Easter Cactus To Welcome Spring

Easter Cactus flowers on stems

The Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsiss Gaertneri)  native to
the rain forests in South America. It is an epiphytic plant which naturally grows in trees.

The brilliant scarlet, starlike flowers are 2 inches across and made up of a symmetrical fringe of 12 to 15 pointed petals. These petals open fully and radiate out near the tips of the cascading jointed, spine-free stems.

This flowering plant can produce an attractive floral display with flowers that continue to  open and close for 10 to 14 days. It is often confused with the Christmas cactus which only last four or five days.

The Rhipsalidopsiss Gaertneri is an easy to grow houseplant that adapts well to the dry interior of the home. It looks very attractive planted in a decorative cache pot.   This  is truly a unique spring holiday gift.

How to Re-bloom  Easter Cacti

To get your plant to bloom again, give it cooler temperatures in winter and reduce watering.  To encourage a fuller plant with more blooms, trim off the last segments just above the joint to make new stem growth. 

Easter Cactus Care Tips

Light: This plant prefers a bright light near an east or
south window. It should never be exposed to full sunlight
or midday sunlight.

Watering:  Water thoroughly and allow the potting soil to
slightly dry before watering again.  Do not allow water
to sit in the dish underneath the plant. Avoid overwatering and underwatering to prevent limbs from dropping.

Humidity: This tropical plant requires a humid environment to survive. The plant should be misted with a sprayer daily, even during the rest period, to simulate the needed humidity.

Temperature: The tropical Rhipsalidopsiss Gaertneri prefers temperatures around 75-80°F (24-27°C). Can tolerate  40 degrees without damage.

Soil: A ready-made cactus potting mix will work for this plant. If you prefer, you can make your own with a 1:1 mixture of potting soil to pumice, tree bark, perlite or pumice.

Fertilizer: Feed every 14 days when the flowers begin to fade. Use a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer, and dilute to half  strength. Do not fertilize during resting period (fall and winter).

Repotting should be done in mid-late Summer to Fall right
after blooming has finished. Remove only the loose soil around  the roots and immediately transfer it to a pot that is a size larger and pack in with soil.

Propagation: Take a segment that is at least 3 inches long and      allow the cutting to harden for at least 48 hours. Plant the small end of the segment in shallow, moist perlite. Rooting will occur in 3-4 weeks.

Pests: Keep an eye out for thrips and spider mites since the warm temperature conditions inside are ideal for their reproduction.

The Easter cactus , with the succulent, green stems, also looks spectacular in hanging baskets.

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