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  • Christmas Cactus

    OK.........How do you get your Christmas Cactus to bloom. I have a beautiful one, gets lots of light, feed it all year. But it has no buds on it, I'm guessing it's not going to bloom this year.

    Any hints?

  • #2
    Re: Christmas Cactus

    I Remember Something About Keeping It In A Closet Or The Dark For So Long, Then Bring It Out. But, I'm Old And I Don't Remember! So I'm No Help, But I Thought I'd Post Anyway!

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    • #3
      Re: Christmas Cactus

      I was thinking the same thing, something about the plant having to have a certain amount of dark time, in order to form blooms ? But maybe I am thinking poinsettia's ( sorry sp ? )

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      • #4
        Re: Christmas Cactus

        I'm thinking that's poinsettias as well. I've never kept them thru the year. But my beautiful Christmas cactus should have some buds by now I thought.

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        • #5
          Re: Christmas Cactus

          CookinKat...I have no idea! Some years mine have had blossoms by now. Some years they get blossoms in February, and not all bloom every year! My daughter's seven grade science project (many years ago!) was on Christmas cactuses. We bought four different ones, cared for them under different conditions and fed three of them different fertilizers. None of them bloomed. (Not good for the science project!) I currently have six cactuses, and they each seem to have a personality of their own! When we were having our house totally remodeled during Christmas of 2004, the plants got shoved into the bottom of a rolling cart, stuck in a corner behind piles of junk and furniture, and I was very negligent about taking care of them. Some of them bloomed profusely around New Years!

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          • #6
            Re: Christmas Cactus

            My local grocery store always sells christmas cactus that are blooming, but never this early. They are still trying to get rid of all the pumpkins LOL

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            • #7
              Re: Christmas Cactus

              A lot of plants that bloom very well actually do so because they are rootbound.
              I have also heard that about keeping them in the dark, ladies.
              I had a Christmas Cactus that bloomed at Christmas and Easter....
              Have you made time to listen to the birds today........

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              • #8
                Re: Christmas Cactus

                I don't have a clue as to how to care for one, but recent;y went with a friend to one of her childhood friends home. she showed me A Christmas catus she has had of her mothers,and she remebers her mom having it since she was 5yrs. old...she is now 72...It is in a HUGE pot and really big. she has to have help to move it. I wish I had my camera with me it was beautiful! and she did have a few buds on hers.
                I organize chores into catagories.
                Things I won't do now; things I won't do later; things I'll never do.

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                • #9
                  Re: Christmas Cactus

                  I keep mine outside in the summer on my covered porch. They end up blooming for me a month or 2 after I bring them back in. Mine are definitely pot bound, well fertillized and there is a light change.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Christmas Cactus

                    Both of mine bloom two or three times a year. Potted in a clay pot, the pot is set in a glass pie plate and the plants are watered from the bottom (just pour the water into the pie plate) weekly.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Christmas Cactus

                      I have buds on mine now,,,this is the 2nd time it will have bloomed this year??? It is in a west window, plastic pot, I water it when I think of it. No help from me, sorry.
                      A balanced diet is a cookie in both hands

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                      • #12
                        Re: Christmas Cactus

                        There is actually a Thanksgiving Cactus and a Christmas Cactus, hope this info helps.

                        THE THANKSGIVING CACTUS

                        By Dr. Leonard Perry
                        Extension Greenhouse and Nursery Crops Specialist
                        University of Vermont

                        You have probably heard of the Christmas cactus, which produces gorgeous red and pink blossoms during the holiday season. But did you know that there is also a Thanksgiving cactus, which, as you've probably guessed, comes into bloom in November?

                        You can tell the Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncate) apart from the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x Buckleyi) from the shape of its leaves. It has sharply serrated or "toothed" leaves as compared to the more rounded leaves of the Christmas cactus.

                        You may see the Thanksgiving cactus listed as zygocactus in some books, its former Latin name. And to confuse things even more, there's also an Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri) with leaves that are almost three-dimensional with a thick ridge on one side. This cactus blossoms in the early spring.

                        Most garden centers carry holiday cactus plants although it is easy to grow them from cuttings. When planted in a decorative pot, they make a nice hostess gift, holiday table centerpiece, or present for friends and family.

                        To propagate, snip off a branch with four or five segments or sections of leaves. Dust the cut end of the cutting with a fungicide or rooting powder to help the new plant grow roots.You can buy rooting hormone at your local garden center or nursery supply store. It is usually a good idea to place the cutting where it will get good air circulation, out of direct sun, for a week or so to allow the wound to begin healing before planting.

                        Fill a small flower pot with potting soil, vermiculite, or damp sand. To plant, push the root end of the cutting into the potting medium about one inch deep. The medium should be kept just barely moist, not wet. To help prevent the soil from drying out, invert a plastic bag over the pot. Use straws or popsicle sticks to keep the bag from resting on the foliage. Vent frequently to keep from being too moist.

                        For best results, place the pot in a spot that gets plenty of light but is out of direct sunlight. You should see new growth in three to four weeks.

                        Once your plant becomes established, allow the soil to dry out during "resting periods," or in other words, when it is not producing blooms. Water only when the soil is very dry to the touch. Overwatering can kill the plant. Provide plenty of indirect light and room temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees F.

