General Discussion:

Xmas Cactus


Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Sandy Zone 3b25-Nov-03 06:13 PM EST
Susan27-Nov-03 05:52 AM EST 6a   
Sandy Zone 3b27-Nov-03 07:27 PM EST   
Susan28-Nov-03 04:22 AM EST 6a   
Andrew30-Nov-03 01:03 PM EST 5b   
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper01-Dec-03 05:37 PM EST   
Sandy Zone 3b05-Dec-03 07:29 PM EST   
William Creed07-Dec-03 12:52 PM EST   
Doug D.15-Dec-03 12:38 PM EST 4   
Annette07-Jan-04 07:07 PM EST 6a   
Susan08-Jan-04 05:45 AM EST 6a   
carolvan08-Jan-04 11:01 AM EST 3   
Annette10-Jan-04 09:38 AM EST 6a   
Susan10-Jan-04 11:44 AM EST 6a   
Annette08-Mar-04 05:24 PM EST 6a   


Subject: Xmas Cactus
From: Sandy Zone 3b
Date: 25-Nov-03 06:13 PM EST

My cactus leaves are limp and all the buds and blooms dropped off it. I took it out of the pot to see if the roots were dead..and they looked okay to me...I have it in a hanging basket in a south facing window, but with a wide roof overhang. I use a moisture probe before I water it too. Help


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 27-Nov-03 05:52 AM EST

I have three Christmas catuses in bloom at the moment (I think at least one of them is a Thanksgiving cactus since it has been blooming since mid October...) I used to keep them in the southeast kitchen window but, even with the wide roof overhang, they got too much strong sun so I moved them onto the kitchen table so they are about 2-3 feet from the window. They still get strong light but no direct sunlight. They will drop buds if they are moved too often or if it's drafty. I only water once a week and fertilize once buds start showing. I think they like long nights for blooming and my kitchen lights are usually off by 6:30-7:00 and usually stay off the rest of the night.


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Sandy Zone 3b
Zone:
Date: 27-Nov-03 07:27 PM EST

I've had it growing in the south facing tinted window in a hanging basket for quite a few years already, and it's done alright. So don't understand what could be the problem now, and I haven't watered it for quite sometime. I thought maybe spider mites, so I washed it down with soapy water..but it still looks terrible!


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 28-Nov-03 04:22 AM EST

If you haven't watered it in a while, maybe that's the problem - you're keeping it too dry. That would cause bud drop and limp leaves I think. Mine gets a good watering once a week.


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Andrew
Zone: 5b
Date: 30-Nov-03 01:03 PM EST

I know it is a cactus, but I water it twice a week and mist it every other day. The flowers are huge! Am I watering it too much? It's doing great though.


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Zone:
Date: 01-Dec-03 05:37 PM EST

Sandy,

If the stems are limp, that does sound like a root and watering issue. Are you using a moisture meter that tells you how dry the soil is or are you using a probe that pulls soil out for your inspection? If it is the former, you should know that moisture meters are notoriously inaccurate and may be leading you astray. Did the rootball look unusually dry or wet when you pulled it from the pot?


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Sandy Zone 3b
Zone:
Date: 05-Dec-03 07:29 PM EST

I use a Moisture meter and I felt the soil with my hands and it just felt a little damp. I watered it as soon as I put it back into the pot! In most books it says not to water them too much and no fertilizer at all even when blooming!


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: William Creed
Zone:
Date: 07-Dec-03 12:52 PM EST

Sandy,

Let the top inch of soil dry out before adding any water. Then water thoroughly. Ignore the meter.


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Doug D.
Zone: 4
Date: 15-Dec-03 12:38 PM EST

The Christmas cactus is among my favorite houseplants. It is easy to grow, produces interesting and beautiful flowers, and makes its needs evident at a glance to even the novice gardener . Unlike most houseplants the Christmas cactus prefers to be root-bound. Most thrive in a pot that appears too small for the size of the plant. Re-pot to a larger container only every 4-5 years and only after a formerly flourishing plant fails to bloom, and starts to droop excessivly. Here in Zone 4 around Memorial Day, I place plants outdoors in a sunny location AFTER two weeks of hardening-off and leave 'em there until October 1. Mother Nature does most of the summer watering. I apply a liquid fertilizer, with a large "P" content when plants are first put outside, on the 4th of July, and on Labor Day. Plants are rinsed and checked for aphids, spiders, etc. before they are brought indoors for winter. Once inside they get one more drink of fertilizer, then only water ONCE a month until spring. Plants winter in a cool (60-65 degrees) mostly sunny room, with south facing windows. Leaf-segments are shiney-green, flowers appear Thanksgiving through New Year's. Plucking the spent flower-head promotes new growth with two new stem segments that appear within months. If stems appear "withered" plant is probably being over-watered. Remove plant from pot. Rinse roots throughly. Be sure to use a clean pot with drainage hole(s) at bottom. Replace old soil with fresh, dry mix. Pack-in soil firmly. Feed with liquid mixed fertilizer. Place in sunny location and enjoy. Happy gardening! Doug D.


