The Q&A Archives: Christmas Cactus -- forcing bloom

Question: I heard you're supposed to put your Christmas cactus in a dark place, then bring it out later so it will be blooming by Dec 25. When do you put it in the dark place & when do you bring out?

Answer: This plant responds to day length. It sets flower buds when the days grow shorter in the fall. Put it in a room where it will receive bright light during the day but uninterrupted darkness -- no lights at all -- at night. If you do not have a dark room like that, put it in the closet or put a box over it to keep it dark every night for about 14 hours but be sure to give it light during the day.

It also likes a cooler room temperature during the fall, 50-60 degrees. While it is cool, water it less. This helps simulate a winter cool spell.

Provide the long dark nights for 8 to 10 weeks until you see well developed flower buds on the plant. Ideally, you would start in mid September for holiday blooms.

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