Plant Information Database

Christmas Cactus

Learn how to care for Christmas cactus along with its history and classification details.

Hardiness Zone: 9-11
Soil Type: Moist, well draining, neutral/acidic
Sun Exposure: Indirect sun
Annual or Perennial: Perennial
Type: Cactus

History: Originating from coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil near the Atlantic Ocean, this sub-species of cactus grows in a region which is generally relatively cool, shaded and has high humidity. Historical records state that it was in cultivation in Europe 200 years ago in 1818.

How to Care for Christmas Cactus

Common questions and details on how to care for Christmas cactus.

How do I plant Christmas cactus?

It is best to plant a Christmas cactus in a pot. The Christmas cactus thrives in indirect sun. The pot will allow you to find the best lighting situation for it.

When is the best time to plant?

The best time to plant Christmas cactus is in late spring.

How do I propagate Christmas cactus?

Take cuttings of one to four segments and let them sit in a cool, dry place for two to four days. Plant an inch deep in new soil, preferably a sand/peat mix. Water sparingly until roots or new growth develop, then water as normal.

Can I grow chives in a pot?

Yes, you can grow Christmas cactus in a pot.

How much should I water Christmas cactus?

Christmas cactus should be watered when the soil is dry.

How do I care for Christmas cactus with fertilizer?

Christmas cactus prefer to be fertilized frequently.

When does a Christmas cactus bloom?

The Christmas cactus gets its name because the plant will bloom in the fall/winter, just in time for Christmas.

How do I know when Christmas cactus are ripe?

When the cactus has leaf projections which are more scalloped or tear drop shaped.

Should I plant any companion plants?

Christmas cactus grow well with orchids, bromeliads and rhipsalis.

What are the health benefits of the Christmas cactus?

The Christmas cactus emits oxygen at night instead of during the day, which will increase the quality of sleep.

Christmas Cactus Meaning

Apparently, a young boy prayed to God, asking for a sign of Christmas as a reprieve from the heat and humidity of the jungle. On Christmas Day, when he emerged from his hut, he saw that the jungle had filled with the flowering cacti overnight.

Hope is not a resting place but a starting point – a cactus, not a cushion.

~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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