How to Care for Christmas Cactus Plants

Salisbury Greenhouse-Alberta-How to Care for Christmas Cactus Plants-christmas cactus close up


Christmas cacti are perfect for adding some colourful blossoms to your Christmas decor, with blooms in white, pink, and yellow! They also look beautiful alongside fresh evergreen boughs and holly.    

When properly cared for, a Christmas cactus can stay alive for up to an entire century; you definitely get your money’s worth out of these holiday houseplants! Its unique leaves and rosy flowers are a real eye-catcher, and it releases oxygen at night rather than during the day, which promotes better sleep. Enjoy a low-maintenance plant that flowers year after year by following these sunlight, watering, fertilizer, and temperature requirements.  


Salisbury Greenhouse-Alberta-How to Care for Christmas Cactus Plants-red christmas cactus
More Sunlight Means More Blooms

Christmas cacti are a bit of a Goldilocks””they don’t want too much direct light, but they need enough to produce those gorgeous blooms we love. We recommend avoiding direct light, which can burn the leaves, and finding a cozy spot for your Christmas cactus where it gets bright, indirect light. A north or east-facing window is an ideal option!  


Water Requirements

Even though Christmas cacti are not actually cacti, they thrive when you let the soil dry out between waterings. When your Christmas cactus potting soil is dry to the touch, it’s time to water your houseplant!


Salisbury Greenhouse-Alberta-How to Care for Christmas Cactus Plants-watering christmas cactus

Ensure that excess water drains freely from the bottom of the container before watering; the soil will become waterlogged if you let plants sit in standing water. Especially in the winter, prolonged exposure to wet soil can result in root rot””which you’ll really want to avoid! Plan to water every 2″“3 weeks, remembering only to hydrate your Christmas cactus when the top two inches of soil are dry.  


Salisbury Greenhouse-Alberta-How to Care for Christmas Cactus Plants-planting christmas cactuses

Plant in Well-Draining Soil  

To keep your Christmas cactus in the holiday spirit, plant it in cactus soil, as it’s specifically designed to be well-draining. If you want to create your own well-draining soil, you can add peat moss or other organic material to add lots of air pockets and make the soil less dense.  

Christmas cacti thrive on a balanced fertilizer every two weeks from spring to fall and once a month in the winter to help encourage those gorgeous blooms we love to see over the holidays.  


Salisbury Greenhouse-Alberta-How to Care for Christmas Cactus Plants-christmas cactus in greenhouse

Creating the Perfect Environment

Christmas cacti are accustomed to warm, humid environments, so keep them in a room without much of a draft that stays above 21 degrees during the day. To add some humidity, we recommend keeping a humidifier in the room or placing your plant on a pebble tray with water. You can also mist it regularly to help keep its leaves moist and happy. Keep your Christmas cactus away from heat, such as fireplaces and heating vents, and protect it from the cold when transporting them inside. If your plant isn’t blooming, put it in a cool environment, around 10 degrees, overnight for a few nights.    


Pruning Your Christmas Cactus

One of the best parts of purchasing a Christmas cactus is that once you have it, it’s here to stay and never goes out of style. Make sure your Christmas cactus looks its best during and after the Christmas season by deadheading any spent blooms; this encourages the plant to bloom for a longer period, allowing you even more time to enjoy its beautiful blooms once Christmas is over! A little care will take this plant a long way.


Salisbury Greenhouse-Alberta-How to Care for Christmas Cactus Plants-pet safe christmas cactusA Note on Pet Safety

If you’re wondering whether this is a safe addition to your Christmas decor, you’re in luck! For hungry pets who love to sample the greenery, Christmas cacti should only cause an upset tummy at most. Contact your veterinarian for more information or care advice if your pet makes a snack out of your houseplant.

Looking for your perfect holiday plant and the ingredients to help it thrive this Christmas season? Visit us at Salisbury Greenhouse in Sherwood Park and St. Albert for all your Christmas cactus needs!

Houseplant Makeover

Houseplants in need of some TLC?
Salisbury at Enjoy offers professional inspection and repotting services for your houseplants.


Read through our Growing Guides for tips to enrich your garden! 

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