When a holiday season is approaching we wish to surround ourselves with festive atmosphere. And festive-looking plants is an excellent idea for the house decoration. Cacti are charming and unpretentious in planting and care. They are not considerably prone to diseases and pests. Christmas cacti bloom every year and live longer than other popular plants. Why not to plant one of blooming cacti at home? There are a few kinds of holiday cacti, like Christmas cactus, Easter cactus and Thanksgiving cactus, which bloom periods occur respectively during the mentioned holidays. We are going to highlight the specific features and the difference between this sucu and other holiday cacti.
Christmas cactus is referred to the genus Schlumbergera. This is scientific name . It originates from Brazil and South America, where it grows like an epiphyte plant upon the trees’ stems and branches or in the soil, near the roots of the trees.
How To Bloom
Cacti are amazing, especially when they are blooming. It has rounded leaf lobes and flower coloring varying from pink and purple to white and red varieties.
The range of shapes and colors of Christmas cactus, however, is supplied with new hybrids annually. You may come across peach, yellow, lavender, orange-red, salmon colors and multicolored flowers. All these colors fit the joyful atmosphere of Christmas perfectly and will match greatly with the other items of your home décor.
White Xmas cactus is an excellent present, especially for a lady. Its tender snow-white petals with pink specks in the center can’t leave anyone indifferent to its delicate beauty. If you want your cactus to bloom plentifully, start providing it with 12-hour dark treatments, i.e. simply keep your plant in the dark during the night time.
How to Plant
Cacti needs well-drained soil for planting. Peat moss with sand (1:1) will do fine. You may plant the cactus from a stem cutting or purchase a young plant in a small pot that you will later re-plant to a bigger container.
If you are planting the cactus from a stem cutting, make sure that the cutting has 3 segments or more. Push the cutting into the planting soil so that 25% of the lower segment is buried into the soil. After planting, keep the cactus in the place where it will be getting indirect sunlight. Put the plant in the light but not in a sunny place. Direct sun rays are harmful for the cactus.
Mist the soil lightly. New growth is expected in about 2 weeks after planting. Until it appears, mist the soil just slightly. Get to regular watering only after the cactus shows its new growth.
Many people, having a holiday cactus aren’t quite sure, which exactly kind they have. Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti look very much the same So what’s the difference? Look attentively at your cactus.
If you have a plant with even petal distribution and rounded leaves, you are growing a Christmas cactus. One-sided petal distribution and pointed leaves are characteristic features for Thanksgiving cactus.
Xmas cactus is truly a magical plant. It’s getting ready to impress you with its stunning blossom when all the other species of cacti are preparing for the winter quiet period. Once you master the main principles of the care for this cacti, you will enjoy the charming blossom of a healthy plant every winter during the next 20 years and longer! The cactus will fill your room harmoniously with its exotic beauty.
How To Care
Once you see Christmas cactus in all its beauty of the stunning blossom, you simply can’t resist acquiring this grand plant. And this is a very right decision. This kind of cactus with little care will decorate your dwelling successfully for the next few decades. Growing cacti isn’t difficult at all. You must simply take into account the basic principles of its care. Here they are.
10 Main Principles for the Luxuriously Blooming Holiday Cactus
Christmas cactus is a quite unpretentious plant. But its care differs a lot from the care needed for regular cacti.
- Christmas cacti require a well-illuminated place or semi-shadow, as it doesn’t tolerate direct sun light. Opt for a light place on a not too warm window-sill, facing the northern, eastern or western side.
- The plant doesn’t like to change its location, that’s why try not to move it from place to place without need. This rule is especially crucial for the bloom period. The cactus may shed its buds and flowers if relocated during its blooming.
- The best temperature for the plant is 12-16° С.
- In summer period (till the middle of October) it’s better to move the cactus to the garden or balcony in the shadow.
- Cactus doesn’t like drying up but it will not be happy when overly moistened either. That will cause its sensitive roots to rot.
- The best time to repot cactus is spring or summer, when it’s blooming period is over.
- In summer the plant suffers from high temperatures and low air humidity. That’s why it’s recommended to spray cactus with water.
- From March till October it’s highly advisable to fertilize the plant with a mineral fertilizer for the cacti every 2 weeks.
- Starting from September, watering of the cactus need to be reduced. As soon as new buds and leaves appear, the plant must be relocated into a warm place (up to 20°С) and its watering needs to be increased.
- A short day and low temperature encourage development of flower buds. As soon as they appear the plant has to be moved to a warmer room (up to 22°С), where it’s going to stay all the blooming period through.
Well-drained soil for cactus will prevent water stagnation and spreading of fungal diseases, causing root rotting. To make sure your cactus will strike the root and produce the new healthy growth fast, purchase sterile soil mixture. Opt for one of these:
- peat and sand (1:1)
- perlite (70%) and peat (30%)
- vermiculite (70%) and peat (30%)
How To Root
It’s easy to propagate Christmas cactus as it roots well from stem cuttings. Pinch off a few cuttings with at least 3 segments each and let them dry for about 4 hours. That time is needed to let a cutting cover the place where it was pinched off with callus. While the cuttings are drying, prepare the planting medium. Water the soil mixture and let it drain for about 30 minutes. Place the cutting into the soil about 1 inch deep.
It’s better to plant a few cutting at the same time as one of them may not strike root. Cover the planted cactus with a transparent plastic bag. Place the plant into a warm place in a shadow. Moist the soil and keep plastic bag on for approximately 3 weeks until the cactus shows a new growth. Then, remove the plastic bag and care for your cactus on a regular basis.
As you see, with a desire, little patience and care, you may enjoy one miracle more for Christmas time. Abundantly blooming Christmas cactus is truly an amazing spectacle, almost a miracle.