“Expert Tips for Encouraging Christmas Cactus Blooms: Bringing Back the Beauty of Your Plant
Whether you’re eager to see your Christmas cactus bloom for the holiday season or hoping to revive its blooms when they’ve seemingly disappeared, expert advice is at your fingertips.
Christmas cacti, also known as Thanksgiving or holiday cacti, typically bloom from November to January. However, coaxing them to bloom again relies on the right room temperature and lighting conditions. Can you persuade your plant to bloom once more? The answer is yes!
Here, we’ve gathered top recommendations for watering, lighting, and maintaining the perfect temperature to relish the beauty of Christmas cactus blooms once more.
How to Induce a Christmas Cactus to Bloom
1. Optimal Lighting: Expose your Christmas cactus to a week of shorter days and longer nights. In a typical northern hemisphere winter, this means approximately 8 hours of daylight and 16 hours of darkness. Place it on a windowsill in a less frequently used room, as even artificial light can disrupt its flowering.
2. Suitable Room Temperature: Christmas cacti thrive in cooler temperatures, ideally not exceeding 18°C (64°F). Keep them away from radiators to encourage blooming.
3. Dark Period: For a second bloom, reduce the daily light exposure to 12-14 hours of darkness, ideally in a cooler room at around -12°C (10°F).
4. Proper Watering: Adjust your watering routine, focusing on the top inches of soil and waiting until it’s dry to the touch before watering again. This change in conditions prompts the plant to enter a dormant period, essential for new spring blooms.
5. Fertilization Timing: Fertilize during the spring to fall growing season to support your Christmas cactus’s health and encourage future blooms.
Once you’ve applied these strategies, your Christmas cactus should be on its way to blossoming again.
When to Expect Christmas Cactus Blooms
Christmas cacti typically bloom from November to January. While they usually bloom once, with the right conditions like shorter days, longer nights, and cooler room temperatures, you can prompt them to bloom once more in the spring.
Timing for Blooms
Keira Kay, a plant expert at Bloom & Wild, notes that it takes six to eight weeks for buds to appear and an additional eight to 12 weeks for the blooms to fully develop. Each bloom typically lasts five to seven days, while the plant itself may take three to six weeks to bloom.
Why Your Christmas Cactus Might Not Be Blooming
If your Christmas cactus is blooming but not sprouting new growth, various factors may be at play. Possible reasons include:
1. Temperature: Ensure that the room is neither too warm nor too cold. Secondary sprouting requires cooler conditions (10-12°C), while primary sprouting occurs at temperatures between 15 to 21°C (60–70°F).
2. Overwatering: Avoid overwatering, and allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering again. Ensure proper drainage to prevent root rot.
3. Pruning: If the plant is too full, consider pruning by removing older stems at the base. You can propagate Christmas cacti for a fresh start.
4. Misidentification: Confirm that you indeed have a Christmas cactus, as there are other cacti that resemble it, such as Thanksgiving and Easter cacti.
Remember that a shift in temperature, less watering, and patience can help your Christmas cactus thrive and produce beautiful blooms. With the right care, you can enjoy its vibrant colors during the holiday season.”