The celebration of Christmas is right around the corner, if you want to decorate your home with a variety of green plants then there is nothing better than Christmas plants. Along with poinsettias, amaryllis, and rosemary, there’s one eye-catching green color of the cactus plant that you should include as one of your holiday decorating choices. Apart from evergreen trees, cacti are plants that are easy to care for and can even keep flowering all winter long. Its blooms are vibrant shades of red, pink, yellow, or purple making it a gorgeous Christmas plant and a thoughtful holiday gift.
During winter, cacti do need a little more attention so that these plants can thrive. However, you don’t need to worry because the cactus is one of the easiest to care for plants as the most popular winter ornamental plant, even if you are a novice gardener. Today I want to share how to care for your Christmas cactus, from blooming and growing tips to tips for avoiding pests. So, let’s check it out!
Things to know to get started growing Christmas cactus
Before you decide to decorate your home with Christmas cactus, there are a number of things you should prepare, such as choosing the right type of Christmas cactus. Holiday cacti fall into three types, each named after the time they start to bloom: Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, and Easter cactus.
The Thanksgiving cactus has special characteristics that distinguish it from the Christmas cactus. This cactus is also known as the crab claw cactus because of its sharp spines. In addition, this plant has flowers that are mostly pastel colors, from reds and pinks, to peaches and purples.
There are also Easter cacti which usually bloom in spring. They have leaves with small hairs and a thick back on one side. Unlike the common types of holiday cacti, they have star-shaped flowers.
How to care for a Christmas cactus
Although cactus is an easy type of plant, the lack of water flow and dramatic temperature changes will cause flower buds to fall more quickly. So, you should maximize your Christmas cactus flowering period by paying attention to certain factors. First, use quality soil that is rich in humus and other nutrients. Also pay attention to temperature changes, preferably maintain the climate in the room should not be more than 65 degrees.
During winter some types of cacti even need more water. Keep the soil moist while your cactus plant is blooming, so water it frequently. Don’t forget natural sunlight, you can place the cactus near a window that is exposed to direct light at certain times. Finally, provide periodic fertilization by applying a high potassium fertilizer every two weeks after buds are formed.
Christmas cactus pests to watch out for
Christmas cactus is indeed one of the low maintenance plants, so they are not immune to pests and disease. If you find a plant being attacked by pests, then you need to spray pesticides or give certain drugs according to the type of pest that attacks. For example, some of the most common types of pests are mealybugs, spider mites, and mold gnats.
Blooming cactus plants during winter
During the blooming period, keep your cactus plant cool to around 50 degrees. Water them to keep the soil moist, and make sure to withhold the fertilizer. If you notice new flower growth starting, place the plant in the right temperature and alternate providing 10 hours of natural light for a total of four to six weeks afterward. When buds are visible, introduce the plant to warmer temperatures and start regular culture.