                        Beginning in early to mid-September, these cacti will need 12 to 14 hours of total darkness along with cool nighttime temperatures in order to form buds. The easiest way to achieve this is to place the plant in a closet from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Or you can cover it with a large brown paper bag. If you keep the plant in a cool room (around 50 degrees F 24 hours a day) in September and October, chances are excellent that it will produce flowers, regardless of day length.

                        Once buds start to form, apply houseplant fertilizer according to label directions to encourage lush growth and an abundance of blooms. Too high a temperature or too low a light level will cause buds to drop. Repot as needed to prevent plants from becoming rootbound, which will inhibit bloom. However, as these plants can grow quite large over time, and will live for years with proper care, you may want to keep them fairly pot bound to keep them small.

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                        CARE OF CHRISTMAS CACTUS

                        Since Grandma's day, the Christmas cactus has been a favorite houseplant. It's not unusual for a single plant to be passed down from generation to generation because they're long-lived, rather easy plants to grow. But if you want to get them in bloom for the upcoming holiday season, they will need a little special care during the coming weeks.

                        Hybridization over the past century has resulted in the introduction of many new varieties of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter cactus. These plants are members of the Zygo-cactus family. Most of which are native to Central and South America. Although these plants are called cacti, they are truly different in all aspects from the common desert cactus with which we are all familiar. These plants, called epiphytes are found in the same environments as orchids. They are most often found in the forks of tree limbs where they grow in decayed leaves and other natural debris that accumulates there. Since they are tropical cacti, their cultural requirements are totally different from true cacti. So here are a few ideas on how to care for them and the steps to follow to get them into bloom for the upcoming holiday season.

                        In September and October, Christmas cactus plants should be kept in a cool room where temperatures will remain around 50 degrees, give or take a few degrees. Be sure not to expose them to freezing temperatures. It's also very important they be kept in a room where no artificial light will be turned on at night.

                        Actually the key to getting Christmas cactus to flower during the holiday season, is the proper light exposure, correct temperatures and limited watering. So during the fall months, the Christmas cactus should be placed in a spot where it receives indoor indirect bright light during the daylight hours but total darkness at night. (Much the same exposure you would give a poinsettia except a Christmas poinsettia requires warm temperatures whereas the Christmas cactus needs a spot where the temperatures are cool during the fall months.)

                        Since the Christmas cactus is a tropical plant it will require watering on much the same basis as any other type of tropical plant. A good procedure to follow is to water the plants thoroughly and then allow about the top inch of soil to dry before watering again. However, during the fall and winter months, the plants should be watered less frequently in order to get them to bloom.

                        Christmas cactus require about 50 to 60 percent humidity. So it's a good practice to place a glass, vase or tray of water near the plant. As the water evaporates it will provide the humidity the cactus needs. A humidity tray is another method of providing the humidity the Christmas cactus requires. This is done by filling a waterproof saucer with gravel, then adding water halfway up the gravel. Place the pot on the gravel surface.

                        The Christmas cactus should never be placed near a door that opens and closes to the outside. Likewise, keep it away from heating ducts or near the fireplace or drafty areas.

                        In late October or early November, make an application of a 0-10-10 type liquid fertilizer. A second application of this fertilizer can be made in February. During the growing season from April through September, fertilize the plants with an all purpose liquid houseplant type fertilizer. The fertilizer you use should have a nitrogen ratio of no higher than 10 percent. Of the three numbers on a fertilizer container, the first number is nitrogen.

                        How do the professionals get Christmas cactus into bloom for the holiday season? They keep them in cool greenhouses where the temperatures average approximately 50 degrees and where the plants receive between 12 and 14 hours of total darkness each day and watering is done sparingly.

                        One of the most frustrating things that can happen to Christmas cactus is after the flower buds have developed they drop off the plant. Bud drop can be caused by anyone of several different conditions. Usually it's because of over-watering, lack of humidity or insufficient light.

                        After The Christmas holiday season, the Christmas cactus should be given about a 30 day rest. Again place it in a cool room and provide limited water. Don't worry if it loses a few leaves or joints and appears weak during this rest period.

                        This is not the time to pinch, prune or shape a Christmas cactus. The best time is when the new growth begins in March or early April.

                        Likewise, the best time for repotting a cactus is in February, March or April. However, keep in mind the plant will flower best if it's kept in a container where it's pot-bound. If your Christmas cactus is given proper care and is placed in the right location, it's not unusual for it to flower several times throughout the year.
                        good friends are worth more than gold

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                        • #13
                          Re: Christmas Cactus

                          my plant blooms twice a year..around thanksgiving and valentines day..i only water it once a week..

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                          • #14
                            Re: Christmas Cactus

                            Originally posted by nuisance View Post
                            I Remember Something About Keeping It In A Closet Or The Dark For So Long, Then Bring It Out. But, I'm Old And I Don't Remember! So I'm No Help, But I Thought I'd Post Anyway!
                            Yes Nu IS OLD she forgot it is actualy SHE that gets put in the dark closet for so long and then brought out!!!! LMAO

                            Huffle
                            God grant me the serenity to accept the yarn I cannot return... courage to change the yarn I can... and the reciept to know the difference.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Christmas Cactus

                              Mine have bloomed a few times this year. They are full of buds now. All I do is keep them out of direct sunlight and only water once in a while. I just have them in plastic pots and water from the top like all my other plants.

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