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The Christmas Cactus is one of the most popular houseplants sold during the holidays. You might see a lot of stores selling these brightly colored succulents during the months of October to December.
Taking care of a Christmas Cactus is not difficult. In fact, once you decide to get one and see how easy it is and how beautiful they can be, you might decide to grow them in numbers. Every year, your cactus will get bigger and more impressively beautiful.
Other than choosing the perfect spot to grow your cactus in, watering them, and applying fertilizer, one of the things to keep in mind is solving any possible problems that may arise while taking care of your holiday houseplant.
Most Christmas Cactus problems arise from the same few issues: too much sunlight, too much water, high temps, and not enough humidity. Getting those things right will go a long way towards keeping your plant happy and healthy.
If you don’t know how to prevent or treat these problems or you’re currently facing one and don’t know the right solution, you are in the right place. Here are the common Christmas Cactus problems and how to fix them.
Christmas Cactus Problems
Why Is My Christmas Cactus Limp?
When you notice that your Christmas Cactus has become limp, it can mean two things: The soil is too wet or your plant needs to be repotted. Whichever of these two are the case, you’ll need to replace the soil with fresh new soil.
Remove the limp plant from the planter and then gently remove the soil from the roots. Once you’ve done that you can then transplant your plant in the new soil and a slightly larger pot, if need be.
To avoid this problem from arising again in the future or in the first place, mix your own soil for repotting. You can prepare a good quality potting soil by mixing two parts potting soil to one part of vermiculite or sand.
Make sure to repot your plant every two to three years and that will help avoid the issue of them going limp.
Why Did My Christmas Cactus Leaves Turn Red (Or Pink)?
Your Christmas Cactus can turn red or pink when it’s stressed, specifically if it is exposed to direct sunlight or if it doesn’t get enough water.
Unlike a desert cactus, the Christmas Cactus cannot live in the heat and drought in which desert plants thrive. It performs best when it’s in partial shade in the warm seasons and full sunlight during the middle of the winter.
If the cactus develops red foliage, but it still looks healthy, check the light exposure and move it to a shadier spot if necessary. You can also adjust the moisture level of the soil. Do not allow the plant to dry out for long periods of time as this can also be a cause of the plant becoming stressed and turning pink or red.
Why Is My Christmas Cactus Turning Brown?
Once your Christmas Cactus turns brown, you should be on high alert. Turning brown means that it has developed a disease called root rot, which is caused by poor drainage or excessive watering.
Check the plant for any signs of the roots rotting. Remove the cactus from its pot then begin inspecting the roots. If the roots are brown or black and if they smell of a musty odor or they look musty in appearance, it more than likely means your plant has developed root rot.
You can try to revive the life of the plant by cutting the affected roots, being careful not to destroy the root system but to remove the affected areas. Then move the plant to a clean pot with fresh potting mix.
To prevent this from happening, water your Christmas Cactus until the top two to three inches are moist. Only water the plant when the soil feels dry or if the leaves start to look wrinkly and flat.
Why Do Christmas Cactus Leaves Fall Off?
When the leaves of your Christmas Cactus start to fall off, there are a few possible reasons behind it: Improper watering, poorly draining soil, bright and intense light, too much heat, or the temperature is too cold.
As a rule of thumb, water your Christmas Cactus about once a week or only when the soil feels dry in the top 1 inch of the soil, Use a well-draining soil also by preparing your own mix consisting of 75 percent good quality potting soil and 25 percent perlite.
Maintain the temperature in the spot where your cactus lives. Avoid placing it in an area in your house where it will get direct sunlight, especially during the summer.
Why Is My Christmas Cactus Not Growing?
If your cactus grows slowly or is not growing at all, you might need to stimulate the growth of its roots to encourage the plant’s vitality and health.
You can encourage its growth by repotting the Christmas Cactus in a pot which is at least two to three inches smaller than the current one you’re using. Make sure that the new pot has a number of drainage holes at the bottom and is large enough to hold the width and depth of the cactus roots.
The Christmas Cactus often does better when the pot is a little smaller than you’d think it needs. It flourishes when it’s a little root bound.
Fertilize your plants also by mixing in a gallon of water with a teaspoon of Epsom salt, between the months of early April to early September. This provides the plant much needed Magnesium and will help it add new foliage.
How Do I Know If My Christmas Cactus Is Dying?
If your Christmas Cactus appears limp or wilted, it might be a sign that it is dying.
There are a few reasons why your cactus might die: Too much water, too little water, or too much direct sunlight.
How Do You Revive A Dying Christmas Cactus?
Move your Christmas Cactus to an area that has more shade, instead of too much sunlight. You may also revive your limp cactus by repotting it in a pot filled with fresh potting soil.
Why Is My Christmas Cactus Not Blooming?
Your Christmas Cactus may stop blooming when it is subject to environmental stress. Once it develops red hues, it might mean that the plant is getting more sun than it needs or it doesn’t get enough water and humidity.
If you notice that it is not blooming, you can force it into dormancy and get it to flower by:
Placing it in an area with 12 to 14 hours of darkness every day. To allow it to bloom, you need to reduce the light that it gets for six to eight weeks.
Cut down on watering your Christmas Cactus to allow the soil to maintain its moisture. If you really need to water it, water the top most part only.
Maintain a temperature of 50 to 65 degrees for the plant at all times.
Taking care of your Christmas Cactus is rewarding once you see those gorgeous blooms. If you know how to deal with the problems that may arise, you can expect to have a healthy and fully blooming Christmas Cactus during the holidays.