All About: Christmas Cactus
These showy plants can live a long time and be passed down for years (like 100+ years) and are popular gifts because of their bright blooms. But these plants are unique for many reasons!
The first is that they are originally from the Brazilian rainforest. So while they are technically in the succulent family, they prefer high humidity and regular waterings. Christmas Cactus are one of three different specialty "holiday" cacti. Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus all have slightly different leaf shapes and bloom around their respective holidays.
These showy bloomers are an easy care houseplant. Follow these care tips for best results!
Lighting: Bright indirect or filtered light. See the “rebloom” notes for lighting tips prior to holiday time.
Temperature: These rainforest natives like 65-70 degree temps; keep away from heat sources and cold drafts
Water: High humidity is best. If your home is dry, try placing your plant on a shallow dish of decorative rock and keeping the dish well watered.... the water will naturally evaporate up around your plant. Water thoroughly when the top inch of the soil is dry. Allow to drain well. Your cactus' leaves should look firm and "slightly full" - you'll notice they get thin and wrinkly if you aren't watering enough.
Fertilizer: Feed once a month June-August with a houseplant fertilizer mixed at half-strength
To force a re-bloom: 6-8 weeks before the desired bloom start date, you can either reduce light or temperature on a schedule. For the light treatment, place the cactus in a completely dark room or closet for 12 hours per day (7 pm - 7 am for example) every day for the 6-8 week time frame. Alternately, expose your plant to lower temps (50-55 degrees) during that same time frame and schedule.
This plant may just be our favorite of all the Christmas bloomers - it's interesting and beautiful even without the blooms and can tolerate inconsistent waterings!