Christmas Cactus Care

The Christmas Cactus, known scientifically as Schlumbergera bridgesii, is a popular houseplant famous for its vibrant blooms around the holiday season. Unlike typical desert cacti, it hails from the tropical rainforests of Brazil, thriving in more humid conditions.

This unique cactus features hanging branches with flat, glossy green segments and flowers in a variety of colors including white, red, pink, yellow, and purple, bringing a festive cheer to any home.

christmas cactus

What Are the Best Practices for Christmas Cactus Care?

When you care for a Christmas Cactus, you make sure it has everything it needs to grow and stay healthy. To keep your Christmas cactus healthy, follow these best practices:

  • Soil: Use a well-draining soil mix. A combination of potting soil, sand, and perlite works well.
  • Temperature: Keep it in a room where the temperature is between 60-70°F.
  • Watering: Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry. Never let it sit in water.
  • Light: Place it in a spot with bright but indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Fertilization: Feed it with a half-strength fertilizer every month during the growing season.
  • Repotting: Repot every two to three years to refresh the soil. Do this in the spring.


The soil for a Christmas cactus should be light and well-draining. You can use a mix made for cacti or create your own by mixing regular potting soil with sand or perlite. The right soil helps your cactus get water and air to its roots.


The temperature your Christmas Cactus needs is very important. These plants like it when the room is a bit cool, around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If it gets too hot or too cold, your cactus may have trouble growing or blooming. Keep it away from places that change temperature quickly, like near air conditioners or heaters.


Watering is giving your Christmas cactus the right amount of water. Don’t let the soil get too dry or too wet. Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. During the growing season, this might be weekly. In the cooler months, water your Christmas cactus less often. Make sure the pot has holes so excess water can drain. This prevents the roots from rotting.

christmas cactus watering


The Christmas Cactus needs to have the right kind of light to grow well. It likes bright, but indirect, light. This means it should not sit in the hot sun all day. Too much direct sunlight can burn its leaves, causing them to turn red or orange.

Place your Christmas Cactus near a window that gets light, but out of the direct path of the sun’s rays. The best spot might be a room that faces east or north. During the shorter days of fall and winter, the softer light helps the plant to make buds and flower.


Fertilization is like giving vitamins to your Christmas Cactus. It helps your plant grow strong and bloom well. You should feed your cactus with fertilizer. But not just any kind will do. Look for one that is high in potassium. This specific element helps your cactus flower.

You will typically fertilize your cactus every two to four weeks. But only do this during the growing season, from late winter to early fall. Remember to follow the directions on the fertilizer package carefully. Too much can harm your plant.


Repotting is moving your Christmas Cactus to a bigger pot so it has more room to grow. This helps the roots to spread out and get more nutrients from fresh soil. You should repot every few years or when you see the roots crowding. Pick a pot that’s slightly larger than the current one and has drainage holes.

Carefully remove the cactus, place it in the new pot, and add soil around it. After repotting, water your plant to help it settle in its new home.

How to Choose the Perfect Spot for Your Christmas Cactus?

Picking the right spot for your Christmas Cactus means finding a place that has the perfect mix of light and temperature. The spot should be away from cold drafts or heat sources, like vents or heaters. It needs bright, indirect light. Too much direct sun can burn its leaves. A north or east-facing window is often a good choice.

Make sure there’s also some humidity, like in a kitchen or bathroom, because this plant likes moist air. But don’t put it in too much shade or full darkness either, as it won’t bloom well. If you can find a spot with these conditions, your Christmas Cactus will be happy!

christmas cactus care

Christmas Cactus Pests and Diseases

A Christmas cactus can get sick just like people do. Sometimes, little bugs called pests can bug them. Other times, they can catch diseases that can hurt their leaves and stems. Some common foes of your cactus include mealybugs and fungal issues. If you see cotton-like stuff on your plant, those might be mealybugs.

If your cactus has soft, dark spots, it might have a disease caused by too much water. You have to keep a close watch and treat these problems quickly to keep your Christmas cactus healthy.

How Can You Encourage Blooming in Your Christmas Cactus?

To get your Christmas Cactus to bloom, you need to give it the right care. This means you need to follow certain steps. Don’t worry, it’s not too hard. You just have to pay attention to a few key things like the amount of light it gets and the temperature around it.

For example, a Christmas Cactus loves cooler temperatures and shorter days to start setting buds. So, when fall comes around, you should give it less light and keep it in a cooler room. With the right care, your cactus will reward you with beautiful flowers.

christmas cactus blooming

How Can You Easily Propagate Your Christmas Cactus?

Propagating your Christmas Cactus means growing new plants from the one you already have. This is easy to do. You simply take a short, Y-shaped cutting from a stem tip. The cutting should have at least two or three joined segments. Allow it to dry for a few hours to let the cut area callus over, which helps prevent rotting.

Next, plant the cut end about a quarter-inch deep in moist peat and sand soil mix. Ensure the soil stays lightly moist, and in a few weeks, your cutting should start to grow roots. It’s that simple! With this method, you can grow several more Christmas Cacti to enjoy in your home or give to friends.

Houseplants   Updated: December 13, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
Questions and Answers
Iris Hillman March 16, 2022 Reply

My 20 year old Christmas Cactus – 3 feet wide – just succumbed to root rot. I guess I overwatered it. Can I dry out the plant/roots and replant it or do I have to start propagating a few leaves?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *