Christmas Cactus - Knowledgebase Question

Shelby Twp., MI
Question by mysliviec
September 17, 1999
A couple of years ago I looked up "Christmas Cactus" on this web site and printed off a three page sheet on how to care for the plants. When to put them in the dark, feed them, etc. This is my husbands project and he lost the pages. Could you please send me the information again. Of course he says I threw the papers out. NEVER. Thanks a lot

Answer from NGA
September 17, 1999


Here are some basic hints on how to care for your plant: 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. You can take your Christmas Cactus outdoors during the summer and fertilize it monthly with a diluted houseplant food. Then bring it back indoors at the end of September and 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.

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