Christmas Cactus: A Long-Lived Holiday Plant

The Christmas Cactus (aka Zygocactus) is a tropical plant. It is not from the desert and it likes moisture.

It comes in a variety of colors such as red, white, rose, and purple. The red cactus is the traditional holiday plant.

It makes a great gift when in full bloom and it adds ease in decorating.

This pretty winter plant produces tubular flowers that grow on pendulous stems that reach 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm), then cascades--a great choice for a hanging basket.

This Zygocactus brightens up your holiday and accentuates your home during the festive times of Christmas. The colorful blooms add instant color and cheerfulness.

This is a long-lived plant. With proper care, this plant can be passed
down from one generation to the next to add delight to your home during the festive times of Christmas. Just remember this plant does not like hot and cold drafts and should never be placed near a door that opens to the outside. Keep away from heating ducts and fireplaces.

How to Care for Christmas Cactus

Light: Keep plant in bright, indirect light - Medium light for growth and High light for flowering (near bright east
or south window).

Temperature: Average household temperature, but needs cool nights (55 degrees) for buds to develop.

Water: Water thoroughly so that the water runs out of the bottom into a saucer, empty the excess water and let the soil dry out before the next watering, this is necessary to prevent root rot.

Humidity: It likes moisture and requires about 50 to 60 percent humidity. A humidity tray is a good method of providing the humidity it requires. This is done by filling a waterproof tray with gravel, then adding water halfway up the grave, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the pot. Place the pot on the gravel surface. The needed humidity is provided as the water evaporates.

Soil: The ideal soil is rich and porous - composed of equal parts of garden loam, leaf mold and clean coarse builder's sand ("sandbox sand") available from any large garden center or hardware store.

Repotting: They flower best when crowded in their pots and can be repotted any time they are not forming buds or blooming, in late winter/early spring.

Propagation: Stem cutting with 2 segments. Allow cuttings to dry a minimum of 24 hours to seal over. Using moist 1/2 peat moss and 1/2 perlite soil mix. Plant the cutting half the depth of the first segment in the soil mix. Set cuttings in a bright window. Mist with water to keep soil from drying out completely.

When new growth appear on the cuttings, water. When new segment forms, fertilize until October. Keep plant cool in bright light during day, but keep away from artificial light at night. This is necessary to promote flowering.