How to Propagate a Christmas Cactus

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How to Propagate a Christmas Cactus

Image Credit: Maja Dumat via Flickr using licence: Creative Commons Licence BY 2.0

Whether you’re a beginner in the indoor plant world, you think you have a black thumb, or you’re a plant aficionado, you can’t go wrong with a Christmas cactus! Also known as the Easter or Thanksgiving cactus, the Schlumbergera bridgessii is a winter-flowering houseplant. 

Who doesn’t love to see flowers in winter? In the northern hemisphere, it is rarer to see them growing in your home. But with a Christmas cactus, you can have bright, beautiful flowers right in the most grey and dark months of the year! 

Not only is a Christmas cactus simple to care for, propagating it is just as easy. So if you’re looking for a thoughtful, homegrown gift for the holidays, look no further! 

How to Care for a Christmas Cactus 

Christmas cacti prefer an average atmosphere with temperatures between 60-70 degrees and average to high humidity. It can survive in low-light situations but will thrive and bloom more in brighter light (but not too much light, or you will burn it!). 

Your cactus can bloom multiple times in a year. If you’re hoping to achieve this, put your plant on a “short day cycle” and offer it just eight hours of light per day and 16 hours of dark. 

During its active growing times in spring and summer, the cactus needs thorough watering. But when you’re about 6-8 weeks away from when you want your plant to bud again, you help it enter its dormant cycle by reducing the moisture and reducing light and temperature. 

Propagating Your Christmas Cactus 

Propagating is simply growing a new plant from an existing plant. It’s easy to propagate a Christmas cactus! Just be sure you take your cutting from a healthy segment. 

Cut a short, y-shaped piece from the end of a still-thriving section then plant this piece about a fourth of its length deep in somewhat sandy soil. Wet the soil all over and place it in a sunny place, but not in direct sunlight. 

Be sure not to overwater your new cactus! Keep it watered, but not soaked. Once roots or new growth develop, water it as usual.  

It will take around two to three weeks for your new cutting to root. Once roots form, it’s important to move your new cuttings into a separate pot, one where it will have room to thrive. 

Gifting a Christmas Cactus 

Depending on when you plan to gift the cactus, keep in mind that it will need to be dormant for 6-8 weeks before buds form. Once the buds form, you’ll want to transplant the cactus.

It can usually take up to 12 weeks for the plant to bloom after this, so gifting it should probably happen any time after the 8-week mark, or whenever buds appear. 

No matter when you plan to gift it since a Christmas cactus can bloom multiple times a year, it will be a thoughtful present!

Schlumbergera (Christmas Cactus) Care and Propagation – VIDEO

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Image Credit: Maja Dumat via Flickr using licence: Creative Commons Licence BY 2.0

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