All About Christmas Cactus

All About caring for Christmas Cactus

Schlumbergera buckleyi

The Christmas Cactus is a tropical cactus native to Brazil where it grows in rainforest. As the name suggests, these bloom right around Christmas and are often given as holiday gifts. Under the right conditions, they will bloom every Christmas. Once you learn all about caring for Christmas Cactus, you’ll have blooms for years to come!

As aside from the beautiful flowers, another feature that makes this plant highly desirable is that it is non-toxic and Pet Safe.

Of the three Holiday Cacti, Christmas is the hardest to identify. Thanksgiving and Christmas Cacti are often sold under the wrong name which only adds to the confusion. Check out our guide on identifying Holiday Cacti if you’re not sure which one you have.

Christmas Cactus Stem

How To Care for Christmas Cactus

All Holiday Cacti are epiphytes and grow from trees and rocks in their native Brazilian Rainforest environment. Unlike terrestrial plants, they prefer airy, loose soil and will struggle to survive in compact soil mixes. This is easily accomplished by adding orchid bark and perlite to traditional potting mixes found in most stores.

You can pot them up an inch or two once the roots start growing out of the bottom of the pot.

The average temperature and humidity in most home environments is perfect for these tropical plants. They love a bright, sunny window, especially during the cooler months but avoid direct summer sun.

Read on to learn more about caring for Christmas Cactus ……

USDA Zone 10-12

They don’t like to completely dry out like desert cacti so water when the top 1-2 inches of soil is dry. If you are unsure, stick your finger in the soil. Too much water can cause root rot.

These are medium-sized plants growing to around 2 feet wide. They can be kept compact and full by pruning. Read on to learn how.

They prefer bright, indirect light but can grow well in medium-light situations. They will survive in low light but not thrive.

Use an airy potting mix that drains well. Incorporate orchid bark and perlite into regular soil to create more airflow.

They are native to South America and like 50% or higher humidity levels.

Christmas Cactus is non-toxic and safe for children and pets. Find more pet-safe plants here.

Fertilize every three months during the growing season with Green Grub Insect Frass. You can either make a compost tea to water with every time or sprinkle a layer of fertilizer on top of the soil. If using synthetic, use an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer with a balanced ratio.

Propagate by stem cuttings. Read on for propagation instructions.

Christmas Cactus propagation

How to propagate Christmas Cactus

Propagating Christmas Cactus is easy and encourages bushier growth! It’s best to wait until your plant is actively growing in the spring to take cuttings.

1. Take a stem cutting from your plant that has two to three leaf sections on it. Make your cut where the two sections meet.

2. Place the cuttings in a dry, well-ventilated place for 24 hours while the cuts callus over.

3. Place the stem one inch deep into a potting mix or into a cup of water for water rooting.

4. Keep the soil moist and warm for best rooting conditions and you should have root growth in a couple of weeks. You can use this method to create new plants from cuttings or to fill out a current plant and make it larger and bushier.

Getting Your Christmas Cactus to Bloom

All of the Holiday Cacti are triggered to bloom when temperatures drop or rise due to seasonal changes. The Christmas Cactus blooms when temperatures and sunlight decrease during the fall and winter.

Depending on where you live and the temperature inside your home, you may need to remind your cactus that it’s winter and time to bloom.

Place your Christmas Cactus on a windowsill so that it is exposed to cooler temperatures and lack of sunlight. If you live far north and have cold winters, this may be all you need to do to trigger blooming.

If you live in the warmer south, you can also try putting it outside during the seasonal change from fall to winter. Just make sure the temperatures don’t drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or it could suffer from cold damage. Bring it inside at night if temperatures drop too low.

Another tip, these bloom better when they are slightly root bound.


We are here to spread our love of houseplants! There are many different varieties of plants that we keep in our homes. All of them with different needs and preferences. This blog is to share our knowledge about all kinds of houseplants and help people care for their own plants.

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