The Q&A Archives: Timing Christmas Cactus Bloom

Question: How do I encourage Christmas cactus to bloom in December? Mine always blooms in November.

Answer: Seems to be a common problem/complaint of Christmas cactus owners. Perhaps it should be called simply a Holiday Cactus to cover all bases. To encourage blooms on your Christmas cactus for the next holiday season, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, the plant needs a rest period (a period when growth slows or ceases). To force it to rest, cut back on moisture so the soil stays just barely moist. Keep the plant in a spot where the temperature never exceeds 65F (18C) and allow only ten hours of light each day. As a native of South America, Christmas cactus is a short-day plant requiring about fourteen hours of complete darkness each day to encourage bud development. From the onset of buds it takes about 12 weeks for blooms to appear.

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