The Q&A Archives: caring/blooming of a red christmas cactus

Question: I repotted a red x-mas cactus in premixed cactus soil from Home Depot ater overwatering - appears to be coming back. Should it be watered from the bottom and should it be pruned to assist growth and buds. No blooms to date. Receives filtered daylight on the dining room table from primarily South and West windows. Looking on care tips for groth and blooms.

Answer: Christmas Cactus is a tropical plant that requires a highly organic soil mixture and lots of moisture. The plant likes bright light and average household temperatures. At the end of September begin to provide total darkness for 16 hours each day so the plant can set flower buds. The easiest way to accomplish this is to place it in a bright room for 8 hours and then either put a box over it, or put it in a closet for 16 hours. It needs absolute darkness; even a short burst of daylight will retard the formation of flower buds. During this bud forcing period, keep the temperature between 60F and 70F, and do not fertilize the plant. In early December your Christmas Cactus can be brought into ordinary light and will bloom in a few weeks. Best wishes with your Christmas Cactus!

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