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Christmas Cactus

The Christmas cactus is an old fashioned favorite during the holidays that boasts arching and branching stems with flattened segments that are 1-1/2” to 2” in length. It blooms mid-November and late January, producing white, pink, purple or red flowers.

At Fairview Garden Center, we serve the Triangle with only the most beautiful Christmas cacti, cared for right here in our greenhouse. Stop by today to check out our beautiful selection!

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How to Care for a Christmas Cactus

Basic Care

  • Light: The Christmas Cactus prefers medium to high light. Some morning sun is okay, but afternoon sun may burn the leaves.
  • Water: Although considered to be a cactus, the Christmas cactus does not like to stay dry for extended periods of time. In fact, it does much better when you allow only the top inch or two to dry out between waterings.
  • Fertilizer: Like any other houseplants, Christmas cacti requires fertilizer once a month using either a houseplant fertilizer or a weak flowering fertilizer (nothing more than a 10-10-10).


  • Typically, the Christmas cactus will bloom anywhere between 2 and 4 weeks depending on the growing conditions.
  • To encourage flowering, a Christmas cactus needs 14 – 16 hours of darkness and cooler temperatures (50 – 65 F). These conditions must be met until buds begin to form.
  • Do not rotate the cactus once buds have formed. Do-ing so can cause them to stretch and drop.
  • Additionally, keep your Christmas cactus away from heat sources or air vents as this also may cause the buds to drop.

Post-Season Care

After blooming, Christmas cacti need somewhat of a dormant period. During this time, keep your Christmas cactus in medium light, allow the soil to dry out a little more than usual between waterings, and do not fertilize for one month. This allows the cactus to recuperate after flowering.

After January, a regular watering and fertilizing schedule may be resumed. The Christmas cactus does not have many pest problems. The biggest problem derives from overwatering, which can cause wilting. Root rot sets in when the soil is kept too moist for too long periods. The only way to save your cactus is by propagating any healthy leaves. This plant propagates very easily by pushing a healthy leaf into fresh potting soil.

Keep your Christmas cactus in a shady location outdoors during the spring and summer, and bring indoors in October just before the first frost.

Once you master these simple steps and set a routine, your Christmas cactus will reward you and your family with profuse blooms for years to come.

Additional Christmas Cacti Resources From Fairview