Many plants reveal their brilliant flowers during the spring and summer. However, some need cool temperatures and reduced sunlight to bloom, which is how the Christmas cactus got its name. Schlumbergera bridgesii relies on thermophotoperiodic bloom cycles to produce its flowers right around the holiday season. These beautiful, small blooms are typically white, red, or pink.
Propagating Christmas Cactus
This popular houseplant is widely available, but if you already have one, there’s no need to purchase more (unless you’d like a different color of flower). You can easily propagate this plant by taking a Y-shaped cutting. The cutting should be at least three joined segments taken from a very healthy-looking part of the plant. Let the cutting dry for several hours to prevent stem rot. Then, repot it into a moist mix of peat and sandy soil. Stick the segment about a quarter of the way into the soil, place it in an area without direct sunlight, and water sparingly until it becomes established. It generally takes a couple of weeks for new growth to become visible.
Caring for Christmas Cactus
The Christmas cactus is native to Brazil, which means it thrives in humid conditions. In Arizona, you can replicate these humid conditions by placing the pot in a tray of pebbles and water. Water the plant frequently. The soil should stay moist, but not be saturated. Fertilize the plant every other week. While the Christmas cactus likes sunlight, it prefers indirect light.
Encouraging Christmas Cactus to Bloom
Since Arizona is a very sunny state with mild winter temperatures, you may need to coax your Christmas cactus to bloom at the appropriate time. Significantly reduce watering for about six weeks during the winter. If you’d like to keep the cactus outdoors, relocate the pot to a shady area. Or, bring it inside and place it in a dark closet to stimulate the flowering process.
If you’re looking for guidance on what to plant in your landscape, call the experts at Complete Landscaping. Our team in Tucson provides complete landscape installation and maintenance services for individuals, HOAs, and companies. You can reach us at (520) 323-8918.