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Schlumbergera, also known as Christmas cactus, is a plant that blooms during the month of December. These cacti, which come from Brazil, produce flowers of different colors: red, pink, white, and purple. In order for it to flower in good conditions, certain important stages of its development must be followed. Care and maintenance are very important if you want to see your plant bloom. Flowering can occur in the fall but is usually seen in early winter, around Christmas time. Here you will find tips on caring for and flowering your Christmas cactus.
The stages of planting
Schlumbergera likes places that are a little dry and rich in nitrogen. To get one, you need a mixture of sand and earth. Also, don’t plant multiple cacti in the same pot if you want to see a flower. As for the soil, it will work better if it is enriched with a cactus-based fertilizer. This must be diluted in water before being added.
The plant environment should be well drained. To do this, place pebbles or balls of clay in the bottom of the pot. In addition, the plant should be protected from drafts and direct sunlight. Finally, the ambient temperature must be between 10 and 15°C. Once the location is determined, the plant should not be moved, otherwise, the flowers or buds will fall off.
Christmas cactus care
The maintenance of this plant is quite simple. Water regularly and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Watering should be constant until the first flowers appear. It is best to preferably use mineral water or rainwater and remember to empty the water from the saucer to prevent the roots from rotting.
Liquid fertilizer diluted in water can be diluted every two weeks (apart from the rest period). In addition, to keep the plant as long as possible, remember to re-pot it each year in a larger pot, in February, March, or April.
Tip: As mentioned above, irrigation water should be low in lime. However, you can use tap water if it is softened as follows: dilute 2 teaspoons of white vinegar in 10 liters of water and let the solution stand for 20 hours so that the limestone falls to the bottom of the container. Then you will get low-calorie water ready for watering your Christmas cactus.
Is winter approaching and your Christmas Cactus shows no signs of wanting to bloom?
That is more than enough reason to worry. When that happens, we always have to stop to think about what we are doing wrong: whether we water too much or, on the contrary, let the substrate remain dry for too long or if we do not fertilize it correctly, it will not water its wonderful petals.
Taking care of this succulent is not difficult, but sometimes it can indeed surprise us for the worse. To avoid this, I am going to explain how to make the Christmas cactus bloom.
For your Christmas cactus to flourish, you need the following :
- Be in a bright location but without direct sun.
- No more than 2 weekly waterings during the autumn-winter and no more than 3 per week the rest of the year.
- A contribution of liquid fertilizer from the beginning of spring until after flowering (more or less, it would be around January in the northern hemisphere).
- And a change of pot every 2-3 years.
Now, how to take care of it correctly? Very easy. We will start by explaining irrigation. The irrigation of this plant has to be, as we mentioned, rather scarce. An excess of humidity rots the roots and, consequently, also the cactus. You should not put a plate under it, although if you do, we have to remember to remove any excess water ten minutes after watering. Likewise, it is very important to fertilize it with liquid cactus fertilizers, always following the instructions specified on the product’s packaging so that it has enough energy to flourish.
In addition, a change of pot will be necessary every couple of years, because even if it is a slow-growing succulent, there comes a time when the roots cannot continue their development as they have occupied the entire container. This pot has to be about 3-4cm wider and has some holes for water drainage. We will fill it with universal culture substrate mixed with perlite in equal parts, and once the Christmas Cactus is planted, we will not water it until a week has passed.
With all these tips, your plant will surely flourish in no time.