Q:

How do you tend a Christmas cactus?

A:

Quick Answer

For a Christmas cactus to thrive, it needs bright but indirect light. It should be kept near a window if indoors and under shade if kept outdoors. A Christmas cactus requires regular watering. Wait until the soil is dry before adding more water to prevent leaf damage.

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Full Answer

Place the plant in a dark and cool room, such as a closet or garage, six to eight weeks before Christmas. The temperature should be in the 50 to 60 degree Fahrenheit range. Keep the plant in this environment for 12 hours each night, and move the plant to an indoor window location for the 12 hours of daytime. A careful balance of darkness and light should produce beautiful blooms in time for Christmas.

Only water the plant if the top layer of soil feels dry. Prune the stems to encourage new growth once the blooms have faded.

The Christmas cactus has origins in tropical rain forests of South America. New plants may be started from a parent plant by transplanting a cutting of at least three stem segments into a small pot of soil. The cutting should take root within four to six weeks. Families often share cuttings from special Christmas cactus plants like those that belonged to grandmothers or special friends.

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