15 Amazing Christmas Cactus ‘Schlumbergera Truncata’ Tips

christmas cactus

Last updated on August 13th, 2022 at 11:08 am

Christmas cactus is a low-maintenance succulent that can be propagated easily. They don’t need much water and when they do get too thirsty, the best thing to do is just leave them alone for a while until they stop shriveling up.

The best time to water them is when they have just started their blooming cycle and the soil feels dry. When you water them, do so by pouring the water around the edges of the pot.

Origin of Christmas cactus

Native to Brazil, and usually found growing at high elevations on rocky cliff sides,, the plant was ‘discovered’ when a French botanist Charles Lemaire was on a hunting expedition in the United State of Minas Gerais.

The holiday decoration is a cultivar of Schlumbergera (commonly called Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus) which has become popular in the United States.

Local Brazilian people had been using it as an ornamental plant for years, sometimes calling it Raiz de pindoba (the ‘root’ of Christmas). The name Schlumbergera comes from two German botanists’ brothers: Charles and Fritz Schlumbergera.

The Christmas cactus is a favorite holiday decoration for many because of its unique flowers that can bloom in the winter months, sometimes as late as December 25th.

This type of plant does not require any special care or sunlight conditions – it will thrive under normal household environments and lighting.

How to propagate Christmas cactus plant

christmas cactus

Christmas cactus propagation is not difficult at all.

The plant will grow new baby plants on the base of its stem, so to propagate it, cut off a healthy section and replant it in moist potting soil – that’s basically all there is to it!

When you start planting your cutting into fertile ground, the original plant will start to grow a new section that can be cut off and planted, too.

You will have more plants in no time!

The best time of year to propagate a Christmas cactus plant is the springtime months – April through June – when it’s warmer outside and there are fewer chances of frost during planting season (though you don’t want to plant outside during the winter months, either).

Remember to keep your propagated cutting warm and moist until it’s established.

The new plant will start rooting in about a week; after that, you can move it into its own pot or into the ground outdoors.

If you’re planting indoors, use an artificial light source for at least 14 hours a day.

If you’re planting outdoors, make sure they have plenty of light and some protection from the elements – like an old pot with mulch or a plastic nursery container.

You can also plant them in rock gardens or crevices where there is little exposure to wind and rain.

It’s important to transplant new plants every three to five years, or when they become too large for their pot.

Remember that the new plant will take time to grow its own roots and establish itself; patience is key!

The cuttings should have at least two leaves before you start transplanting them into pots or your garden – any less than that can risk the possibility of your new plant dying.

Christmas Cactus Propagation Tips In 5 Easy Steps

The most important thing to remember is the time and care that you put into these plants will pay off for years to come with a beautiful, winter-blooming cactus!

Christmas cactus bloom

christmas cactus bloom

Christmas cactus bloom is one of the most unique hallmarks about this type of flower – even though it blooms at Christmas time, when other flowers are scarce or not present yet due to winter, it actually blooms in the fall!

The holiday plant has been known to bloom as late as December 25th.

This type of plant does not require any special care or sunlight conditions – it will thrive under normal household environments and lighting.

You’ll have more plants in no time!

One way you can tell if your plant is blooming or not is to look at the buds.

If they’re swollen and appear as if they’ll open up anytime soon, then your plant most likely isn’t in bloom yet; but once you can see that the bud has started flattening out a bit (or even opening) – it’s time for these plants to go into bloom!

When the plant is in full bloom, it can grow up to 25 new buds per day.

The best time for Christmas cactus blooming is mid-October through December – when there are plenty of other plants around and you’re more likely to find a perfect match at your local garden center than during any other time of the year!

Note: new plants will not bloom until they’re at least three years old.

How to care for Christmas cactus

christmas cactus

Light requirements

Christmas cactus plants need light. They should be exposed to either full or partial sun for about five hours per day, with no direct sunlight in the middle of the day. The best place for them is a south-facing window that receives indirect sunlight during winter months and four to six hours of morning sun all year round.

