A Christmas cactus plant is a very special tropical plant blooming during the Christmas season. It can also bloom during the Easter. Growing a Christmas cactus requires utmost care because of its sensitivity to direct sunlight and high temperature.
When exposed to sunlight, the leaves may be burned or wilt. It cannot tolerate overwatering due to its tendency to rot. The number of blossoms a Christmas cactus can produce during the holiday depends on the amount of indirect light around it.
Setting a cool temperature starting from November contributes to the success of its bloom. Another effective way to increase its blossom production is the use of dark treatment.
Starting from Mid-October, you can put the plant in a dark room for at least twelve hours every night.
Indeed, quality effort is needed in Christmas cactus propagation. Not all of us are aware of the beauty of its blossoms.
But if we start learning how to plant Christmas Cactus now, I’m sure that when the holiday comes, you will appreciate its blooms.
How To Plant A Christmas Cactus
Just like other types of cacti, Christmas cactus propagation requires cutting its stem.
Do Christmas cactus grow from bulbs like the Amaryllis? The answer is no
Going back to cutting, first, you have to choose a healthy stem where the cutting would be taken.
Using a scissor or any sharp edged cutter, take a portion from the tip of the stem, cutting it at the joint. Bare hands can also twist it.
The Y-shaped cutting should consist of three segments. Let it dry for few hours in order to avoid rotting when planted. Growing Christmas cactus from cuttings is the most common way to propagate.
When the cutting is ready to be planted, you need a mixture of moistened moss and soil. Plant half portion of the segment to the mixture. The planted part should be long enough not to be uprooted.
Make sure that the moist in the soil is maintained by sprinkling it with small amount of water. The plant should be placed in a room with enough light. Always remember to keep it away from the direct light of the sun.
- Normally, the planted cutting will wilt, but there is no need to be alarmed, that is part of the process. After that, you will notice new growth from the cutting, that’s the sign that it is already rooting.
When roots are already grown enough to support the plant, it can now be transferred to a pot. For a more successful result, add organic fertilizer to the soil where you are going to plant it.
By this time, additional amount of water and light should be considered. It is very easy to propagate a Christmas cactus.
- Another way of propagation is by division. How do you divide a Christmas cactus? You do it when the cactus is already mature and the roots are more than one.
This is being done after the blooming and resting period. But still growing Christmas cactus from cuttings is more common than this process.
Can A Christmas Cactus Survive an Outdoor Environment?
The question most people ask is; what happens to a Christmas cactus outside the home? Most plants need direct sunlight to survive and produce its food through photosynthesis.
But amazingly for a Christmas cactus, the direct light coming from the sun can burn its leaves. It is one of the most sensitive plants, which requires indoor atmosphere for it to survive.
- The usual advice you can get from any plant expert is to put it inside your home where it can get limited temperature and enough indirect light.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot put your Christmas cactus outside the home. The only thing that you have to consider when placing it outside is to choose a shady place where the raise of the sun cannot reach it.
When the outside humidity is lesser that what the plant needs, you can use a tray filled with pebbles and water where you would place the pot. The water from the tray will create temporary humidity for the Christmas cactus outside.