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Annette
Zone: 6a
Date: 07-Jan-04 07:07 PM EST

I enjoyed this information as I have a Christmas cactus that was given to me from a lady who worked at a senior's home and said they were bored of it. I unfortunatly don't have a bright window for it. It is in a East facing window and we have a porch the window faces. The plant is doing well, it's healthy looking, but hasn't flowered..so from what I've read it's many a sun issue, but I guess as long as it's healthy I'll have to live without the flowers.


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 08-Jan-04 05:45 AM EST

Annette - don't give up on the flowers just yet! The main reason people have trouble getting a Christmas cactus to bloom is that the cactus isn't getting enough darkness! A Christmas cactus needs at least 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness to set buds. Many people make the mistake of leaving them in a room like the livingroom where lights may ne on late into the night. To get it to set buds, put in in a room where it will get good light (but not direct sun which will burn the leaves...) during the day but where it will get no light in the evening or at night. Once the buds form, bring it out into the livingroom or wherever you want it and let it bloom.


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: carolvan
Zone: 3
Date: 08-Jan-04 11:01 AM EST

Annette - dont give up-. I took a Xmas cactus from my Mom that had not bloomed in yrs - it had two 8 hr car rides before it got to my house. I repotted it, loosened the roots a bit and hung it in my east kitchen window and told it do or die. 6 mos later it did! and did! and did! It is huge now and blooms twice a year. Probably it gets fairly long dark nights although I am in and out of the kitchen. I have quite a few - in west, south and east windows, all bloom - the ones in the south intermittantly all year (!) I feed them from spring to fall and water every week or two when top soil is really dry. I lost one last year - it was inside a second pot without any rocks or anything on the bottom and was sitting in water more than I realized and it rotted. Does anyone out there know a mail order source for Xmas cactus(or whatever) I am trying to collect different colors but Harborcrest Gardens in Victoria seems to have folded its tent and gone away - they had a great selection.


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Annette
Zone: 6a
Date: 10-Jan-04 09:38 AM EST

Thank you for the information. I'm thinking of trying to carry it each evening into my rec room, which, since we live in the middle unit of a triplex has no windows. It is in the East facing windown of our livingroom, so we do have the lights on in here every evening. I hadn't moved it because I had heard that they don't like to be moved, to sit them in one spot and leave them, but if you think it would work, maybe I'll carry it downstairs to let it get more darkness longer and then bring it back up during the day and see what happens. I am really wondering now if I should repot it. I'm guessing from what the lady told me that I got it from if it's been in this pot for many years. She has moved away, she was my neighbour, so I can't even ask her. I'll take a closer look at it and see if it looks like it should be repotted. I'll wait though to see if I get any more hints and tips from this thread of information here. Thank you.


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 10-Jan-04 11:44 AM EST

Christmas Cactus only has a problem with being moved once the buds form - they are very fragile and drop off easily - but, once the buds appear, you should leave it in a well lit area anyway so it's not really a big issue...

If the rec room is being used and has lights on frequently, that may not be the best place. During the fall and winter period when when nights are naturally long, an unused spare bedroom is a handy place to put one. If the room has good light during the daytime, you can just leave it there until the buds form instead of having to remember to move it every evening! It gets increasingly difficult to bring the cactuses into bloom as the days lengthen into spring and summer because, naturally, there aren't enough hours of darkness after spring comes. Your dark rec room would come in useful then perhaps. Since it is easier to bring the cactus into bloom in the fall and early winter, if it needs repotting, now would be good so it would have lots of time to get established before you get it into blooming mode this coming fall....


Subject: RE: Xmas Cactus
From: Annette
Zone: 6a
Date: 08-Mar-04 05:24 PM EST

Thank you. I haven't even got around to checking to see if it needs repotting yet :( I did get my violets repotted though and I've been looking at my aloe vera that has gone baby plant nuts and thinking about seperating them before they squash each other out of the pot. -a spare bedroom...lol...we should all be so lucky! Nope, middle triplex unit, not that much space for spare anything. The rec. room or I do have a small cold storage room off the rec. room, but then I have to watch how cold it gets. Like you said I'll probably wait until next winter now. The rec room doesn't usually have any lights on during the day when my children are in school. I'll have to see how energetic I get about moving it around, but I have to get a few $$$ right now to get it some potting soil and fiqure out if I have a bigger pot for it, or wait until I have more cash for a bigger pot...lol...I love my plants, but somehow their care just doesn't fit in with the budget...lol


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