Exposing the plants to at least four hours of the morning sun will result in more blooms.

The length of the day in winter is shorter than that in summer, and so less light reaches plants at this time. This means they need to be grown under good artificial lights or near a window with the sun coming through it during these months.

A south-facing window will provide both morning sun all year round together with indirect daylight hours.

The best place for the plant is a south-facing window.

A south-facing window will provide both morning sun all year round together with indirect daylight hours and they should be exposed to this as much as possible during winter months, but not in direct sunlight from 11 a.m. upwards.

Christmas cactus soil/potting mix

The best potting mix for Christmas cactus is a peat moss and perlite mixture. These plants are drought-tolerant, so they only need water when the top inch of soil becomes dry like wood ash.

They can also be watered once every three weeks or one month if their leaves start to droop because this is the sign of their soil drying out.

Christmas cactus plants need a peat moss and perlite mixture as potting mix and should be watered only when they start to droop because this is the sign of the soil getting dry like wood ash.

Astrophytum Myriostigma 'Bishop's Cap Cactus'

Christmas cactus fertilizer

Fertilize throughout the year by using a general-purpose fertilizer such as 20-20-20. This will provide your plant with nutrients and help it grow new blooms in springtime.

To avoid fertilizing too often, give your plant half of its recommended dosage every other time you water it. For example, if you fertilize once a month, give your flower half of its monthly dose every other time it is watered.

Fertilizing too often will cause the plant to grow more foliage than blooms or have an abundance of flowers that do not produce fruit.

Do not use a fertilizer with too high of an NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) level. This will make your plant produce more foliage than blooms or fruit.


The Christmas cactus is a succulent plant, and as such it requires regular watering. Plant owners should water the plants about once every five days during the winter months (drought conditions). When you do water your plant make sure that you use tepid or room temperature filtered water so that it does not shock your plant’s roots.

The soil should be moist, not soaked. Make sure that the water does not accumulate on the bottom of your pot because it can rot the roots and will create a hospitable environment for parasites to thrive.

In some cases watering once every two weeks may be necessary during winter months if you are in an area with milder climates or if your plant is in a sunny location.

The best time to water the cactus is early morning since it won’t dry out so quickly as during the day. If you do happen to forget and keep forgetting then there are ways of rehydrating or revitalizing them without watering too much at once. Don’t let the soil get too dry.

Do not overwater the plant, since it can rot the roots and will create a hospitable environment for parasites to thrive. It is best to water your cactus early in the morning so that by evening they are well-moistened without being overwatered.

If you do happen to forget then there are ways of rehydrating or revitalizing them without watering too much at once.


christmas cactus

The Christmas cactus enjoys warm, sunny conditions. Make sure that the plant is not in scorching heat and out of direct sunlight because this can have adverse effects on their growth patterns.

In warmer climates, they will be able to withstand a larger variance in temperature than those living in cooler climates where it should be kept between 60 to 75 degrees.

The Christmas cactus does not tolerate cold conditions for long periods of time. In general, the plants should be kept at 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 to 60 degrees at night. This is because they are native to South America and will grow better with warmer temperatures.

In cooler climates where you want your plant in the house, you will need to make sure that it is in a sunny window and out of the cold drafts.

25 Best Types Of Cactus Plants

The Christmas cactus loves warm, bright conditions but cannot tolerate freezing or hot temperatures for long periods of time. If your plant happens to be living in cooler climates they can do well with 15 to 18 hours of daylight.


The Christmas cactus needs humidity, not too much and not too little. Generally, the plant should be kept in a humid environment of 40 to 50%.

In areas where there is more air conditioning, it might be natural to keep the humidity lower, but you will need to make sure that your plants are watered thoroughly at least once every five days.

