Christmas cactus?

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by KimberlyJ, May 13, 2009.

  1. KimberlyJ

    KimberlyJ Active Member

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    Location:
    Stevens Point, WI
    I think this plant is called a Christmas Cactus but I'm not sure. I have had it for years and it hasn't grown much at all. I've seen the same plant at other peoples homes and they are 5 times the size of mine and some have flowers. I'm not sure if I'm over watering it but I usually wait until it looks like it's a bit droopy before I do. I would like to know what I'm doing wrong. If somebody can help it would be appreciated.
     

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  2. peggysgarden

    peggysgarden Member

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    I don't know where you live, but mine is outside. It actually takes some cold to set the flowers for it to bloom. With mine being outside it usually dries out in a week and so gets a thorough watering once a week. I just water with non-chlorine water, either well or filtered. No feeding.
     
  3. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    your id is correct. christmas cactus. they're in the succulent family, so, they don't need excessive amounts of water and you're idea of waiting until 'droopy' to water is a sound one.

    what kind of soil is it in and are there drainage holes in the container? when was the last time it was repotted? what kind of sunlight is it getting? by that i mean, direction of the light and amount of it during the day and, also, is it direct light or filtered/indirect? what are the temperature conditions it's in? by that, i mean basic average temp per day - if it's different winter vs summer, please give both. guestimate if you need to :)
     
  4. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    Yes, what you have is and old fashion "real" Christmas Cactus
    'Schlumbergera x buckleyi' Not one of the many hybrids they sell today. This particular Cactus can't be bought in stores.
    They aren't the fastest growers, but if you do like Peggy does with hers, you should see new growth faster. Give it plenty of bright indirect, a little bit of sun is ok too.
    Water well when dry, you don't want to keep them wet even though they are jungle cactus. Keep the plant on the root-bound side. Be patient, it will grow:)
     
  5. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    All points are true, and the drop in the over night temps during the winter months encourages blooms. The plants do need rich soil as they are tropicals, and fertilizing should aid growth, and good drainage is also recommended. Good luck!
     
  6. KimberlyJ

    KimberlyJ Active Member

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    I have a drainage tray under it and I water it every couple weeks. I haven't repotted it in a while though. It gets moderate indirect light. Our thermostat is set at 65 at night and 68 during the day but we don't always have it on since the weather is getting nicer now that it's springtime. I'll try repotting it and putting it somewhere cooler.
     
  7. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    if it's been more than two years, it needs repotting. you can keep it in the same container unless the roots have become bound - then go up a size. replace all soil regardless of whether you keep the same container or not.

    the temps actually are a little on the cool side for this plant and it could actually use a bit of direct light every day. in their natural habitat - tropical jungles - they live up in the trees and get a fair amount of sunlight...so, lack of good light is keeping it from growing.

    moving it so that it gets at least a couple hours of direct light each day should get it going. also, some place where it is a bit warmer during the day would help it. the cool bit (which is mostly needed at night) is needed in late fall to spur on the formation of the flowers - the rest of the time it can definitely deal with much warmer temps.
     
  8. evaregina4

    evaregina4 Member

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    Hi there! I actually have two christmas cacti and they are thriving! A water them well every week and they are sitting at windows but not in direct sunlight. They both pretty big (over a foot in diameter and hanging down) and every october they start to bloom hundreds of pink flowers. I absolutely love them, they are very easy to care for if you figure out the right spot for them. Good luck!
    You maybe not know this but if you take off a stem of any endings of the existing plant and put it in soil, you can "clone" them....
     
  9. JanR

    JanR Active Member

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    I would repot it and put it into a slightly smaller container. They like to be slightly root bound. If you twist off the top section on a branch it will encourage it to branch out more and make it more bushy.
     
  10. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

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    I have had two for some years. They are in the same environment as Kimberley's except about 3 C warmer. They bloom continuously from April to June. I have never been able to get them to bloom in the fall, or around Christmas. They just finished blooming and one of them now looks ready to develop many more flowers.
     
  11. Beeker

    Beeker Active Member

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    Location:
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    I clipped a branch off of one in a rehab clinic and kept it in a clear plastic cup with a little water until it grew roots. I just put it in a small pot recently and it is doing great!
     
  12. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    That's wonderful news Beeker! I bet you're pretty happy about it.

    Yes, xmas cactus cuttings root very easily, and they are fun too. A great plant for beginners looking to get some experience with rooting cuttings. Plus too, you can share all the newly rooted little plants with all your friends!

    I have a small picture of when my plant was in bloom, but it isn't the clearest. Will show more pics later when it blooms this Fall, that will be taken with a much better camera...
     

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  13. Beeker

    Beeker Active Member

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    Thanks! Yeah, I'm excited. I'm new to plants and gardening. I am really enjoying it though. My other Christmas Cactus isn't doing so well though. That is one I inherited from a friend. I have a thread on that.
    Wow! Your plant looks great! What a beautiful bloom! How long have you had that plant?
     
  14. The Hollyberry Lady

    The Hollyberry Lady New Member

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    Location:
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    I've had it for three years now, and it thrives in an East window. Thank you for the compliments about my plant - I really love it.

    All summer long, I feed it with a 15-30-15 blooming formula, once every 2 weeks. It is pampered and spoiled with regular showers too. I had a hard time finding a true white one - only the stamens are pink!

    Wait until you see it this Fall! I am actually in the process of trying to get it to bloom for me, right now! Christmas cactus needs a 12/12 cycle of light and darkness in order to bloom - that's why they begin to bloom in the Fall, when the days get shorter.

    You can trick xmas cactus into blooming at odd times of the year, by putting it in a dark closet for 12 hours each day, and then 12 hours of light too. I had one blooming in July about four years ago! It was amazing.

    You must be consistent though and not miss any days. The process can take 2-3 weeks before you will see buds. If you miss days and forget to put it in the closet, it may take much longer, or not even happen at all!

    If you do succeed though, it is well worth the effort.

    : )
     

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