Squak Talk Blog

Caring For Your Christmas Cactus

Bright multi petaled blooms and unique succulent foliage make Christmas cactus, or Zygocactus, a favorite each holiday season. Long-lasting blossoms are available in tones of pink, purple, white and red. While you can certainly treat this popular seasonal houseplant as an annual, it’s also possible to keep them alive and happy year-round, and have them re-bloom the next year. If you’re a houseplant nurturer, here are the steps to take for optimum holiday flowering:

November – January
Enjoy your beautiful blooming houseplant. Place in bright, indirect light and water deeply whenever the top inch of soil is mostly dry. Fertilize once a month with any houseplant fertilizer.

February – March
Once your plant stops producing new blooms, it’s time for a well-deserved rest! Place your Zygocactus in a dark, cool spot where temperatures stay around 55 degrees. Allow soil to mostly dry out before watering. Don’t fertilize.

April – August
Wake up your plant by moving it to a warm location and water more frequently. Christmas cactus like damp potting mix, so don’t let the soil dry out too much. For best results, move outside once temperatures stay above 55 degrees at night. Keep your plant out of direct sunlight and protect from slugs and other pests, as Christmas cactus placed in direct light will develop bleached leaves. If you can’t move it outside, place your plant several feet away from a south or west-facing window, or under a plant-spectrum light bulb for 10-12 hours a day.

September – October
Keep soil mostly dry until buds begin to form, and bring inside once temperatures drop below 55 degrees. Once buds form, resume regular watering. Make sure your buds set by avoiding big temperature changes and fluctuations in watering, and avoid moving your plant too many times. When properly cared for, Christmas cactus are rewarding, beautiful houseplants that grow into large, impressive specimens. Some plants stay in families for generations. Stop by the Garden Shed at Squak Mt. Nursery this season and let us help you start your own holiday houseplant tradition!

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