on a paper towel and repot in a few days, and the cactus should bounce back within a week or two. The oldest known Christmas cactus was 111 years old and had been passed down to family members for generations. Once established, most species of cacti need several hours of direct sunlight every day. You may sometimes get a second blooming in mid-February. How To Keep Your Succulents Alive – For Beginners. Handle with care to protect the roots and reduce the stress of repotting. Give them a treat! Be sure pots have good … Be sure to have a drainage hole in the pot and only water when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. Keeping succulents alive through winter is possible, and not complicated once you learn what they need. Here’s everything you need to know about caring for a Christmas cactus, watering frequency, feeding, repotting, as well as how to propagate new plants from cuttings. With a little research and care, most anyone can raise a thriving Christmas cactus. So, you’re the new owner of a beautiful Christmas cactus… and you’d like to keep it that way! Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →. We've all killed a cactus or three at some point. There is a plethora of pertinent information on cacti growing, but unless you want to make cactus gardening a major hobby, focus on the basics. 5 Get a plant food made specifically for cacti & succulents and feed them once in a while. Many areas of the United States, especially the southern and midwest states, are great for Christmas cactus. Lower the temperature to about 55 degrees, but not below 50 degrees. Red leaves, much like red skin in the summertime, are actually sunburned. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Over 90 degrees can be deadly. Here is a video below that I have made for my You tube channel on How to keep your cacti and Succulents clean and dust free: Clean rainwater is always preferred over tap water whenever possible, this is because the chemicals often found in tap water can often be high in lime and will to leave lime splashes over the plants. Fertilization : Apply a high-potassium fertilizer every two weeks once buds form. Just add one tablespoon of honey to two cups of water. The optimum temperature is between 60 to 80 degrees. To be more specific, this plant is classified as forest cactus. If it's too spiny for this, fill a bowl with lukewarm water and a dab of dishwashing liquid and swish the cactus gently to get rid of an accumulated dirt or dust. If your Christmas cactus suffers from bud-drop, the culprit is usually high temperatures. One way to prevent pests setting up home in and around your plant … Knowing which varieties you have and their specific needs is a good start to knowing how to keep them alive. How to Care for a Christmas Cactus. If you want to keep your succulents alive, you will want to plant them in a well draining soil. Here's what I love to do. Avoid direct sunlight. A Christmas cactus prefers moist, but not saturated soil. Keep the plant in indirect sunlight. Having one in your bedroom can give you a better night’s sleep by improving the air quality in your home. White-fleshed varieties are most common in Mexico and used in cooking applications. You may experience some discomfort while repotting them due to the spiny leaves that can cause itching and a rash. Cut right between the sections. How to Keep a Christmas Cactus Alive (& Make it Thrive!) You can prune in early summer to ensure plenty of flowers and prevent the “leggy” look. Similarly, they will start to die if left out in over 90-degree weather. Start with the right soil. Thanksgiving cactus segments have pointed tips, flowers that grow horizontally, and yellow pollen. If it still does a perk up, it's time for a transplant. The beautiful Christmas cactus, scientifically known as Schlumbergera, is relatively easy to grow and can be placed indoors or outside warm climates. Choose a sunny location. Sporting scalloped edges on the leaves, the flowers are star-shaped, and they bloom in spring. Search for: Most cactus plants need sandy soil and lots of direct sunlight to thrive. Light: Place the cactus in an east-facing window for moderate light and some direct sun. PROTECTION FROM PESTS. Water. Place the plant on a dish to catch excess water. Reddish purple-tinged leaves can be a sign of magnesium deficiency, often occurring during the winter months when feeding is less common. Transplantation : … Place the plant on a dish to catch excess water. At this point in the plant’s cycle, this is a great time to propagate some new plants to keep or share. Search Forums. For gardeners in Northern regions, growing cactus plants can be a prickly subject. Since the pollen from a Christmas cactus bloom does not float around, they aren’t likely to cause allergic reactions. The Christmas cactus can’t tolerate temperatures below freezing and shouldn’t be left outside in the winter in colder areas. Allow to cool to room temperature and simply dip your segments, the pups, and continue with planting. Just dip the cutting and shake off any excess right before putting it in soil. Water the plant when the top third portion of the soil begins to dry out. The plants don’t have real branches or leaves, like other plants. Leaves may also appear limp if the plant is getting too much water. If your cactus is about to kick the bucket, here's how to bring it back to life without too much effort on your part. How to Keep Your Succulents Alive. If it still does a perk up, it's time for a transplant. Add soil loosely, and be careful not to pack it too much. After budding, keep the soil moist throughout the container, but you don’t need to fertilize the plant during the blooming period. Outdoors, plants will need to be watered several times a week, especially during the summer months. Water your forest cactus as a normal houseplant during the summer months and when the buds begin to show. When the new roots reach an inch in length, it is ready to be planted. Since they are tropical plants, they thrive with daily misting and high humidity. A Christmas Cactus will appreciate bright but indirect light. Cactus … All Rights Reserved. By James Chrisman. Check the soil. They prefer a light daily misting. The shape of the leaves will tell you which one you have. Move to a north-facing window. Christmas, Winter Solstice, Yule. 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