How Do I Grow & Propagate Christmas Cactus

roanimare(z9)January 1, 2013

1. Take at least a 3 or 4 stem segment and twist it off at the joint. Some people do take sharp scissors and cut right at the joint - you decide on the method you'd like to use.

2. Allow cuttings to dry a minimum of 24 hours so they seal over.

3. Using 1/2 peat moss and 1/2 perlite soil mix, moisten to just moist - not wet. Plant the cutting half the depth of the first segment in the soil mix.

4. Set in a bright window or bright area outside. Mist it to keep soil from drying out completely. Don't water.

  1. The cutting will wilt. Don't be alarmed. This is normal. When it starts to come back to life again - roots should be growing at this time. Any new growth on the cutting is also a sign that your cuttings is taking root.

  2. When you see the above signs - you can water normally which means when the soil is dry 1" down -- water until water runs out bottom of container -- then pour off any excess water.

  3. Once the cutting has grown one new segment you can start fertilizing until October 1st. Now it's time for blooms!

  4. Prepare for blooming - Leave outside to get natural cooling temps at night and natural hours of daylight. If your plant is inside - keep it cool and give it light equivalent to outside daylight.

  5. If you are lucky, you will get blooms the first year around Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you root early in the year, this is very possible.

  6. After blooming, the plant should rest until March. Watering should be decreased - water when 2" - 3" of depth is dry before re-watering as stated above. Don't let your plant dry out completely. Do not fertilize during this dormant period.

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Here is some more info on Christmas & Thanksgiving Cactus Written by: Gardenweb member grant_in_arizona

Despite what you may read in articles by newspaper and magazine columnists (who either don't live in Arizona, or who live here but don't grow Christmas cacti), Christmas cactus and Thanksgiving cactus (genus Schlumbergera) are actually quite easy to grow successfully in the desert southwest, and in Arizona in particular.

Cool, long nights are what trigger blooms in Schlumbergera plants, so the easiest way to encourage bloom is to grow them in pots, in the shade (some morning sun is okay, but not more than an hour or so) and the naturally long, cool nights of autumn will trigger bloom production just in time for the holidays.

Christmas, and Thanksgiving cacti are not desert cacti, but are from tropical jungles, so they appreciate more water than our native SW desert cacti. Water them when their soil is lightly dryperhaps every ten days outside in winter and once a week or so in summer. Give them a thorough drink and then let their soil dry out before the next watering; just keep in mind they are not from desert regions so they cannot tolerate bone dry soil for very long (though they will not tolerate constantly moist soil either).

Being from the tropics,...

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