It’s that time of year again when the Christmas cactus are blooming like crazy here at Seven Oaks. If you’ve had trouble getting your Christmas cactus to bloom, a few simple tips:
- Make sure they get 12 hours of complete darkness each night. Bring them into bright light during the day. The darkness cures them to set bud.
- Keep temperatures at night cool. The upper 50s into the lower 60s are ideal. Temperature is another cue for the plants to bl0ssom.
- Water so that the plants are kept evenly moist. Don’t let them dry out in between watering. Drying out in between watering makes the buds fall off.
If all else fails, try moving your plant to a new location. A little water-soluble fertilizer may help, too.
For local friends, my latest article in Farmville: the Magazine (about our town of Farmville, not the game!) includes more info on the plants.
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Happy gardening! Keep growing!
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.
Hi Jeanne. I enjoyed your article about Christmas Cactus in the Farmville magazine. You did a good job of bringing attention to this group of plants. I’ll bet at least a few readers have gone out and purchased one or now have a new appreciation of an existing one.
My care regime is extra simple. As soon as all danger of frost is past in the spring I set mine(a white Thanksgiving Cactus) outside, usually on the ground, under a group of trees. There it gets fairly heavy shade, no direct sun at all, and I don’t water it. It gets only what water falls from the sky. As temperatures drop in the fall the cactus slowly begins to set buds. I leave it out usually until early November. Even a few light frosts are no bother with the pot being under trees. When I bring it in it is already covered in buds and begins to bloom in a matter of days. I think summering them outdoors is one key to success. They also don’t need much soil. Can stay in the same pot for years.
Again, I enjoyed your article in the magazine and your blog.
Town of Farmville
David, it was very kind of you to share your tips and to leave a note on my blog. Thank you and have a happy holiday!