CARING FOR YOUR HOLIDAY CACTUS
The holiday cactus is not your typical cactus. We are all familiar with the desert cactus but the holiday plant is a forest cactus—an epiphyte that lives in decomposing leaf litter found in the forks and on the branches of trees in tropical rain forests of South America.
The conditions in our houses are nothing like their native rain forest homes but still they do fine in normal household temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees, with a drop at night to 55 to 60 degrees. They will need protection when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep under a shade tree or patio. Not in full sun.
They like their forest floor so give these cacti acidic well drained soils. Use a cactus mix and add perlite, vermiculite and orchid bark. They’re not cold tolerant.
They like bright light but not direct sun; an east or west window is perfect. If the leaves turn yellow it means they are getting too much light.
Let the plants dry out between waterings by watering them when the top 2 inches of the soil feels dry. Do not over water; this is the number one reason for their demise in our homes. Neglect is better than over watering. You could get a hydrometer to help Don’t let them sit in water because if they get too waterlogged they will rot.
Misting them frequently helps increase humidity.
Optional: Fertilize them with a, all purpose fertilizer such as a Miracle Grow Tomato water soluble fertilizer (1 tablespoon to a gallon of non-chlorinated water). Feed 2 times a month.
Like all the plants we have there, it gets no special care otherwise. Luckily for us it thrives on neglect and cool temperatures.
HOW TO KEEP HOLIDAY CACTUS BLOOMING
The keys to getting your holiday cactus to blossom are short days and cool nights. They need 13 hours of darkness and nights at 50 to 55 degrees for at least 1 to 2 months before they will set buds. I put some of my plants outside all summer and wait until the nights start to drop below 50 degrees before bringing them in for the fall and winter. They usually bud right up and start to bloom after that. The plants that grow in my kitchen get no special treatment and they blossom just as well. Go figure!
The plants flower best when slightly potbound so only repot them if they are really crowded. Unlike many holiday plants they are non-toxic to cats and dogs so don’t be afraid to bring one home for the holidays!
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/christmas-cactus-thanksgiving-cactus-and-easter-cactus
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365