Christmas Cacti Are the New Poinsettias—Here's How to Care for Them
From women's health
Poinsettias may be the traditional plant you think of when the holidays are over. However, if you're looking for something different to liven up your home this winter, consider a Christmas cactus instead. (And no, we don't mean a cactus wrapped in colored lights!)
The Christmas cactus is a unique type of cactus that blooms in the early winter just before the holiday, hence the name. It often has bright pink or orange flowers, but it can also be white and red, and pretty much any combination of these hues. And a fun fact: there are also Easter and Thanksgiving cacti that are similar to Christmas cacti, but they both sprout near their respective namesake holidays instead.
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If you're investing in a Christmas cactus to help celebrate the holidays (or to add a pop of color to your home this winter), here's everything you need to know to take care of it.
How do I care for a Christmas cactus?
Unlike most cacti that usually grow in arid environments, Christmas cacti originate from the rainforests of Brazil, where they grow high up in the branches. Because of their natural habitat, these plants prefer a more humid climate than other cacti. Hence, you should water your Christmas cactus regularly to keep it in tip-top shape.
When the top inch of the soil feels dry, it's time to water your cactus ASAP. That said, you should keep it in a pot with plenty of drainage too. Once the water flows through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, dispose of any leftover water in the bowl so the plant doesn't get stuck in it. This can lead to root rot, which can kill your new plant.
The Farmers' Almanac recommends feeding your Christmas cactus a full house plant fertilizer every two weeks from spring through early fall. You can feed him monthly in autumn and winter. To get more flowers to bloom, prune the plant in June. All you need to do is cut off a few sections of each stem.
Where should I place a Christmas cactus?
You need to protect your new Christmas cacti from direct sunlight - although they like bright light, it has to be indirect. In addition, their ideal temperature is around 70 degrees during the day and around 60 degrees at night for optimal growth. They can bloom even more flowers in cooler temperatures.
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