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Little Red Hen's Blog

Nursery Compendium-02 Christmas Cactus

When it comes to the holiday season, several plants come to mind. While Christmas trees and poinsettias are some of the more famous examples, the Christmas Cactus is not to be missed! They have fleshy, segmented stems with flat, jagged leaves. Between late November and February, the ends of these stems bloom into vivid pink, magenta, and lilac flowers.

These cacti are native to rain forests as opposed to deserts and, as such, require considerably more water than their more famous counterparts, needing water every two to three weeks. The cacti do require good drainage, however, making it important to use well-draining soil and pots. Fertilize them every two weeks from spring through early fall, while in the fall and winter they’ll only need to be fertilized once a month or so. This ensures that the plant will bloom properly. Like many other plants, they require pruning in late spring to allow for more branching and flower buds. Environmentally, they prefer cool, humid air with an ideal temperature range between 60 and 70℉. Bright, indirect sunlight is best for them, as direct sunlight can bleach their sensitive leaves.

There are several species of Christmas Cacti, which all have the same general care requirements, though they bloom at different times. There’s the Thanksgiving Cacti, the eponymous Christmas Cacti, and the Easter Cacti.

It is actually the Thanksgiving Cacti that blooms from late November to February, while Christmas Cacti bloom from early winter to mid-winter. The Easter Cacti blooms the latest, blooming from late winter to mid-spring. So if you want beautiful blooms in time for Christmas, it’s important to pick your variety with care. Happy holidays to all! We’ll see you next year!

Posted by Gabrielle Green

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