A cactus that has been gaining popularity in recent years is the Christmas cactus. Here are some handy tips or taking care of your Christmas cactus and helping it bloom beautiful flowers.

 

Care

 

Christmas cactus thrives in bright, but indirect sunlight. Keep it near a window when indoors or shaded by trees if kept outdoors in warmer months. Despite its name, the Christmas cactus is not a desert plant, but rather has its origins in the tropical rainforests of South America. If you live in a dry climate, make sure a source of humidity like a shallow tray of water is kept nearby. The plant will not tolerate dry soil and requires regular watering. Conversely, too much water will cause leaves to spot and fall off. Allow the top layer of soil to dry completely before watering.

 

Blooming

 

In fall, night temperatures around 50-55 degrees will trigger Christmas cactus to form flower buds. A carefully monitored balance of darkness and sunlight will give you beautiful blooms in time for the holidays. Six to eight weeks before Christmas, place the plant in a completely dark space where the temperature is 60 degrees for 12 hours each night. Be sure to bring the plant out to a sunny spot for the other 12 hours each day. Water only when the top inch or so of the soil feels dry, and you should get flowers for the holiday. A few weeks after the flowers have faded, prune stems back to encourage new growth.

 

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