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Christmas Cactus

Christmas Cactus


Showy white and pink blooms just in time for Christmas!


By FamilyTime

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Christmas cacti, which are a tropical plant, are not as drought tolerant as the cacti that grow in the dessert, but they are low-maintenance plants.

Most of us buy them at this time of year in full bloom, but with just a little care, they will bloom year after year.

When to Water

These hardy plants need to be watered only when their soil feels dry a few inches into the pot. At this time, water them thoroughly.

Pour out any water that sits in the drain dish for more than a few hours. Let the cacti dry out to the same degree before watering again.

What to Feed

While feeding the cactus with plant food will not extend its blossom, a little nourishment several times during the winter will do it good.

Make sure you don’t overfeed the cactus. It does not do will with too much fussing. It does like well aerated soil.

To Bloom Again

These cacti bloom when they are kept in the dark for half the day for six to eight weeks. They also bloom when they are kept in a cool area for half the day with temperatures hovering in the 50s.

When they are not in the dark, keep the cacti in good light to promote good bloom.

The cool temperatures are more effective than the dark and so if you have a cool place, such as a mud room with windows or a cool sunroom, set your cacti there. Otherwise, put them in a closet or dark room for 12 hours every day during October and November.

Once the cacti finish blooming, pinch or cut off a few sections from each branch to encourage healthy growth and more blooms next year.

Summer Care

These cacti can tolerate the summer heat just fine, but don’t like direct sun. If you take them outside during the warm months, park them under trees or another shady area.

Bring them inside when the weather cools. Acclimate them slowly; do not suddenly haul them from the cool outdoors into a hothouse environment. Do this over time and you will be well rewarded with splendid blooms!

 



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