Posted on Dec 7, 2023 at 5:26 pm by Matthew L
Schlumbergera, or Christmas cactus, is a succulent plant with trailing and fleshy stems, and with trumpet-shaped flowers in white, pink, or red depending on the variety. Here are all our simple tips for properly caring for your Christmas cactus and thus making it thrive for a long time.
Properly caring for a Christmas cactus
The Christmas cactus is an easy-to-care-for flowering plant that requires some care to thrive.
Place your Christmas cactus indoors, in a bright location, but without direct sunlight. Also, avoid moving it as much as possible.
- Keep the soil moist throughout the growth period of your Christmas cactus by watering it once a week. Wait between waterings so that the substrate has time to dry on the surface.
- After flowering (from late winter to early spring), water only every ten days.
- Remember to empty the saucer under the pot after each watering.
During the growth period, apply potassium-rich fertilizer once a month to your Christmas cactus.
Repot the Schlumbergera every 3 or 4 years, in spring. Use a special epiphytic cactus substrate (fibrous peat soil and sand).
Diseases and pests
- The Christmas cactus can be attacked by mealybugs. In case of an attack, use a natural treatment based on black soap and water, to be sprayed in the morning.
- If the leaves of your Schlumbergera become soft, it probably lacks water.
- If the leaves turn red, it means it is exposed to too much sunlight.
Simple tips to make a Christmas cactus bloom again
Regular maintenance is usually enough to ensure the flowering of the Christmas cactus. However, if your Schlumbergera has not bloomed for a long time, don’t worry, all is not lost! Some tips will help you make it bloom again:
- A temporary drought can help your Christmas cactus form new flowers. From the end of October, stop watering for two to three weeks. The stems will then wilt a little (they will wrinkle) and the plant will turn slightly red, which is completely normal. Resume watering once new flower buds appear at the ends of the stems of your Schlumbergera.
- The lack of flowering may be due to a lack of nutrients in the soil. Therefore, between February and September, apply potassium-rich fertilizer to your succulent plant every month. Similarly, remember to repot it every 2 to 3 years to completely renew the substrate in the pot and thus promote flowering.