Christmas cactus repotting

The Christmas cactus should be repotted every two to three years. If your plant has outgrown its pot, you will need to get a new pot that is at least twice the size of the existing pot.

The goal when re-potting is not for it to stay in there until it dies and become an expensive decoration; instead, the goal should be to promote growth and keep the plant healthy for a longer period of time.

If you have been neglecting your Christmas cactus then it may need some re-potting, which can help make them healthier in the long run. The best thing that you can do is to read up on what kind of pot they are supposed to be in and when it’s time to re-pot in order to keep the plant healthy longer.

The Christmas cactus needs a humid environment of 40 to 50%. In areas with more air conditioning, the humidity might need to be lowered but you will need to make sure that your plants are watered thoroughly at least once every five days.

It is recommended that for most environments, the plant should be re-potted every two to three years.

In areas where there is more sun, it might be natural for a Christmas cactus to grow larger than in an area with less sunlight. If this is the case, make sure that your plants have plenty of room and are placed at least six inches away from one another.

Christmas cactus pruning

Pruning is not necessary but can be done to improve the plant’s growth.

The Christmas cactus should only be pruned if it has outgrown its pot and you need a larger one or if there are many dead spots in your plant that will inhibit future growth. Pruning can make plants healthier by providing them with more airflow.

Pruning is not necessary to keep a Christmas cactus healthy, but it can be helpful if there are many dead spots in the plant or it has outgrown the pot and needs a larger pot. Pruning enables plants to grow better from increased airflow around them.

Note: You should only prune if you need a larger pot to house your plant or it has many dead spots that will inhibit future growth.

Growth rate

The growth rate of the Christmas cactus varies with different factors. Factors such as soil, light, and temperature can influence how much a plant grows in a week or month. The most common amount for normal conditions is two inches per year. However, some plants have been known to grow up to six inches per year given ideal circumstances.

Schlumbergera truncata (Thanksgiving Cactus)

Hardiness zone

In the United States, Christmas cactus is found to grow in zones from zone 8 through 11. This plant can thrive outside of these hardiness values but will often be damaged by different weather events or cold temperatures.

Christmas cactus cats toxicity

The Christmas cactus is highly toxic to pets such as cats and dogs. Ingesting any part of the plant will lead to an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea within 12 hours.

Christmas cactus problems

christmas cactus

The Christmas cactus is susceptible to a few different issues. One of the most common problems with this plant is root rot which can be caused by overwatering or not enough drainage in the soil. Another problem that affects many people who grow this plant indoors is brown tips on some of the leaves, also known as necrotic leaf spots.

There are a few different ways to deal with both of the problems. To lessen root rot, be sure to water sparingly and take care not to give too much water at once because that can lead to overwatering which is one of the main causes for this issue. For brown tips on some leaves, there are a variety of things you could do.

One of the most common fixes is to just cut off brown tips and they will often grow back.

Another fix that has been shown to be successful for some people is applying hydrogen peroxide, which can be diluted with water or other liquids, onto the leaves. This remedy may not work every time but it’s worth a try!

Pests and diseases

The Christmas cactus is susceptible to a few different pests and diseases. One of the most common pests that this plant faces are mealy bugs, which can be either red or white in color. The other issue it may face is scale insects, which look like small bumps on the leaves and stems and will often cause stunting as well as curling leaves.

In order to deal with pests, you can either buy pest control from your local garden center or make a homemade solution of soapy water and dish soap in a spray bottle.

If the plant has scale insects, it is best to apply neem oil on the insect and surrounding area. For mealybugs, spraying them directly with soapy water in a spray bottle should help resolve the issue.


In conclusion, the Christmas cactus is an easy plant to grow and propagate but it will need plenty of light, warm temperatures, good drainage for the soil, and minimal watering to thrive!

It is important when growing this plant indoors that you do not overwater or over-fertilize it, which could cause root rot or brown tips on leaves from, a condition that is generally caused by too much fertilizer.